No. 11, Boise State WR Khalil Shakir
The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects who could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Green Bay Packers need an infusion of talent at wide receiver. They also need to find a dynamic return man to give their comeback game a much-needed boost in the arm.
A player who could help meet both of these needs is Khalil Chakir. The Boise State wide receiver checks in at No. 11 in the Unpacking Future Packers Countdown.
As a freshman in 2018, Shakir scored one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown, as well as punts (12) and kickoffs (4) for the Broncos. The following season, the four-star rookie had a breakout season. Shakir had a team-leading 63 receptions for 872 yards and six receiving touchdowns, a team high. The versatile playmaker scored three rushing touchdowns and passed another.
In just seven games in 2020, Shakir recorded 52 receptions for 719 yards and six touchdowns. The California native also ran for 148 yards on 17 carries.
Last season, Shakir posted career highs in receptions (77), receiving yards (1,117) and receiving touchdowns (7).
Khalil Shakir really made his mark 🐎 pic.twitter.com/6IEreLImzN
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 15, 2022
“Shakir came into the season as the obvious primary target in the passing game, but there weren’t many teams that figured out how to stop him,” said football beats writer Ron Counts. of Boise State for the Idaho Statesman. “There were so many times on third down where everyone in the stadium knew he was getting the ball, but somehow he got it anyway. He proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was a No. 1 receiver in college, and he capped off a super productive career with his best season, posting career highs in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He ranks No. 5 all-time at Boise State with 208 career receptions and No. 4 with 2,878 receiving yards, and he’s tied for No. 9 with 20 receiving touchdowns.
So fast. So explosive. Khalil Shakir is a true playmaker. pic.twitter.com/d8OL9wURlt
— Brennen Rupp (@Brennen_Rupp) June 25, 2020
Shakir is a walking highlight reel. Every week, Shakir made games. Whether it was a circus catch or making people miss in space, Shakir was making plays for the Broncos on a weekly basis.
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 21, 2022
Shakir is sneaky and slippery in the open. He’s capable of cutting into a dime and lets defensive backs grab air. According to Focus on professional football, Shakir averaged six yards after the catch last season and forced 14 missed tackles. The dynamic playmaker is a real YAC threat.
“He spent much of his high school career as a running back, and despite his impressive 40 times in the Combine, he’s more elusive than fast,” Counts said. “He still has the instincts he developed as a running back. His vision and sideways movement are impeccable, and he’s really powerful in his lower half. He’s only 6ft tall, but he weighs 196lbs and it is not easy to put on the ground.
Shakir is an easy accelerator off the line of scrimmage and vertically threatens defensive backs. The Boise State wide receiver is a savvy road runner. It does a good job of changing its road speed. He has quick feet to set up his routes. He explodes in and out of his breaks to constantly create separation. Shakir has a knack for finding weak spots in coverage and makes himself available to the quarterback. He continues to work to make himself available for the quarterback when the game breaks down.
“He runs clean roads,” Counts said. “A lot of the praise he received in the Senior Bowl was about exactly that. Part of it goes back to his power in his lower half. A scout described him as explosive coming off his breaks, and the former offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, Dirk Koetter, who was once Boise State’s head coach, said Shakir had “monstrous” explosiveness and body control.
Shakir has velcro shaped hands. He grabs everything that comes his way. He does a great job of tracking the ball on the pitch and has exceptional body control. According to PFF, Shakir had nine contested catches last season for the Broncos.
“I haven’t seen him drop a lot of passes in the three years I covered Boise State,” Counts said. “He specialized early in his career to catch short passes, get a guy to miss and turn it into a 20-yard gain. Last season he really showed his talent for winning 50/50 balls. There were so many passes where he was far from open and still somehow found the ball.
Shakir is a versatile weapon. It can line up on the boundary or in the slot. Boise State used him out of the backfield. A creative offensive coordinator will find ways to get him fabricated touches. He’s a dynamic playmaker, capable of picking up big chunks thanks to his ability to miss defenders into space.
I would love to see Khalil Shakir attacking Matt LaFleur. pic.twitter.com/ICDMZ6WzkM
— Brennen Rupp (@Brennen_Rupp) August 3, 2021
Shakir finished his Boise State career with 24 punt returns and eight kick returns. He averaged 23.8 yards per kick return and 7.5 yards per kick return. Last season, Shakir averaged 12.8 yards per punt return. With his vision and ability to miss the first man, Shakir could be a dynamic punt returner in the NFL.
“I definitely see Shakir seeing playing time early as a punt or kick returner,” Counts said. “He’s not a stereotypical No. 1 WR in the NFL, so he’ll probably have to contribute to special teams to make a roster. He has great acceleration and vision and was close to busting a few punts last season.
Fit with the Packers
As it stands, the Packers don’t have any key pieces in place at the wide receiver position. Allen Lazard is a solid player and arguably the best wide receiver on the team. Not a knock on Lazard, but that’s not enough for a team that has a Super Bowl window open as Aaron Rodgers approaches his career nine.
Randall Cobb is a shell of himself and has proven he can still jump playing with Rodgers. Sammy Watkins is a bridge player who hasn’t played 14 or more games in a season since 2019. The Packers traded in the third round for Amari Rodgers last season but haven’t done much to inspire confidence in his rookie season.
All Shakir did while at Boise State was play. It’s a Swiss army knife. He puts extra stress on the defense when he has the ball in his hands. He can win vertically. He can line up out of the backfield. Matt LaFleur would find ways to get him the ball. With his reliable hands and road run, he had quickly become a favorite for the reigning MVP. In addition to his wide receiver ability, Shakir could help liven up Green Bay’s return game.
“The one box Shakir doesn’t physically check is his height, but he more than makes up for that with his instincts and reliability,” Counts said. “You just can’t train what it took for him to make some of those unlikely catches last year. He showed the Combine he had elite speed and he improved his vertical leap four inches (38.5″) on his professional day. He has proven he can get out and make a play even when everyone in the stadium knows he has the ball, and he is versatile. He has carried the ball on numerous throw sweeps and played a wild QB at Boise State He even threw a touchdown pass He’s also one of the humblest athletes I’ve ever covered, and he seems to be a guy who can be trusted to perform well on and off the pitch.
The Packers need to restock talent inside the wide receiver closet at 1265 Lombardi Avenue. Adding a player like Shakir in the third round would be a great addition to a now stale pantry.