Jameis Winston Highlights 2022 All Boom-or-Bust Team

New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston
New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - The New Orleans Saints have their 2022 season and beyond riding on the reclamation of Jameis Winston and the return of Michael Thomas. The Cincinnati Bengals and Las Vegas Raiders hope second-year linemen won't become the Achilles heels of their explosive offenses. The Seattle Seahawks hope a dope new defensive system can revive Jamal Adams, while the Kansas City Chiefs' defensive rebuild rests on a pair of very streaky veterans.

To be selected to the Walkthrough All Boom-or-Bust Team, a player must be an expected starter on a team with a reasonable chance of reaching the playoffs. There must also be a wide gap between what a player is expected to do and what he has recently done. Maybe he's a former All-Pro coming off an injury-marred season or three. Maybe he's a recent first-round pick who has fallen short of expectations. Perhaps he's a journeyman who is suddenly asked to be a lynchpin starter. Maybe he has thrown for 5,000 yards and 30 interceptions in the same season.

Whatever the case, these are the players that hometown fans love to pretend that they aren't worried about at all.

Quarterback: Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints

Best-Case Scenario: The hypothetical versions of Winston that his boosters like to create by jigsawing together his hot streaks; line-item vetoing a few dozen interceptions; and acting like it's totally normal to be talking about an eighth-year veteran's "upside potential." The Saints have shrewdly found a way to pivot toward a successful post-Drew Brees, post-Sean Payton future.

Worst-Case Scenario: If we get another typical sorta-up-and-way-down Jameis season, the Saints will be just good enough to beat the Panthers and Falcons while wondering where and when they will ever find a real quarterback solution.

Running Back: Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Best-Case Scenario: Henry's is a unicorn, last season's injury was not the beginning of the end, and he's ready to carry what's left of the Titans offense up a steep hill in a snowstorm.

Worst-Case Scenario: Henry is Atlas, and he's already buckling under the weight of the Titans' world.

Wide Receiver: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints

Best-Case Scenario: The 2018-2019 version of Thomas is ready to return to the top of a depth chart featuring Jarvis Landry and rookie Chris Olave, giving Jameis Winston a receiving corps that even Taysom Hill could win some games with.

Worst-Case Scenario: This is all we have seen of Thomas since December of 2020. He did not practice with the Saints during OTAs. Training camp is a goal and not a foregone conclusion. And no one really knows what the problem is beyond an "ankle injury" that never clears up. There's a chance that Thomas is going to be "day-to-day" for the next 150 days or so.

Alvin Kamara and left tackle Trevor Penning could also have made the All Boom-or-Bust team, which gives a pretty good indication of what the Saints 2022 season will be like, at least on offense.

Wide Receiver: Allen Robinson, Los Angeles Rams

Best-Case Scenario: Robinson is a would-be Hall of Famer who has been held back by some of the worst quarterback situations imaginable. He'll shine in a Robert Woods-meets-Odell Beckham role, and the Rams offense won't skip a beat.

Worst-Case Scenario: Robinson has been worn down by too many Blake Bortles/Mitch Trubisky experiences, and/or his reputation got a teensy bit inflated by eight full seasons of "if he only had a real QB" arguments. Robinson turns out to be just another guy, leaving the Rams without a Super Bowl-caliber Plan B beyond Matthew Stafford-to-Cooper Kupp.

Tight End: David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

Best-Case Scenario: Njoku is the high-impact seam-stretching playmaker the Browns need as their possession target and de facto WR2.

Worst-Case Scenario: Another season of sparse targets and platooning with Harrison Bryant, this time on a reported four-year, $55-million contract that will prevent Njoku from taking his annual tour of the trade-deadline rumor mill.

(A quick note: Deshaun Watson was suspended indefinitely from the All Boom-or-Bust Team by the commissioner of the All Boom-or-Bust Team. The Boom-or-Bust Players Association, per their charter, cannot decide whether to appeal by calling a national general strike or by disbanding.)

Tight End: Jonnu Smith, New England Patriots

Best-Case Scenario: [Read aloud in a stereotypical pahhhk the cahhh Boston accent] Ya see, the plan all along was for Smith to be invisible after signing a reported $50-million contract in 2021. The Patriots knew he would need a full year to soak up the coaching wisdom of Josh Mc … um, er, some of Bill Belichick's most experienced and trusted lieutenants! Belichick was building for the 2022 season, when he knew Mac Jones would be ready to ascend into Bradyhood with the help of an unstoppable Smith/Hunter Henry one-two punch at tight end.

