Charles Johnson to Packers: How Does WR Fit with Green Bay?
Under general manager Ted Thompson, the Green Bay Packers have become well-known for their ability to reload—in the absence of rebuilding—at the receiver position.
While Thompson shied away from taking a receiver high in the 2013 NFL draft, he did add one of the more intriguing receiver prospects the Packers have had in some time in the seventh round.
With the 216th pick overall, Thompson rolled the dice on super-athletic Charles Johnson from Division II Grand Valley State.
Johnson will join a receiver crew Thompson assembled almost exclusively in the first few rounds, including Randall Cobb (second), Jordy Nelson (second) and James Jones (third). As a seventh-round pick, Johnson has work to do to become the next star receiver in Green Bay drafted by Thompson.
Here's a look at how Thompson fits in Green Bay.
Role: Developmental receiver with huge upside
The Packers will enter next season with three solidified players at the receiver position (Cobb, Jones and Nelson), plus a young player in Jarrett Boykin who they liked enough coming out of camp to give a 53-man roster spot to last September. So there's little need for Johnson to contribute right away in Green Bay, and that's probably a good thing.
Emerging from a Division II school, Johnson will need time at the next level to adjust to more advanced play-calling and coverages. Learning behind the likes of Jones and Nelson should help fast-track that process, but Johnson is going to be a raw player out of the gates.
That said, the physical attributes Johnson brings to the table might make it difficult for Mike McCarthy to keep him off the field, even as a rookie.
Johnson stands 6'2" and weighs 215 pounds, and he blew away his pro day when he ran two sub 4.4-second times in the 40-yard dash and posted a vertical leap of 39.5 inches. You simply can't teach that kind of size, straight-line speed and jumping ability.
The Packers would know, as they really don't have a player with that combination of skills currently on the roster.
Unless Johnson is a complete bust in camp, he should have the chance to hone his receiving skills over time to help match his overwhelming physical attributes.
And if he does that, the Packers may have another big-play receiver waiting for them down the road.
Looking a year or two into the future, Green Bay might need another receiver of that mold.
Jones is a free agent following the 2013 season, and Jordy Nelson is only under contract for two more seasons. If the Packers lose either player, they'll need a receiver already on the roster to become an impact player sooner rather than later.
Maybe Johnson, with the right coaching and development, can become that player.
He certainly has the rare physical gifts needed to become a contributor at the next level. Production might not come as a rookie, but Johnson will be given every chance to become one of the next big playmakers for the Packers offense.
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