2020 Expectations for Allen Lazard

Lazard has a big opportunity ahead of him as the expected WR2 going into this season. 

Allen Lazard is set to enter the season as the second receiver on the depth chart, and it will be well-earned. After just missing out on the initial 53-man roster out of training camp last season (despite being elevated shortly after), Lazard came up for Green Bay when it needed him to.

Lazard ended the 2019 season with 477 receiving yards, giving him the second highest total on the team behind only star receiver Davante Adams, and that was with him starting only three games for the Packers. His 67.3% catch percentage was also the highest catch percentage by a Packers wide receiver last season.

While his playing time increased as the season progressed, Lazard ended up on offense for 44% of the team’s total snaps. For context, Marquez Valdes-Scantling played 64% of snaps on offense in 2018 and 50% in 2019, with Geronimo Allison taking 59% of snaps in 2019.

We can expect Lazard’s snap total to increase significantly even with the acquisition of Devin Funchess in free agency and Equanimeous St. Brown returning from injury. The Packers played 60% of snaps in 11 personnel last season, meaning three receivers were on the field for a majority of offensive snaps. In fact, in 93% of personnel packages last season, at least two receivers were on the field. That bodes well for Lazard and his extended opportunities to see the field. 

In 2019, we saw the Packers make it all the way to the NFC Championship Game. Davante Adams missed four games with a toe injury and still put up 997 yards in the regular season. Aaron Jones added 474 yards receiving and three touchdowns through the air in addition to his 1,084 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. 

The last time the Packers made the playoffs, in 2016, they also wound up in the NFC Championship Game behind a more dynamic receiving core. That roster saw Jordy Nelson finish his season with 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns. Davante Adams added 997 yards once again with 12 touchdowns of his own. And Randall Cobb added four touchdowns and 610 yards in 10 games. Additionally, Ty Montgomery led the running backs room with 348 yards receiving. 

Adams has proven he can rack up the yardage even when he’s unable to play a full 16-game season. That leaves the stable of Lazard, Funchess, Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown to carry the rest of the weight for the room. It’s also expected that second-year tight end Jace Sternberger will take a big jump as TE1 in year two, and both Jones and Jamaal Williams have proven they can play a significant role as running backs in the passing game. 

So, while the weight isn’t entirely on Lazard’s shoulders and the offense does have playmakers at other positions on the roster, seeing an increase in production from the receiving unit would help significantly, and Lazard is in prime position to be the biggest difference maker for the unit  from day one. 

Lazard averaged 13.6 yards per reception and had 35 catches in 2019. If he gets between 50-60 receptions in 2020 using that same average, he’d be looking at contributing 680-816 yards on offense. We’ve seen the level of trust quarterback Aaron Rodgers has with Lazard, and he should be looking for him more as Lazard takes more snaps on offense. Last season, 24 of Lazard’s completions resulted in first downs. 

If Adams is once again a 1,000-yard receiver in 2020, and Lazard can grow into the WR2 role taking more snaps on offense from the start of the season, that should alleviate a good portion of the offense’s struggles from 2019 and take significant pressure off the rest of the room.

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV, podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said, and hosts a weekly live show called Happy Hour through Game On Wisconsin. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (43)

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BAMABADGER's picture

June 30, 2020 at 12:56 pm

Watched Lazard tear up the Big 12 particularly in the Red Zone. Amazing how NFL scouts and coaches sometimes wear blinders on players that consistently perform at a high level, but find small "flaws" that are minimized with an individuals heart and love of the game. Lazard is the antithesis of Eddie Lacy. Lazard is hungry, humble, and smart. This man will be a Packer legend if he stays healthy. We are fortunate he somehow feel through the cracks.

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fastmoving's picture

June 30, 2020 at 02:36 pm

Brown and MVS have way highter ceilings than Lazard. We have Adams and than a couple of good guys. He can be Nr.2 or Nr.5 and it wont matter.
And Lacy was a good guy and HE WAS humble and smart. Maybe "hungry" was the problem. but he was all of this. Good back, good person.....

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13TimeChamps's picture

June 30, 2020 at 04:08 pm

Agree with your assessment of Brown and Lacy. Disagree on MVS. Did little in college. Even less in the pros. Doubt he makes the 53.

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Coldworld's picture

June 30, 2020 at 08:00 pm

MVS came out with a very good reputation but having a big jump to make in terms of complexity. It was ESB about whom some raised questions about desire.

Both may be inaccurate takes, but if you are going to make character assertions it would be nice if you had some prior basis for them.

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Stroh's picture

June 30, 2020 at 09:50 pm

I don't know where you read that about MVS but its wrong. He played at multiple schools and didnt produce much when he played. His reputation was he was fast and nothing else.