Worst-Case Scenario: [Same accent] Sure, Smith's weekly 4-yard reception on two targets is unimpressive if all you care about is fantasy football. But actually, Bill Belichick signed him for his blocking. And his leadership. And the versatility he provides. The brilliance of the 2022 Patriots offense is that it's designed to work without the need of explosive playmakers! You'll see. Just wait until 2023.

Left Tackle: Matt Pryor, Indianapolis Colts

Best-Case Scenario: The Colts found a starting left tackle in Pryor, a former Eagles super-sub lineman who looked very good at the position in a spot start against the Raiders in Week 17 last year.

Worst-Case Scenario: That one great game was a fluke. Pryor is the guy he has looked like for the last three seasons. And the Colts must decide between him and third-round small-program converted tight end Bernhard Raimann as the blindside protector of a 37-year-old pocket passer.

Right Tackle: Alex Leatherwood, Las Vegas Raiders

Best-Case Scenario: Lots of rookie linemen have seasons where they wash out at right tackle and look even worse when sliding inside to guard. So the fact that Leatherwood has been penciled back in at right tackle is no reason for alarm! It's not like the Raiders spent a bajillion dollars and lots of draft capital at wide receiver and expect to win now or anything…

Worst-Case Scenario: The Raiders spend another year playing "hide the weakest link" on the offensive line, but this time the expectations and payroll are much higher.

Guard: Jackson Carman, Cincinnati Bengals

Best-Case Scenario: Carman's rough 2021 season—he was benched in November, spent much of the playoff chase as a package sixth lineman, and got pushed around when pressed into service again at guard in the AFC Championship Game—was just the result of adding a rookie to an already-rickety offensive line. Carman will be much better now that he's flanked by Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, and La'el Collins, and Joe Burrow's protection won't fail him on the final drive of a playoff game or the Super Bowl.

Worst-Case Scenario: Every defense in the league schemes to isolate Carman, who proves unready for the challenge, and Burrow spends too many AFC shootouts on the run.

Guard: Cole Strange, New England Patriots

Best-Case Scenario: [Same Southie guy from the Jonnu Smith segment] Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time the Patriots drafted an obscure guard named Logan Mankins from an unknown little program called Fresno State. Mankins went on to earn six Pro Bowl berths before we tossed him aside. This is exactly the same scenario as what happened 17 years ago, buddy. Watch and learn.

Worst-Case Scenario: Look, the draft was never Bill Belichick's strength. And so what if we got swept by the Bills by a combined 84-24 score. Let them have their little moment. You wanna tour of the trophy case? Thought so. Go Bucs.

Center: Lloyd Cushenberry, Denver Broncos

Best-Case Scenario: Cushenberry was a disaster as a rookie in 2020 but looked much better as the Broncos started to quietly fade away late in 2021. If he keeps making progress, he joins Garrett Bolles and Dalton Risner on the best offensive line Russell Wilson has seen since the days of Max Unger and Russell Okung in Seattle.

Worst-Case Scenario: Cushenberry peaks at "good enough to get by" and veteran challenger Graham Glasgow is no better. We all know what Wilson running around behind shaky protection looks like, and while it's much better than what Broncos fans have gotten used to, it's not as good as the team is banking upon.

Edge Rusher: Frank Clark, Kansas City Chiefs

Best-Case Scenario: That two-month stretch at the start of 2021 where Clark played like he was ready to open a chain of car washes was just the result of injuries and a general Chiefs defensive malaise. He's still a fully motivated impact defender, and the Chiefs pass rush of Clark, Chris Jones, and rookie George Karlaftis will produce plenty of big plays to help out their Tyreek-nerfed offense.

Worst-Case Scenario: The Chiefs handed a $29-million extension to a 29-year-old edge rusher whose sack totals have declined for four straight years because they entered free agency in low-key panic mode about how to keep their nucleus together. Now they're counting on someone who should be a 30-snap role player to start for a defense they are trying to rebuild on the fly.

