The Fantasy Football Impact of Jayden Reed to the Green Bay Packers
With the Green Bay Packers moving on from Aaron Rodgers this offseason, they desperately needed to retool their offensive skill players to better support Jordan Love. They did that in spades this draft by taking two tight ends and three wide receivers, one of whom is Michigan State's Jayden Reed.
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What made this pick a bit confusing is that Reed went ahead of players like Josh Downs, Jalin Hyatt, Marvin Mims, and Rashee Rice, who were all considered better prospects by many pundits. Green Bay has often gone off the board with their receiving picks, and this one is no different.
Jayden Reed Prospect Profile
At 5' 11" and 191 pounds, Reed fits into the smaller profile that many receivers in this class have. But, Reed recorded over 1,000 receiving yards in a season just once in his four-year playing career, which is part of why he wasn't getting as much hype as others in the class.
Reed did post 2.18 yards per route run in his college career, but that was in just the 53rd percentile according to PFF. What should help Reed is that he boasted a 50% contested catch rate, demonstrating how physical he can be at the catch point despite his smaller stature.
Below are two charts from Matt Harmon's Reception Perception, the first showing the percent of routes that Reed ran by route concept and the second showing Reed's success rate on those routes.
Clearly, Reed was either extremely successful or extremely poor at specific routes, as these charts indicate. Matt Harmon also noted that Reed had a 77.8% success rate against press coverage, which was good for an 87th-percentile outcome and the best in the class.
While Reed's numbers may not jump off the chart, there is belief around the football cognoscenti that he has the ability to develop into a starting-level wide receiver.
How Jayden Reed Fits with the Green Bay Packers
Reed will (most likely) join Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson in Green Bay's three-receiver pass sets. Throughout college, Reed was moved all around the formation but lined up primarily out wide (81.6%) in his final two seasons at Michigan State. Last year, both Doubs (77.6% wide rate) and Watson (68.4% wide rate) also spent the majority of their routes split out wide, so one of these three will be moved to playing out of the slot more.
Over the past four years, Green Bay has been middle-of-the-road in terms of 11-personnel usage, as they have used 11 personnel on between 56.5% and 61.5% of their plays each season. Part of this is due to the personnel that they have had and the lack of wide receiver depth, but even with the investment in tight end in the draft, I would expect this number to rise a bit in 2023.
During the Matt LaFleur era (since 2019), the Packers have steadily been at or above the league average in neutral-script passing rate. Now, whether this changes with Love at quarterback is yet to be determined.
Unsurprisingly, Reed (195.8 ADP) is currently going behind both Watson (46.1 ADP) and Doubs (145.4) as the WR3 in Underdog drafts. With the transition to Love under center, all Packers pass-catcher values are severely depressed - both the rookie tight ends they selected are going undrafted in some drafts, as well.
I like Reed as a late-round flier with a bit more upside than some of the other wide receivers he's being drafted around (i.e., Chase Claypool, Van Jefferson, Robert Woods). But, it seems clear that Reed will be the WR3 in Green Bay's offense and could even be (at best) fourth in the pass-catching pecking order behind the aforementioned receivers and Aaron Jones.