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Coldworld's picture

July 01, 2020 at 03:20 pm

Go do the research it doesn’t support that, or bad attitude. It does support a steep learning curve required for the nfl and some physical development as well potentially. He was a player that set school records on athleticism alone in a simple system without the need for refined route running. It’s out there, good kid still thought for be developing physically and to require time and work to reach his potential. That is why a 6’ 5 receiver with his speed was available in the 5th.

I realize this doesn’t fit the narrative of some and projects don’t always succeed, but since we have endlessly looked at the stats he has put up and determined that they hold up quite well with many who have, added to the project nature of his pick and there is a gap between what some here say, seem to want to believe and fact.

MVS needs to round out his game and learn route finess but he isn’t a bad kid, a non producer or something he wasn’t expected to be in requiring time to develop.

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 01, 2020 at 09:31 am

I'm still trying to find anything in the above comments that said anything negative about his attitude?!? What am I missing?

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Stroh's picture

July 01, 2020 at 05:26 pm

I didn't say a thing about his attitude, just his play. He's not a hands catcher, has no clue in route running . Thats whay I've seen.

His college film would not give the impression of a receiver that has any sense of the fundamentals needed to play WR in the NFL. Very unproductive overall. Just little good film of NFL WR skills.

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13TimeChamps's picture

June 30, 2020 at 10:08 pm

"if you are going to make character assertions it would be nice if you had some prior basis for them."

When did I say anything about his character? I was talking strictly production.

4 year TOTALS at NC State and USF: 119 receptions/12 TD's.
That would be a 4 year average of 30 receptions and 3 TD's.
His 2 year average in the NFL is: 33 receptions and 2 TD's.

I'm sure he's a great guy. I never suggested otherwise. But after 4 years in college and 2 years in the NFL, when do you acknowledge this is who he is?

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dobber's picture

June 30, 2020 at 02:46 pm

Lazard was an uber-productive player in a power conference for all 4 of his college years on a series of average or poorer teams. I think he's first all-time in receiving yardage at ISU. He's played a lot of football against non-directional schools. Very mature. Has good technique for a young guy. His ceiling might not be as high as ESB or MVS, but his floor is much higher and the Packers are benefitting from that.

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Stroh's picture

July 01, 2020 at 08:29 pm

Lazard was very productive in a conference where the ball is thrown practically every down and defense is considered optional. Very inflated stats. He's at his ceiling now. His limitations are creating separation and his lack of athleticism will prevent him from improving much from what he is now. But at least you can hang your hat on his blocking, which is really good.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 01, 2020 at 12:40 am

A lot of scouts start seeing double after sitting in the film room all day or working the happy hour circuit after hours. They can't tell talent from Tebows etc. Lazard stood out as a player who consistently moved the chains and made the big catch for ISU. Not to be drafted is an indictment on the NFL talent acquisition departments. Johnny Randall comes to mind and Kurt Warner.

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stockholder's picture

June 30, 2020 at 01:35 pm

You can't be serious. Lazard isn't a #2 WR. Conclusion: Funchess is your #2. And there isn't a packer fan that doesn't know we need better. If not faster! Yes, Lazard can run faster then Funchess. But we've seen to many un-drafted Wrs that just can't make that jump. Lazard could be the next Allison. The Battle between MVS, St. Brown, Lazard, or Kumerow, won't take long. Which one gets left alone? I believe separation will sort them out quickly. Next: The hands of Glue have always gotten Rodgers trust. Rodgers will make the #2 Wr. Whats on paper, or a depth chart, is nothing but a revolving door. A good camp isn't enough. The sooner these Wrs realize their playing Russian roulette. The next step won't be so high. The benefit is being Rodgers #2. Handing it to someone never works, but Funchess got it handed to him when he signed. Now will see if he gets Rodgers trust.

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Coldworld's picture

June 30, 2020 at 02:22 pm

Funchess’s speed is a subject of debate due to his poor combine. In reality, a relatively cautious take on his pro day suggests there isn’t a whole lot of difference. The question is further complicated by weight change in both players. Funchess has a bunch of tape that suggests he is NFL quality at least. I see no reason why Lazard and Funchess shouldn’t both contribute in terms of yards, red zone and blocking.

As to Lazard’s likely yardage, I don’t expect it to shout up because I expect to see less receiver snaps, more blocking roles and more shifting of personnel to compliment the overall group. MVS or EQ could easily be the second guy in certain formations, not only Lazard or Funchess.

The offense has changed. Lazard’s physical capabilities may well fit nicely, but it may not result in massively increased targets for Lazard and no player may end up being a clear overall number 2.

