Entering the 2019 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers had been desperately trying to find Aaron Rodgers a second receiver he trusts outside of Davante Adams for a number of years. And they might have finally found that guy in Allen Lazard.
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While Green Bay fans and much of the media are lamenting the lack of free agent signings or draft picks spent on wide receivers, the Packers may be expecting Lazard to build on the chemistry he developed with Rodgers when he was unexpectedly handed playing opportunities last season.
An undrafted free agent in 2018, Lazard is a 6-foot-5, big-bodied receiver who had a lot of fans out of Iowa State as a draft prospect. He didn’t make the top 250 players on PFF’s final Big Board that season, but he graded consistently well during his college career. In Lazard's final season, throwing his way generated a 103.3 NFL passer rating, despite seven drops.
In the NFL, Lazard didn’t wow during his first preseason with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He saw only six targets and was eventually waived before signing to their practice squad. The Packers signed him off Jacksonville’s practice squad later that season, but he saw just one snap in his rookie season (albeit one that resulted in a target and a 7-yard reception).
Lazard's first signs of life at the NFL level came in his second preseason, this time in Green Bay. He was targeted 11 times, catching six of those passes for 114 yards and a touchdown and earning good PFF grades across the board. He broke a pair of tackles with the ball in his hands, didn’t drop a pass and generated 2.71 yards per route run, the second-most on the team over the preseason despite not playing in the final game. It wasn’t enough for Lazard to survive roster cuts, though, and he spent a couple of days on Green Bay’s practice squad before being activated for the remainder of the 2019 season.