Edge Rusher: Za'Darius Smith, Minnesota Vikings

Best-Case Scenario: Smith is still a double-digit sack producer despite last season's injuries. Danielle Hunter is still a double-digit sack producer despite last season's injuries. The Vikings have a pass rush that Aaron Rodgers will find nearly as troubling as his own receiving corps.

Worst-Case Scenario: The Vikings added another pricey late-in-his-peak veteran to a collection of them that never seems to get any smaller. Smith and Hunter combine for 15 sacks at 30-sack prices.

Defensive Line: D.J. Jones, Denver Broncos

Best-Case Scenario: Jones was quietly effective as a run defender and pass-rusher for the 49ers in 2021. He'll step right in to replace Shelby Harris this season for a Broncos defense that's every bit as good as its reputation.

Worst-Case Scenario: Jones turns out to be a good-not-great 30-snap wave defender for a defense that lives down to its below-average 2021 DVOA rating instead of its third-place finish in points allowed in 2021, because the Broncos offense no longer plays tortoise ball against opponents who know that any lead is safe.

Defensive Line: Sebastian Joseph-Day, Los Angeles Chargers

Best-Case Scenario: Did an awful run defense keep you out of the playoffs in 2021? No problem! Just add a sturdy role player who knows Brandon Staley's defense from his time with the Rams and watch those third-and-23 draw-play conversions and rushing touchdowns on third-and-goal from the 9-yard line disappear!

Worst-Case Scenario: Admit it. You never spent a moment of your life thinking about Sebastian Joseph-Day until the Chargers gave him a reported $24 million. Then, reassured by the positive reviews of the signing during free agency (fueled by lots of my colleagues performing NFL columnist calculus: Need Position + Coach Connection + Non Glamor Position/Small Fanbase Team = Give it a B-Plus and Save Your Bandwidth for a Quarterback Trade) you figured, "yep, problem solved." That Chargers run defense isn't all that great, and the Chargers could be in big trouble again if they cannot force every opponent into a pass-happy shootout.

Linebacker: Nakobe Dean, Philadelphia Eagles

Best-Case Scenario: The only rookie on our team. The Eagles have the playmaking tough-guy linebacker fans have dreamed about since the days of Jeremiah Trotter, and they stole him in the third round of the draft.

Worst-Case Scenario: The draft-weekend injury rumors prove true, Dean cannot stay on the field, and the Eagles will be forced to rely heavily on Kyzir White, who (based on my study of Chargers film for Football Outsiders Almanac 2022) will make fans yearn for the days of Nathan Gerry.

Linebacker: Isaiah Simmons, Arizona Cardinals

Best-Case Scenario: Simmons has been practicing with the safeties this offseason. Maybe nickel safety will turn out to be an ideal role for the speedy third-year Swiss Army Knife defender who gets knocked around as a run defender, is unreliable in coverage, and provides little juice as an edge rusher.

Worst-Case Scenario: Maybe the Cardinals should swear off the "positionless defenders" until they figure out what they really want to do with one.

Cornerback: Stephon Gilmore, Indianapolis Colts

Best-Case Scenario: The Colts took their time in free agency and came away with a two-time All-Pro to anchor their secondary.

Worst-Case Scenario: The Colts dragged their heels in free agency and came away with a soon-to-be 32-year-old coming off a pair of injury-marred seasons who will break their hearts in the secondary.

Cornerback: Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys

Best-Case Scenario: The 11 interceptions were the REAL Diggs. The NFL-high 916 yards allowed in coverage in 2021 (per Sports Info Solutions) and five touchdowns allowed were just growing pains.

Worst-Case Scenario: Diggs continues down the path of being the Jameis Winston of cornerbacks, but his early-season 2021 interception tear (seven picks in the first six games) turns out to be unrepeatable. The Cowboys enter the playoffs with an inconsistent gamble-and-guess defender, not the second coming of Everson Walls, playing cat-and-mouse with quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

Cornerback: Rasul Douglas, Green Bay Packers

Best-Case Scenario: Douglas has developed into the stalwart defender we saw in 2021, and the Packers defense is a top-10 unit.

Worst-Case Scenario: Douglas is the big-but-sluggish-and-penalty-prone defender we saw in Philly and Carolina from 2017 to 2020, and the Packers are counting on too many veterans to repeat their career years on defense.

