Realistic Expectations for Romeo Doubs
With the NFL preseason in full swing, fans are swooning over rookies that may be their new shiny star. In Green Bay, the man of the hour is none other than wide receiver Romeo Doubs, who was a 4th round pick out of the University of Nevada.
Since the beginning of training camp, Packers fans have been searching for Aaron Rodgers’ new WR1. With the exciting speed and size potential that Doubs has, Packers Twitter began falling for Romeo early and often.
In case Packers Twitter isn’t, and shouldn’t be, enough for you, take Aaron Rodgers words for how amazing Doubs was to begin camp.
Let’s be clear here. There is plenty of potential in Doubs, and when #12 is singing your praises this early, it is a very good sign.
But, history is still very important to consider for rookies, and especially rookie receivers in Green Bay. 2022 may be a very different story with the lack of depth in the Packers’ WR room, but let’s take a look at a few other notable receivers in GB history and what they did during their freshman campaigns.
For Nelson, he started behind the 8-ball in Green Bay. Donald Driver and Greg Jennings were both in their prime, and Nelson was at best the #3 receiver in Titletown. While not a disappointing rookie campaign, Nelson only totaled 33 receptions for 366 yards and 2 touchdowns in his first season.
Yes, this was also Rodgers first season as a starting QB, but Nelson clearly was not the priority in target shares in Season #1.
With an incredible season from Ryan Grant, and two star studded receivers ahead of him, Nelson did not break out until 2011 when he exploded during Rodgers’ first MVP season. Although the Packers 15-1 record did not result in a repeat Super Bowl championship, Nelson established himself as a top NFL wideout in his third year with the team.
Quick side note: I will not be including Greg Jennings or Donald Driver in this little analysis, simply because the true “beginning” of their career was not with Rodgers as QB. While the numbers would be cool, the analysis would not truly apply.
Moving on, Randall Cobb’s first NFL season was in 2011 during Rodgers and Nelson’s combined breakout year. Honestly, 2011 may have been the hardest year for a rookie WR to break into the Packers room. The Sports Illustrated cover with Driver, Jennings, Nelson, Jermichael Finley and James Jones showed how stacked the room was.
Nonetheless, Cobb posted a similar first year to Nelson. 25 receptions, 375 yards and 1 touchdown put Cobb sixth on the team in receiving yards. Cobb’s target share would increase exponentially in 2012, but he would not break 1,000 yards until 2014.
The newest member of the Las Vegas Raiders was drafted in 2014, meaning that Adams also had his rookie year during a veteran’s breakout season. Off the bat, Adams was the clear third option for the Packers offense. During another MVP season for Rodgers, Adams racked up 38 receptions for 446 yards and 3 touchdowns.
With no clear veteran options outside of Nelson and Cobb, Adams received plenty of attention from Rodgers in 2014. Despite his issues with drops in the first two seasons, Rodgers stuck with the eventual All-Pro receiver.
Adams would break out in 2016 for 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he never looked back. Davante was the #1 receiver for every season after that, until his eventual departure to the desert.
So, what does all of this mean for Romeo Doubs? Well, even with the breakout he seems to be having, Allen Lazard is still in place to be the main target for Rodgers. The biggest benefit Doubs has, is the lack of an all-around dynamic wide receiver above him on the depth chart.
There is no Jennings, Driver, Nelson, Cobb, or Davante above Doubs. There is no all-time great Packers receiver taking targets from Green Bay’s golden boy. But still, no all-time great Packers rookie has even surpassed 500 yards or 5 touchdowns with Rodgers as the QB.
Doubs will have to work religiously to build chemistry and trust with the 4-time MVP quarterback. If he can do that, the sky may be the limit for the Nevada native.