Lazard took a unique path to the NFL despite an accomplished career as a legacy at Iowa State, going undrafted in 2018 and spending nearly all of his rookie season on the Jaguars’ practice squad before signing to the Packers’ 53 with two weeks left in the season.
Once he had the opportunity to put his abilities on display, Lazard didn’t disappoint and was responsible for some of the most memorable catches of the 2019 season for Green Bay.
He caught four passes for 65 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown, in only 17 snaps to key the Packers’ comeback win over the Lions in Week 6. Lazard then enjoyed another big performance against Detroit in the regular-season finale, catching a crucial 28-yard touchdown on third-and-10 that tied game with 5 minutes, 19 seconds remaining.
The Packers went on to win the game, 23-20, on a Mason Crosby 33-yard field goal to give Green Bay the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs and the first-round bye that goes with it.
“It’s been a crazy ride,” Lazard said. “My whole experience in the NFL – being in Jacksonville last year and then coming here to a team that didn’t make it to the playoffs for two years in a row and to be able to make it to the NFC Championship, I got to experience what it’s like to win, the process that it takes and the work it requires to put in.”
Lazard, who only turned 24 in December, partially credits his quick maturation to Adams, who was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive year after catching 83 passes for 997 yards and five touchdowns in only 12 games.
While the two receivers possess different body types and play styles, Lazard learned a great deal from Adams in their first year together. The veteran imparted onto the young prospect the importance of utilizing proper footwork off the line of scrimmage, and how body positioning translates to setting up defensive backs downfield and maintaining your center of gravity at all times.
Adams’ insight was also valuable when it came to developing trust with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who became one of Lazard’s biggest advocates throughout the course of the year.
“Huge,” said Lazard of Adams’ impact on him. “He’s really expanded my knowledge of the game. Not only understanding the X’s and O’s but also I think a lot of stuff Davante does is freelancing and reactions. It’s being able to understand how and why he does those things.”