Safety: Jamal Adams, Seattle Seahawks

Best-Case Scenario: You simply cannot create a Boom-or-Bust Team without Adams, the World's Tiniest Edge Rusher. Coordinator Clint Hurtt arrives with a new scheme that Adams describes as "dope." Maybe Hurtt can get Adams to do actual safety stuff!

Worst-Case Scenario: So, it sounds like Hurtt wants to run more two-high looks, then roll one of the safeties down at times to disguise coverages and stuff. So, Adams will line up deep a lot. Adams. Deep. Often. Get the fire extinguishers ready, folks!

Safety: Juan Thornhill, Kansas City Chiefs

Best-Case Scenario: Thornhill looked like a high-impact multi-purpose defensive back as a rookie in 2019 and for much of the 2021 playoff stretch. That version of Thornhill can do many of the things Tyrann Mathieu did and become a leader for the youthful Chiefs defense.

Worst-Case Scenario: Thornhill played a reduced role behind Daniel Freakin' Sorensen for much of 2020 and the start of 2021 because Steve Spagnuolo didn't trust him as a starter. That version of Thornhill is a mistake waiting to happen on a team that can no longer easily overcome defensive mistakes.

Kicker: Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers

Best-Case Scenario: Only four kickers in history have made more playoff field goals than Crosby. That's the sort of reliability you can bank upon in the NFC Championship Game.

Worst-Case Scenario: Crosby, who turns 38 in September, missed four field goals inside of 40 yards last year. If he's toast, the Packers won't replace him with undrafted rookie camp leg Greg Brkic or some free agent if he slumps. Instead, they will give Crosby every opportunity to turn things around. Which could out to be a fun new way of losing an NFC Championship Game.

Punter: Arryn Siposs, Philadelphia Eagles

Best-Case Scenario: Siposs averaged 46.5 yards per punt in September as a rookie. He just hit the wall late last season and in the playoffs, and he'll be fine with better conditioning and more big-game experience.

Worst-Case Scenario: The cap-strapped Eagles are stuck with Captain Shanktastic gift-wrapping opponents the ball at midfield when it matters.

Return Specialist: DeAndre Carter, Los Angeles Chargers

Best-Case Scenario: The Chargers solved the latest version of their annual special teams crisis by adding Carter, a dependable and productive upgrade over K.J. Hill and Andre Roberts, who was the ultimate boom-or-bust return man in 2021.

Worst-Case Scenario: Eh, Carter will be fine. But these are the Chargers special teams we are talking about. Something's gonna go horribly wrong.


33 comments, Last at 09 Jul 2022, 12:40pm

#1 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 07, 2022 - 10:11am

Can we rename this team the Ryan Fitzpatrick All-Stars?

leaving the Rams without a Super Bowl-caliber Plan B beyond Matthew Stafford-to-Cooper Kupp.

Fortunately, if you give Stafford only a defense that doesn't stink on ice, he can get to the playoffs with only one cromulent receiver.

Re: Jamal Adams -- oddly enough, he's basically the same size as Matt Milano -- who is 6ft 223lb.

The cap-strapped Eagles are stuck with Captain Shanktastic gift-wrapping opponents the ball at midfield when it matters.

What would it take to get Randall to come back as a punter?

Points: 0

#9 by MilkmanDanimal // Jul 07, 2022 - 12:02pm

My first thought was "The Jameis Winston All-Stars", because his entire career is the epitome of boom or bust.  Sure, 5,000 yards, but 30 INTs and seven pick-sixes.  Ability to make insanely great plays, but followed with a ball softly lofted to the LB already running towards your end zone.  Winston has consistently been maybe the most entertaining QB in the league since the day he was drafted, because he's going to do all sorts of exciting things every game, and you're never sure in what direction it will go.  You just can't turn away.

Suffice to say, I'm less than entirely moved by him having a solid 6.5 games or so, with the first of those being that bizarro-world Packers game in week one.

Points: 0

#11 by big10freak // Jul 07, 2022 - 12:37pm

Has an unpleasant history over the last decade of making mediocre or worse quarterbacks seem competent to good to very good in individual games. 

Sam Darnold 341 yards and 3 TD passes

Mariota 295 yards and 4 TD passes

Mitch Trubisky    235 yards and 2 TD passes

Josh McNown   272 yards and 2 TD passes

Christian Ponder   234 yards and 3 TD passes

Alex Smith and Kyle Orton  Too many times to count 


Points: 0

#24 by Vincent Verhei // Jul 07, 2022 - 2:25pm

Can we rename this team the Ryan Fitzpatrick All-Stars?

