WR rookie Samori Toure shows potential against Chiefs

The Green Bay Packers went with some experience potential for the final wide receiver position. The Packers want to see more rookie Samori Toure, whom they picked over Juwann Winfree for the original 53-man roster.

The decision came as a bit of a surprise, considering Winfree had received praise from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. However, this is not another Jake Kumerow situation. Winfree, now in his fourth NFL season, had the experience advantage over Toure, but the rookie’s preseason production was hard to ignore.

Buy Packers Tickets

Toure led all Green Bay receivers with 125 yards after catching nine of 13 targets. He capped it all off with an impressive performance in the preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs, making six catches for 83 yards.

To better understand what the Packers may have seen in Touré to keep him, let’s go to the film of his match against the Chiefs.

Green Bay selected Toure with the 258th overall pick in the seventh round of this year’s draft. Toure was coming off an impressive season at Nebraska, where he led the Big Ten in receiving yards (19.5). Toure is listed at 6-1, 191 pounds, making him a solid size receiver with the ability to run. He ran a 4.48 with a 1.64 yardage spread on his pro day.

In the clip above, both receivers are in a reduced division and are aiming to get back on the field. Touré is at the top of the screen against an aggressive corner. He takes a kick to tip the defender, so the jam misses its target. Touré then takes the inside exit and uses his speed to gain a split on a deep road. The opposite corner notices Toure heading towards his side of the pitch just as the ball is cleared. The assist defender is actually in a pretty good position, but Toure shows good processing skills to get in front of him and make a great focus shot.

Toure posted an RAS score of 6.15, which is a bit low for what Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst usually looks for. However, when you are able to run precise routes, it can help compensate for average athleticism. Touré is tasked with executing an in-breaker against zone coverage. He uses an effective stutter step to gain inside leverage against the corner, but does so without losing too much momentum. This keeps the flow of the game intact and creates ideal timing for the quarterback to get rid of the ball. Safety crashes hard on Toure when he catches, and there is also a linebacker in the area. However, Toure tried hard to stay on his feet, breaking a pair of tackles and collecting a good YAC to get the ball down to the one-yard line. This kind of effort does not go unnoticed by coaches.

Here’s another example of Touré’s mental processing and competitive tenacity. As a young player fighting for a spot on the roster, you need to be able to do the dirty work. Touré isn’t afraid to go over the middle and also understands how to beat zone coverage. After getting behind the linebacker, he shows good pace on this route to settle in the weak point of the zone. You like to see that kind of recognition from a rookie.

Being a willing blocker is required of all Green Bay receivers. If you want to enter the court, you have to be able to block. It was one of the areas where Winfree was supposed to have a slight advantage over Toure, but the rookie definitely has the tools to be an effective blocker. He attacks that defensive back with strength and good hand placement while extending his arms. All in all a solid rep that could transfer to the racing game.

We’ve seen Allen Lazard do that a ton. The crack block is a useful move to create room for the ball carrier by sealing either the linebacker or the safety. Toure takes a good angle to safety, but unfortunately the corner straightens up to give the lead and prevent the ball carrier from turning the corner. Even if the game aims for a minimal gain, it says a lot about the team’s confidence in Touré to make this type of block.

Conclusion

After reviewing the tape, we understand why the Packers want to cling to Touré. He’s a solid athlete who runs good runs and is a willing blocker. The blocking part is important because it will help Toure get on the pitch for the special teams. Offensively, he probably won’t have much of a role in 2022. After all, he’s the seventh receiver on the depth chart and still learning the playbook. That said, Toure will have a chance to carve out a role for himself down the road. if he continues to improve. One thing we didn’t see much against Kansas City was his ability to stretch the court, which is a big part of his game and his upside. If Toure can be a deep threat, who is also capable of running good short to mid routes, he will have a much longer career in the NFL. At first, however, he will have to make the most of his representatives in the special teams.