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dobber's picture

June 30, 2020 at 03:35 pm

Have read that we might expect Funchess, not Sternberger, to be the inheritor of many of the Jimmy Graham routes--namely those where Graham played standing up. This could result in Funchess being the primary "big-slot" slot WR.

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stockholder's picture

June 30, 2020 at 05:41 pm

IMO , Lazard and Funchess both will be playing the slot.

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fordguy's picture

June 30, 2020 at 04:15 pm

It would be nice if any of them would step up and solidify the 2nd WR position to make the
other team not focus as much on the TE, 3rd and 4th WRs.

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TheVOR's picture

June 30, 2020 at 02:40 pm

Not so Sure on Funchess dude. The man has a history of dropping footballs. We'll see if he gets that worked out. Dude definitely has decent NFL WR experience, just drops a lot of footballs. Hope he gets that worked out.

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Stroh's picture

June 30, 2020 at 10:14 pm

Lazard isn't a #2 WR. Funchess isn't a #2 WR. EQ isn't a #2 WR. None of them are a #2. They have Adams and a buch of #4 WR.

Ither than Adams no WR on the Packers would be a #2 on any other NFL team.

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TheVOR's picture

June 30, 2020 at 02:36 pm

Like this player... A LOT! Want to see him build off that 2019 performance. Very typical kind of Rookie season. Techincally he caught a ball in 2018, but I don't really count that year.

For him to have caught 35 balls is kind of a typical rookie showing with Rodgers at QB. Nelson, MVS, Adams, were all in the mid 30's in receptions in their first real season with Rodgers. It's going to be very interesting!

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Handsback's picture

June 30, 2020 at 03:04 pm

Funchess and Lazard are similar in size and body type. They both fit a type that MLF wants in his receiver corp...guys that will block, and good body control in order to make that hard to catch pass from Rodgers. I suspect, not sure, that Lazard has the better hands, but Funchess better speed and experience. I'm talking game speed and not past combine times. The answer to who is number 2 will be who runs the better routes.
Let the fun begin, or not according to the health rules.

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Stroh's picture

June 30, 2020 at 10:24 pm

I agree LaFleur wants WR that can block. It would seem he wants WR who can block instead of catch and get open. Outside of Adams nonr of thd WR can provide anything close to WR2 in the NFL.

If theycan run the ball it may not matter, but it sure would be nice to have a WR besides Adams that can run, create separation, get open and catch the damn ball.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 01, 2020 at 12:44 am

Lazard is a better receiver and will be the better Pro.

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nostradanus's picture

June 30, 2020 at 03:33 pm

I went back and watched Lazard’s games from last season again and he’s very impressive.
He has big soft mitts, is clutch on 3rd down and blocks his ass off. Lazard is also a really good dude.
Funchess is pretty impressive as well and plays like a power forward, yes he’s dropped a few of Cams off target laser throws but so what?
Between Lazard & Funchess it’s a great problem to have, two huge physical receivers who can box out smaller DB’s consistently, doesn't matter "who does #2 work for?" Both of these big studs will probably each catch about the same amount of balls and pancake alot of DB's in the running game, that's a good problem to have! The NFL combine 40 yard speed thing is overrated, especially with the way MLF wants to run this offense.
Of course Adams is the straw that stirs the drink and he will get the lions share of catches.
Throw in EQ, MVS for a bit of down field action with their impressive speed and really the battle for the last spot will be between Kumerow and Begelton.
The Packers are more than fine with this group as is.
That is all

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MTmind's picture

July 01, 2020 at 10:00 am

I would love to cut and paste this to every negative criticism I’ve read regarding the Packers not taking a WR in the draft (or two or three). The idea that a rookie WR could step in and all the Packer’s problems would be solved is nothing more than wishful thinking. It seems like most people have conveniently forgot the couple of years it took Adams to develop into the player he is today. Rogers urged people to have patience and stated that he saw something special in Adams. Comments in the forums demanded Adams to be let go so we could pick up an established WR. All evidence that the average fan doesn’t know what he/she is talking about half the time.

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Dzehren's picture

June 30, 2020 at 03:58 pm

Lazard is not a #2 WR. GB currently has no apparent #2 on the current roster.

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PhantomII's picture

June 30, 2020 at 11:44 pm

Our #2 is a RB, A.Jones and I expect him and Dillon on the field at the same time a lot. If this season gets going it is going to be brutal to defend that and Sternberger and of course, D. Adams at the same time. Lazard has been a big surprise after EQ going down and MVS to nicked up to perform like he did earlier in the year. Great kid and great attitude. Not a prototypical group of players but a lot of guys to hurt the other team from every direction. The NFL does not have a top tier CB or Safety at every location so someone is gonna get thru more often than not.

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13TimeChamps's picture

June 30, 2020 at 04:23 pm

If I had to predict the 2020 WR/TE/RB roster, it would be thus:

WR: (5)
1) Adams
2) Lazard (love this kid!)
3) Funchess
4) ESB
5) Either Begelton or Kumerow (based on his ST contribution)

TE: (3 or 4)
1) Jace
2) Lewis
3) Deguara (H/Back)
4) Tonyan (outside looking in, not seeing much upside, to be honest)

RB: (4)
1) A. Jones
2) Dillon
3) J. Williams
4) Ervin

Of course, this is based solely on who is currently on the roster, which, as always, is subject to change.

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Stroh's picture

July 01, 2020 at 08:17 pm

Besides Adams and Sternberger, all those skill position players will be used in a rotational role. WR moving in and out based on matchups , even Jones will be used as a role player at RB. Dillon is going to get 12-18 touches with Jones similar. Sternberger has to prove he's up to being a #1 TE but he'll get every chance to do just that.

Im expecting a big jump from EQ and hope he takes the #2 WR job.

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Qoojo's picture

June 30, 2020 at 04:31 pm

I've given up on predicting these things or even getting excited over it. More often than not, the player plateaus or regresses. So just waiting to see if the player takes advantage or not.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

June 30, 2020 at 06:48 pm

All Lazard does is get open and catch every ball thrown his way. I’ll take him over any other WR on the roster not named Adams.

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Coldworld's picture

June 30, 2020 at 08:05 pm

We’re it true, yes. But realistically we need to temper expectations a bit. He actually isn’t that great at separating, but does have goid, late hands and awareness to go with plus size.

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13TimeChamps's picture

June 30, 2020 at 10:18 pm

67.3 catch percentage, which was better than Davante, MVS, Graham, and Jones. But he can't separate. Ok.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 01, 2020 at 02:10 am

And a 9.2 yards per target stat in a smallish sample. 9.2 is elite if it can be maintained.

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Coldworld's picture

July 01, 2020 at 08:17 am

Could not agree more. He is clearly the apple in the off season eyes of some. Raising expectations to the level reflecting the hopes of some here is unfair on the player. Maggie’s floated numbers don’t come close to that.

He will have a big role, part of it will be blocking, but he has shown no sign of being the next Donald Driver or the attributes that would facilitate that, which a stat like this would require over a long period. The way I look at it is that is and will be a good part of our depth and contribute in more ways than just yards. That’s a win and a reasonable burden of expectation. Still need the next true number 2 to emerge or arrive.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

July 01, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Not sure anyone said he was the next Donald Driver, but if you want to make the comparison through his first two seasons he's not doing too bad. He's a solid player. Time will tell how his career pans out.

Lazard
2019 16 games 35 rec 477 yds 13.6 avg 43 long
2018 1 game 1 rec 7 yds 7 avg 7 long

Driver
2000 16 games 21 rec 322 yds 15.3 avg 49 long
1999 6 games 3 rec 31 yds 10.3 avg 12 long

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Coldworld's picture

July 01, 2020 at 03:24 pm

Nobody said he was chopped liver either. The question is about upside not about whether he belongs. I do not recall a poster thinking he won’t be a contributor.

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Stroh's picture

July 01, 2020 at 08:24 pm

You do realize Driver was on the PS for at least 2 yrs and. IIRC 3 yrs, developing and becoming an NFL WR.

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dobber's picture

July 01, 2020 at 09:49 pm

Donald Driver was selected in the 7th round in the 1999 draft and on the active roster every season from then until he retired after the 2012 season.

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Coldworld's picture

July 01, 2020 at 08:13 am

Could not agree more. He is clearly the apple in the off season eyes of some. Raising expectations to the level reflecting the hopes of some here is unfair on the player. Maggie’s floated numbers don’t come close to that. He will have a big role, part of it will be blocking, but he has shown no sign of being the next Donald Driver.

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Stroh's picture

July 01, 2020 at 06:46 pm

Thst means hr catches when thrown to him. If he were able to separate better he would geg alot more balls thrown his way, since Adams is always doubled and he only has single coverage.

He has to get open more often to get more passes thrown his way.

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flackcatcher's picture

June 30, 2020 at 08:03 pm

All I keep coming up with is toilet jokes.... Then there's those pesky Prisoner questions: "Who's number 1. Your number two." And of course the immortal "I not a number I'm a Man".... :-)

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mnbadger's picture

July 01, 2020 at 09:09 am

Thank you for your levity. Too often we act serious like we're the Packer's GM when we're really nothing more than beer swilling knuckleheads doubling as Packer fans. GPG

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