No, that name will be used in a different series of articles coming later this summer. But I've said too much...

Points: 0

#32 by DraftMan // Jul 08, 2022 - 10:00am

A 30 for 30 Production: Tom Brady kicks off his retirement tour in April 2023 by signing 1-day contracts with all 30 teams he hasn't played for, lest there be a quarterback record he doesn't hold.

Points: 0

#2 by Pat // Jul 07, 2022 - 10:51am

OK, OK, I agree Siposs is absolutely Boom or Bust, but seriously unless the GM is brain damaged (don't you start) the worst case scenario is "Philly cuts him and goes through a series of FA punters for mediocre punting through the year."

We are talking about a *punter* after all. The cap hits don't matter: he's not a vested vet, and they'd save money cutting him and going min-salary FA, even if it was a different one every week.

Points: 0

#3 by KnotMe // Jul 07, 2022 - 11:01am

Well, the concept is the Boom or Bust team, so you need a punter. But yeah, it's not really as much of a problem as the other positions. 

Points: 0

#4 by big10freak // Jul 07, 2022 - 11:16am

Right or wrong suspect Crosby gets a pass on 2021 results from GB management due to everyone around him (center snaps, holding, edge protection) was erratic all season


As a vet he could have complained.  Made demands.  Shown his displeasure.   Instead he spent extra time with the unit all year trying to help things get better.  

Gute likely wants to honor that approach.   The loyalty is admirable but may well have an unwelcome outcome.  

Points: 0

#5 by big10freak // Jul 07, 2022 - 11:25am

What was alarming about Robinson last season was the lack of effort.  He wasn’t hard to cover because of anything other than him not trying.  Yes the head coach was a doofus.  Yes the team was a mess.  Yes the rookie qb struggled.  Still not keen on a pro not doing his job in pro manner.  Larry Fitzgerald was saddled with Josh Rosen for heavens sake and he killed himself trying to make Rosen look competent 

Points: 0

#21 by serutan // Jul 07, 2022 - 1:51pm

Agreed. Lack of professionalism is worse than any injury.  And don't forget Fitz was also saddled with that merry-go-round of scrub QBs after Warner retired and behaved just as professionally.

Points: 0

#6 by big10freak // Jul 07, 2022 - 11:35am

I did want to acknowledge Mr Tanier’s efforts in generating interesting off season content. 

Not easy and to date all quite readable. 


Points: 0

#7 by DocPossum // Jul 07, 2022 - 11:43am

As a Patriots fan, it was unusually kind of you to put Cole Strange on the boom-bust list.

Points: 0

#10 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jul 07, 2022 - 12:20pm

Correction aside, I'm still going to call him Coke Strange from now on.

Points: 0

#12 by MJK // Jul 07, 2022 - 12:50pm

Tanier's not really following his own rules.  "A wide gap between what the player is expected to do and what he has recently done".  

Well, a rookie by definition hasn't done anything recently (in the NFL), so that would describe *every* high round draft pick if we're being pedantic.  Or one could exclude rookies from the list (which one should do, because otherwise the list would consist of every rookie expected to start this year).

And so Tanier does exclude rookies and limits this list only to veterans... except in the case of Cole Strange? It seems like just taking a yet another random jab at a draft pick he didn't like or agree with.

Points: 0

#13 by MJK // Jul 07, 2022 - 12:55pm

Oops, just noticed that he has another rookie as well, Nakobe Dean.  Who Tanier describes as "the only rookie on the team".  I guess Cole Strange has already played a season in Tanier's mind and underperformed?

Points: 0

#19 by DocPossum // Jul 07, 2022 - 1:42pm

I think that if a rookie has legitimately high expectations, they can be on the list. George Karlaftis would fit because he is generally considered a good prospect who should contribute to the pass rush at the NFL level. I can see Nakobe Dean fitting because there was a lot of love for him.

Cole Strange is at best OK or bust except in the minds of Belichick worshippers.

Points: 0

#15 by SandyRiver // Jul 07, 2022 - 1:02pm

And also turned him into a veteran, as the Eagle's Nakobe Dean was called "the only rookie on our team."

