NFL training camps are the source of excitement, hope and optimism across the country. They represent the fact that football is on the horizon. Every team has multiple writers and reporters out at training camp every day, tweeting and recording everything that's happening. As football-starved fans, we eat it up. We're trying to find out which players are breaking out, which teams look exciting and are trying to get a leg up for betting and fantasy purposes. There's no denying it's fun, but for that reason it could also be dangerous.
For every young player who breaks out in training camp and goes on to have a good season, there's another player who dazzles in camp but is a total non-factor when the games begin to matter. I remember Darwin Thompson's training camp hype in 2019. Fantasy football analysts and Chiefs reporters thought he might win the starting job in Kansas City's backfield. Instead, he ran for a grand total of 128 yards on the season, only eclipsing 20 yards in two games.
You have to be measured when analyzing camp standouts. You don't want to be burned by being overzealous, but you also don't want to be late to the party on something. With training camps just about two weeks old now, there's one name that seems to be all the buzz across the league right now. Romeo Doubs has been getting great reviews out of Green Bay and the betting market seems to think there might be something to it.
Doubs was a Day 3 pick
Entering the NFL draft, we knew the Green Bay Packers needed to draft a wide receiver after they traded Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. They surprised most people when they didn't use one of their two first-round picks to select a replacement for Adams. They did end up drafting Christian Watson in the second round. Watson is not the rookie receiver getting all of the attention in Packers camp though.
That honor belongs to Romeo Doubs, the Packers' fourth-round draft pick out of Nevada. In 2021, Doubs caught 80 passes for 1,109 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns for the Wolf Pack. However, he dropped to the fourth round in the draft. Nevada isn't a big school, there were questions about his route-running abilities and that he didn't face overly tough competition in college.
Doubs was a 100-to-1 long-shot to win NFL offensive rookie of the year prior to training camp. He projected to be further down the depth chart, serving as a backup with some special team responsibilities. Watson was the rookie who many expected to make an immediate impact, as he was one of the favorites to win offensive rookie of the year at +850.
Doubs has impressed in camp
Aaron Rodgers doesn't hand out compliments to rookies very easily. Therefore, when he speaks, people listen. Rodgers has often been accused of not trusting young receivers, but it seems like he's been impressed by what he's seen from Romeo Doubs early in Packers camp.
Doubs has gotten a significant opportunity so far in camp. Christian Watson has been off the field dealing with some injury issues. Sammy Watkins, believe it or not, has had issues staying on the field as well. Doubs has done well with his opportunities and put some pretty plays on tape.
The wide receiver position was always viewed as one of the weakest parts of the Packers roster. Sammy Watkins, Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb is an extremely weak group of receiving options for a team that is amongst the top-five favorites to win the Super Bowl this upcoming season. If Doubs is the real deal, he can move up the depth chart quickly and get on the field. There's no superstars holding him back. When and if he gets on the field, the ceiling is obviously high because he'll be catching passes from the reigning back-to-back MVP.
As a result of the training camp hype, Doubs is now just 18-to-1 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Those are the 12th-best odds overall and better odds than first-round wide receivers Jahan Dotson (20-to-1) and Jameson Williams (25-to-1).
On one hand, if Doubs continues to dominate camp, these odds will get even lower by the time the season rolls around. We're already seeing him make massive inroads in the fantasy community, and now that move is being recognized in the betting market. So if you're a believer in Doubs, it might be the last chance to get him at still somewhat juicy odds.
There's obviously the other side. Wide receivers getting hyped in Green Bay is nothing new. For the longest time, we've been trying to figure out who the No. 2 option was going to be in that offense. Every year, it's a new name. We've overhyped players like Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, Jake Kumerow, Geronimo Allison, J’Mon Moore, Reggie Begelton, and Equanimeous St. Brown.
Will Doubs finally buck that trend? Or will he simply be added to the above list next year when we fantasize about another new pass catching weapon for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers?