The Green Bay Packers are seeing rookie wide receiver Jayden Reed develop into a dynamic playmaker right before their eyes. Usually, wide receivers struggle to find consistency in their first NFL season, but Green Bay’s second-round pick out of Michigan State is already emerging into one of the team’s most reliable weapons – and not just as a pass-catcher.
In the first quarter of Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers, Reed showed off his rushing ability when he picked up 15 yards on an end-around. Then, on the same drive, the Packers went back to Reed on an end-around, but this time, the shifty receiver used his blockers and speed to run in a 32-yard touchdown untouched.
We have a @JaydenReed5 Lambeau Leap!
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— Green Bay Packers (@packers) November 19, 2023
“They did a great job blocking,” Reed said. “It started off with those guys up front and those guys blocking for me on the perimeter. Thank you to those guys for getting me into the zone.”
Reed finished Week 11 as the team’s leading rusher with 46 yards on three attempts. It was exactly the kind of versatility the Packers had hoped for when they drafted him 50th overall. In college, Reed showed he could play practically anywhere on the field and continue making plays.
Since arriving in Green Bay, it’s been more of the same.
“He came into camp, and you could tell what kind of player he was. And then obviously just how he stacks his days and continues to work; he’s eager to learn and grow every day,” said quarterback Jordan Love. “And now, he’s just going out there and playing free, playing fast. He’s making plays, so he’s playing at a high level right now.”
While Reed had a noticeable impact running a couple of gadget plays against Los Angeles, he also added 46 receiving yards to continue his productive streak as a receiver. Over his last four outings, Reed has flourished in a more featured role, totaling 16 receptions for 232 yards and a touchdown. Coach Matt LaFleur believes his rookie’s mindset has played a large part in that.
“He is a dog. He is a war daddy,” Matt LaFleur said. “He goes out there and he is such a competitor, and I got a lot of confidence in him.”
Reed has 80 or more yards in three of the last four games and has twice been nominated for NFL Rookie of the Week. He produced 528 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns in his first 10 NFL games.
If the Packers continue to lean on Reed down the stretch, he will end up having one of the best seasons by a rookie receiver in franchise history. Through 10 games, he leads the team with 463 receiving yards. The last rookie to lead the team in receiving was Sterling Sharpe in 1988.
Reed has a solid chance of breaking that streak, though it would take a miracle for him to surpass Billy Howton’s Packers rookie receiving yards record of 1,231 set in 1952. However, he is on track to top Christian Watson’s 611 receiving yards from a season ago and James Jones’ 676 receiving yards in 2007.
While Reed’s production thus far is encouraging, he still needs to have a strong finish to the season.