Points: 0

#23 by Pat // Jul 07, 2022 - 2:07pm

In reply to by SandyRiver

Oh, I had read that as the only rookie on the Eagles (to start). Which is probably true. But yeah it might be a mistake.

Points: 0

#8 by DocPossum // Jul 07, 2022 - 11:56am

Also very kind to include the Seahawks as a team with a reasonable chance to make the playoffs.

Points: 0

#14 by KnotMe // Jul 07, 2022 - 1:00pm

Honestly, predicting playoff teams seems esp hard this year, I actually wouldn't have picked seattle. (maybe it's a preview? or maybe they just had a good option)


Points: 0

#20 by DocPossum // Jul 07, 2022 - 1:51pm

This is true and fair point. Actually, I think Travon Walker could be a good pick for the team. His upside is a top end player against both the run and the pass. If he hit that potential, it gives the Jaguars a reasonable chance to make the playoffs in the relatively weak AFC South. I can understand not putting them in the reasonable chance category because they were terrible.

Points: 0

#17 by MJK // Jul 07, 2022 - 1:05pm

Why did you go 2-TE 2-WR?  There's a lot more WR's out there than TE's, and 3 TE - 1TE sets are run a lot more often than 12 personnel groupings.

Jonnu Smith seems a fairly weak add to the list because I don't think many Patriots fans expect a lot out of him this year.  He's clearly the TE2 on the Patriots (played 50% of offensive snaps last year versus Hunter Henry's 70%), and is one of a crowed group of skill players in training camp this year.  Patriots fans pretty much acknowledge him to be a good blocking TE who can occasionally catch the ball and who would be a valuable role player as a TE2... and therefore a bust given what the Patriots paid for him.  I don't see the "boom" argument for him in the "boom or bust" context of this article.

Wouldn't Christian Kirk have been a better pass catcher to include on a list of boom-or-bust players this year?  Or possibly MVS or JuJu or Marquise Brown?  Those are all players where fanbases have incredibly high expectations, and I just don't see the cause for those expectations...

Points: 0

#18 by MJK // Jul 07, 2022 - 1:06pm

... Looking back, I see he said they have to expect to start for a team expected to make the playoffs, so that probably rules out Christian Kirk.  But I would still think MVS or JuJu or Marquise Brown would be more "boom or bust" than Jonnu Smith.

Points: 0

#25 by KnotMe // Jul 07, 2022 - 2:30pm

There are alot of ways you could go and he just had to pick some. Frex:

Tyreek Hill

Best Case: His production doesn't change much and he helps elevate Tua to a top-10 QB

Worst Case: Not even this hill can fill the gap between Mahomes and Tua. He's still pretty good, but no where near the highest paid WR in the NFL
I suppose that gives the fins a "reasonable chance at making the playoffs".....but there are like 12 teams in the AFC you can say that for. (Bills are probably in.  North and West are slug fest and it's hard to see who comes out, Somebody has to win the south and NE or MIA could sneak in from the east bc they get the jets twice) 



Points: 0

#30 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jul 07, 2022 - 6:07pm

Yeah the 2 TE really felt like a way to get another dig at the Pats. I was expecting 3 WR.


My homer pick is Sammy Watkins. Based on recent performances (simple average of his last 5 years, 3 of those with Kansas City so you know great QB), you should expect about 12.5 games played, 39 receptions, 520 yards, 3 or 4 TD, 13.3 y/r.

What I see from Packers fans is. Well of course since Rodgers will have no one else to throw to, Watkins was a first round talent, he fills a need, and LaFleur will know exactly how to you use him. Let's go with 6.5 targets a game and use that 61% reception rate over the last 5 years. That gives you a reasonable projection of 68 recs, 915 yards, 7 TDs. That's not being optimistic about anything. If anything I'm underselling him! They really believe he'll be 1200 yards and not 520. They sell the 915 as the very reasonable not doing anything crazy with projections.

