GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Just days after hearing their names called in the NFL Draft, three now-rookie wide receivers entered the Packers locker room for the first time.
Each one found a green-trimmed practice jersey hanging from his locker – 9, 83, 87 – but no one expected to see a No. 17 jersey.
And likewise, no one should expect to see Davante Adams’ expertise easily replaced.
Even so, rookie wide receivers Christian Watson (second round), Romeo Doubs (fourth round), and Samori Toure (seventh round) see a massive opportunity in front of them among a mostly-unproven wide receiving corps, and they’re ready to take that chance and run.
Toure, a senior standout from the University of Nebraska, sees Green Bay as the perfect opportunity to flourish and it’s almost fitting he ended up in Titletown.
“It feels great to be here,” Toure said. “It’s such a historical, storied program – similar to Nebraska. Nebraska has that history behind it, as well as Montana.”
(Lambeau Field has sold out every game since 1960, while Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium has a sellout streak dating back to 1962.)
“I feel like I’ve been on the same theme throughout my football career, and it feels right that I ended up here,” Toure said.
Watson, hailing from North Dakota State, and Doubs, who led the FBS in receptions at Nevada, is used to flying under the radar alongside Toure, who claimed FCS All-American status his junior year at Montana.
But once you get to the league, conference affiliations go out the window and each player is just trying to be one of 53, on one of 32 teams.
“Coming in with guys like Christian and Romeo, we’re kind of all on this same journey and path together,” Toure said. “You know, all helping each other out, all learning from each other and learning from the vets as well.
“We’ve got some great vets in the room – Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, just to name a few – and they’ve all been really helpful in just guiding us along the way.”
Another one of those guiding vets is the longest-tenured player on the Packers roster. He also happens to be a future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned to offseason practices for the first time since 2019, joining the Packers for mandatory minicamp from June 7-9.
The two-time defending MVP knows things will be different without his best target in Adams, but even in a short summer stint, he’s already putting in work to help his young wide receivers refine the foundation of their craft.
“He’s taught me a lot about the details,” Toure said of Rodgers. “The NFL is a detail-oriented game, so just how every single route, we’re running it for a reason.
“The concepts play into the defense – just about being in the right spot at the right time to be able to get on the same page as the quarterback.”
Toure turned heads in mandatory minicamp after working to find his footing throughout the early portion of OTAs.
That said, the seventh-rounder is still battling through a crowded wide receiver room, and he knows it will be a battle to make the initial roster at the end of training camp.
So until prove-it time comes around, Toure will focus on three things that got him to this point.
“Just honing in on the details, like I said; continuing to get better every single day, and being able to learn every position,” Toure said. “I’m working all over the board – slot, outside, inside – so I feel like me being able to play every position is going to help me be able to get on the field, as well as special teams.”
Toure is no stranger to the third phase of the game, playing among multiple special teams units at Nebraska. In 2021, like the Packers, the Huskers ranked among the worst special teams units in college football – so Toure knows just how crucial the details are for establishing winning habits.
In addition to returning units, Toure worked as a gunner on coverage teams at both Nebraska and in the Shrine Bowl, impressing scouts with his ability and willingness to play any spot.
“In my mind it’s, ‘put me anywhere,’ but obviously they’re going to put me in a position where I can use my speed, such as gunner, such as punt returner, kick returner, kickoff running down there,” Toure said. “I’m willing to do anything they want me to, so it’s just a matter of finding that role that fits for me.”
Rookies will report a few days before the Packers’ first training camp practice on Wednesday, July 27.
Until then, Toure is focused on learning the playbook, like others, and staying in shape to hit the ground running in August.
But in the back of his mind, as well as the minds of his teammates, the aspirations all center on the regular season – especially the magic of the first home night game, Week 2 against the Chicago Bears.
“I’m just looking forward to the fans and the energy,” Toure said. “That’s something that everyone talks about and is known around the league.
“Best home atmosphere in the league as far as I’m concerned, so I’m just ready to run through that tunnel, just see what that experience is like, and hopefully get that first Lambeau Leap.”