Packers WR Samori Toure is turning heads this offseason
In a Green Bay Packers receiver room garnering a lot of attention this offseason, mostly due to the inexperience at the position, perhaps forgotten about at times is 2022 seventh-round pick Samori Toure. Much of the outside attention is on Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and three incoming rookies. However, inside Lambeau Field, everyone is taking notice of Toure.
As a seventh-round rookie, Toure’s role was expectedly small this past year. He was on the field for 112 total offensive snaps, and made a few plays, catching five of his nine passes at 16.4 yards per catch, with a touchdown catch against Buffalo, where he caught the attention of Aaron Rodgers by making a mid-route adjustment based on what the defense was doing.
In his one season at Nebraska, Toure was a home run threat, averaging 19.5 yards per catch while ranking 10th in total deep receiving yards, according to PFF.
This offseason we’ve heard GM Brian Gutekunst bring up Samori Toure unprompted when discussing the receiver room. Then Matt LaFleur did it. And most recently, wide receivers coach Jason Vrable while meeting with reporters on Thursday. To put it simply, Toure is turning heads this offseason.
“If you guys would see Samori right now, you wouldn’t even recognize the guy from last year with this growth,” said Vrable. “He’s probably, of everybody, the one that everyone around the building is like ’83 looks unbelievable right now.’ He’s put on 8-10 pounds, he’s worked his butt off, and he’s grown into his own, so you feel comfortable in your own skin. Then you play fast, and you play with confidence, and that’s all you really want.”
This season, Toure’s role is likely to expand. With added weight, that could help him hold up better as a blocker in the run game, an aspect that we know is important to playing the receiver position in this offseason. But he can also provide the Packers with an additional downfield threat.
Not that Watson still won’t be able to provide that, but with LaFleur telling reporters this offseason that Watson’s route-running responsibilities are going to expand, he may not be used in that downfield capacity as often as he attacks other parts of the field more frequently.
That element within the offense is still going to be needed, however. Having a vertical presence helps spread out the defense and creates better spacing underneath for other pass catchers to operate. Just last season, we saw the impact of having and not having a downfield element. Before Watson’s breakout performance, opposing defenses were not scared of getting beat over the top, so they condensed the field and crowded the line of scrimmage, making moving the ball through the air and also on the ground more difficult.
While Toure was barely on the field for 100 snaps last season, he has a full year of experience in the Matt LaFleur offense, and in a young room, there’s absolutely value in that. The next step is taking these strides that he’s made over the offseason onto the practice field, where he has the opportunity to earn a larger and more defined role this season.
”In the end, if your process is right, and you love ball, and you outwork everybody in the building, you end up rising to the top,” said Vrable. “It happens over and over with guys as long as they have enough skill set. I love this room and how it’s been.”