That projection of course ignores that he's averaged missing 3.6 games a year over his last 5 seasons, and career actually. He's only had 1 fully healthy season, his rookie year in 2014. It ignores that 6.5 targets a game would tie the 2nd most of his career. Sure he wasn't the first option for KC and BAL last year was an injury nightmare which really affects QB play which messes with a WR. But if he really were as good as he was billed he would find more targets. I get the idea that Hill and Kelce are going to eat up targets in KC. But if Watkins could actually be open enough to sustain a 60%+ catch rate he would have gotten the targets. His jump in catch rate in KC is not just QB, it's also paired with being covered by lesser defenders and being the 3rd option so not seeing the ball unless he's a really good choice. If Rodgers has to target him 8 times a game he won't be catching 61% of those it will be closer 55% (his career rate outside KC) and it likely also means the yards per rec will drop from 13.3 to 12.8 or worse.  That 8 targets, 55%, 12.8 still gets you over 950 yards (75 vs 68 recs but 136 vs 110 targets) it just means much less efficiency and likely worst game results because those empty targets are likely to lead to more 3 and out situations.

I get the arguments. I can see a path for him to be a 1200 yard receiver. I've laid out a couple of paths to over 900. But it's also just as likely he misses 8 games and only manages to him like 400 yards. It's even more likely he misses like 3 games and has another 520 yard season.

The expectations around him from what I've seen are basically, lets take 75% of Davante and then maybe tone that done for missing a game or two. 

They all use some version or combination of various things I've mentioned. They can all sound reasonable. They are all big asks for Waktins who would draw the drop coverage if he really did start producing like that. Why wouldn't you roll coverage to him anyway? How afraid are you of Allen Lazard, Cristian Watson (R), Randall Cobb (32 years old), Romeo Doubs (R), and Amari Rodgers (showed nothing in year 1)? Why not cover Waktins just in case his 8 years of underwhelming performances really were all bad QB's and bad situations and injuries? Or maybe you just play dial up the blitzes because none of those guys are going to work themselves open fast enough and you don't need to double cover any of them so you can actually keep an eye on Jones and Dillon while trying to get extra rushers just in case they do try to run against your blitzes. If I'm an opposing DC I know I want to limit Rodgers time and maybe get him beat up so if the Packers D actually does end up being good he's less likely to shove a dagger in your back at the end of the game.

Points: 0

#22 by big10freak // Jul 07, 2022 - 1:53pm

He certainly doesn’t have a return TD this season.  Those are outlier events. 

He is still only 26 so still in his physical prime. Plays hard all the time  He’s big.  Physical.  Seems very sharp when playing   If you are going to take a chance on a guy the one who gives effort while being football smart with a base set of skills appropriate for the role is a decent bet

Points: 0

#28 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jul 07, 2022 - 5:21pm

He's also the 3rd corner for the Packers, clearly behind Alexander and Stokes. Just because Alexander is likely to be in the slot when there are 3 CBs on the field doesn't mean he isn't CB1. Douglas is still going to be the guy going on and coming off the field. I suppose the Packers do have a history of playing the 3rd corner on 65 - 75% of snaps. Some of that is because of injuries. Even if Barry is trying to build so they can run more base D where you've only got the 2 corners on the field. I guess Douglas is still going to be on the field more than my gut reaction to seeing him on the list indicates. 

You've covered the reasons he's a good gamble. Even if you only get his Philly/Carolina level production out of him that should still be fine for your 3rd corner and with the rookie cap controlling one of your starters even with the big extension for Alexander they aren't breaking the bank at the position.

Points: 0

#26 by mehllageman56 // Jul 07, 2022 - 4:20pm

Surprised Mekhi Becton didn't make the team.  Certainly seems his career is at a crossroads between bust and superstar tackle.  I would think he has more potential than the Colts guy.  I would also nominate the sophomore triumvirate of Lawrence, Wilson and Fields for honorable mention at quarterback.  If they all fail, I hope they get law degrees because that sounds like the name of a great law firm.

Points: 0

#27 by mehllageman56 // Jul 07, 2022 - 4:21pm

Oh, reasonable chance of making the playoffs.  That's what I get for skimming the beginning.

Points: 0

#29 by sharky19 // Jul 07, 2022 - 6:06pm

I just need Tanier to say he thinks the Raiders are going 4-13. The pessimism is insane across every move this year, Leatherwood being written off completely after year 1 is wild!

Points: 0

#31 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jul 07, 2022 - 8:25pm

and Rasul, replace Dean with the other new Packer that was re signed. His baseline was lower than Rasuls and at the same last year is a lot harder to replicate.

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support Mike
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and Mike Tanier. Use promo code WALKTHROUGH to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip Mike.