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NFL Outlook: Samori Touré in Green Bay

May 15, 2022

Three former Huskers heard their names called during the 2022 NFL Draft, a big step toward making their professional dreams come true. For Cam Jurgens, Cam Taylor-Britt and Samori Touré, however, the work has only begun.

We’re taking a look at each of the three draft picks and their landing spots to get a feel for what the short-term and long-term future might hold for the former Huskers. We covered the two Cams — Jurgens and Taylor-Britt — already. Next up is Touré.

Unlike his two teammates, Touré had to wait until the final round to hear his name called, but it still happened. The Green Bay Packers drafted him with the 258th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Packers brought Touré in on a visit ahead of the draft and general manager Brian Gutekunst liked what they saw enough to call his name when he was still there at their final pick.

Touré bet on himself when he entered the transfer portal after a record-setting junior season at FCS Montana, seeking to prove he could produce at the highest levels of college football as well. He did just that, leading Nebraska with 46 receptions for 898 yards and five touchdowns while emerging as one of the best deep threats in the country, and the bet paid off on draft day.

However, whereas using an early draft pick shows a franchise’s investment in a player, being a seventh-round pick doesn’t even guarantee a spot on the 53-man roster in year one. More seventh round picks don’t make an active roster than do in most years. Now Touré will look to beat those odds.

The first challenge Touré faces in Green Bay is that the Packers drafted two other receivers before him.

After six receivers went off the board in the first 18 picks of the draft, Green Bay went defense with its two picks in the 20s — Georgia linebacker Quay Walker at 21 and Georgia defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt at 28. However, the Packers did trade up early on day two to draft North Dakota State wideout Christian Watson with the 34th overall pick. Watson is a 6-foot-4, 208-pound specimen with blazing speed.

After addressing the trenches with their third-round pick by selecting UCLA tackle Sean Rhyan, the Packers went back to wide receiver in round four, choosing Nevada product Romeo Doubs (6-foot-2, 201 pounds). Doubs racked up 1,109 yards and 11 touchdowns this past season in Nevada’s air raid offense and he also returned 12 punts for an average of 14.2 yards per return.

It was no surprise to see the Packers double dip at wide receiver after an offseason that saw them trade away arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL in Davante Adams. Adams was second in the league in receptions and third in receiving yards last season, and now he’s a Los Angeles Raider, leaving a massive void to fill in Title Town.

Currently, the Packers’ top returning wide receiver is Allen Lazard, though he is still unsigned as a restricted free agent. Veteran Randall Cobb agreed to restructure his contract to stick around in Green Bay another season. Amari Rodgers, a third-round pick in the 2021 draft, was fairly disappointing as a rookie. The Packers’ lone veteran free agency addition was Sammy Watkins. Those four will likely be on the roster (barring Watkins failing to stay healthy are Rodgers failing to make any progress).

The rookies will likely be competing with Malik Taylor, Juwann Winfree and Danny Davis for roster spots in camp. Watson and Doubs are both virtual locks for the roster based on where the Packers took them, so that pushes the total to six on the active roster. Touré will likely be looking to beat out the rest and convince the Packers to keep seven wipeouts on their 53-man roster.

One thing working in Touré’s favor is Green Bay’s need to improve on special teams, and players on the fringe of making the roster who can make an impact in that phase of the game will have a leg up. Touré’s speed makes him an option to contribute on coverage teams and could be an avenue to making the roster while he continues to develop and prove himself as a receiver.

If he doesn’t crack the 53 out of camp, he’ll likely have a landing spot on Green Bay’s practice squad (if another team doesn’t sign him to their active roster after cut-down day), and a call-up could be one injury away for him.

All things considered, Green Bay is a pretty good landing spot for Touré, even if he does have to compete with two other receivers in his own draft class. If he makes the team, he’ll get a chance to play with one of the best quarterbacks of all-time in Aaron Rodgers for a team that has won 13 games in each of the past three seasons. If he lands on the practice squad initially, Green Bay’s receiver corps looks pretty shaky (Watkins has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, Cobb is turning 32 in August and Rodgers caught four passes last year), which could lead to an opportunity to move up to the active roster and show what he is capable of.

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