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Point of Veau: Wide Receivers Harper, Dorsey Face Tall Task to Make Packers Roster

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Point of Veau: Wide Receivers Harper, Dorsey Face Tall Task to Make Packers Roster

Before the NFL Draft, I was encouraged that either Chris Harper or Kevin Dorsey might be able to emerge from obscurity to become a contributing member to the 2014 edition of the Green Bay Packers.

I was a realist. It was probably overly optimistic that the Packers could find room for both of them on the 53-man roster.

And I wasn't expecting superstardom. Between the two of them, I hoped just one would stand out and prove too good to cut.

Following the NFL Draft, however, and the Packers selected not one, not two but three wide receivers, the chances that either Harper or Dorsey make the roster appear slim at best.

Every year following the draft, the Packers typically sign a handful of wide receivers as rookie free agents just like they did with Myles White, Alex Gillett and Tyrone Walker a year ago.

When there's four quarterbacks throwing the football in camp, there's always a need to fill out the roster with a stable of receivers to catch all those passes.

After grabbing three receivers in the draft, however, there was no such need for Green Bay in 2014. There's already 10 receivers on the 90-man offseason roster and assuming good health, four of them are guaranteed to still be there in September: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin and Davante Adams.

The odds of Harper or Dorsey making the regular-season roster are not insurmountable, however. With so much depth at the position, there's a decent chance the Packers keep up to six this season.

But in order to claim one of the two spots up for grabs, Harper and Dorsey would have to beat out either this year's draft choices—Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis—or last year's holdovers—White and Gillett.

Thankfully for Harper and Dorsey, their raw talent gives them a puncher's chance.

There's a reason Harper was made as high as a fourth round draft choice by the Seattle Seahawks last season. As a collegian at Kansas State, Harper grabbed 123 career receptions for 1,734 yards and 12 touchdowns, a key factor in the Wildcats posting back-to-back double-digit win seasons in 2011 and 2012.

But when it came time for final roster cutdowns, Harper became the the second-highest pick in the 2013 draft class not to make his original team's opening-day roster.

Harper was signed by the San Francisco 49ers shortly thereafter but after spending seven weeks on the team's inactive list, he was waived and claimed by the Packers in mid-October.

While in Green Bay, Harper was only active for four games and his role was almost exclusively on special teams. He played in all of two snaps on offense the entire season, according to ProFootballFocus.com, and did not catch a pass.

Despite his limited amount of playing time, the Packers could have cut Harper at any time but chose not to. There's something they see in Harper worth developing, perhaps his large frame. At 6' 1" and 228 lbs., he's the heaviest receiver on the team's roster.

As for Dorsey, he's been more fragile than fine china in his limited time with the Packers, missing the majority of last season's offseason program and training camp due to injury.

Dorsey was eventually placed on injured reserve, where he spent the entirety of his rookie season. Although, just like Harper, there's a reason the Packers invested a seventh round draft choice into Dorsey last season. They saw something in the 6' 1" and 207-lb. product out of Maryland.

Organized team activities, which begin this upcoming week, will be of utmost importance to both Dorsey and Harper. Its their opportunity to show how how much they've progressed since last season.

If Dorsey and Harper stand any chance of making the Packers roster in 2014, they'll take advantage of OTAs and carry that momentum into training camp.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (14) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Kid Culi's picture

Too bad Charles Johnson is gone. I liked him better than both these guys. Jeff Janis seems kind of similar though...

RC Packer Fan's picture

I really would have liked to seen what he could have done with a years of experience under his belt. I think he could have been a really good player in green bay this coming year.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

It would be something if they make it, lots of talent out there.

Stroh's picture

The only player(s) that Harper and Dorsey are really competing w/ for a roster spot is Abbrederis and maybe white. I personally don't find it a stretch to think that one, or possibly both can beat out Abbrederis and White.

I actually think that Dorsey and Harper are more or less fighting one another for a roster spot. However, Dorsey and Abbrederis, along w/ Janis are likely fighting for a job on the PS.

Pretty much a given that 4 roster spots are locked up w/ Nelson, Cobb, Boykin and Adams. So it comes down to whether they choose to keep 5 or 6 WR. My guess is 5. The one thing that gives Abbrederis and White a minor advantage is that they are slot WR and would be the backups to Cobb. If they keep Dorsey or Harper, they wouldn't have a backup to Cobb in the slot.

If they keep 6 WR then Dorsey and Harper are fighting one another for an outside backup spot, and Abbrederis and White are fighting one another for the backup slot WR.

Jordan's picture

That's all just your opinion. And not a very good one. Abbrederis is a lock whether you like it or not.

Abbrederis will be playing both outside and some inside.

Nelson already plays a lot of slot just like Greg Jennings played both inside and out. Quarless and Bostic play slot too.

Watch and learn grasshopper.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, I'm not going to call Abbrederis a lock per say... But I think he is as close to a lock as there is without being one...

He will be the #5 WR, and the 5th-6th WR's have to contribute on special teams but also offer ability on offense if needed. Abbrederis can do that. He will be in competition for the PR job, and possibly the KR job.

Also Thompson does like to cut draft picks and they have to be pretty bad for him to cut them.

Stroh's picture

Abbrederis might be a backup NFL WR someday, but he's far from being there yet. He's a weakling right now and the NFL CB will overpower him and might throw him around like a ragdoll. He needs to get ALOT stronger to make anything happen in the NFL. He has very little explosiveness and doesn't accelerate quickly making him almost useless outside.

He is gonna have problems getting off the LOS and getting into his routes. He lacks speed and elusiveness once he gets the ball. He's not ready for the NFL and the best thing that could happen to him is to spend a year on the PS, while he gets ALOT stronger (however due only to the fact he was drafted he'll probably get a roster spot). His one defining trait is his route running, but he has to get into his routes first.

Nelson played on the outside almost exclusively the past couple years until Cobb went down and they started moving him inside. Too bad Abbrederis doesn't have the same ability!

Abbrederis is a backup NFL slot WR, who MIGHT become a good #4 WR in a couple years.

Your Badger homerism is clouding your grip on reality! If you don't mind being blind by your Homerism that's your problem.

NFL Grade 5.2.... 5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential

I would agree w/ the NFL. Backup and ST player is his ceiling!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Matt Stein of Bleacher Report wrote an article on May 19 predicting the GB final roster, which I have summarized below. Other than stating here that I find some of his predictions to be unlikely and even bombshells, I won't offer any opinions other than to place in parenthesis the "name" player who isn't projected onto the 53: :

(2) QB: Rodgers, Tolzien (Flynn)
(3) RB: Lacey, Starks, Franklin (Dujuan Harris)
(1) FB: Kuhn
(6) WR: Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Boykin, Abbrederis Janis (Dorsey, Harper, White etc.)
(4) TE: Quarless, Bostick, Rodgers, Lyerla (R. Taylor)
(4) OT: Bulaga, Bakhtiari, Barclay, Sherrod
(3) OG: Sitton, Lang, Lane Taylor
(2) C: Tretter, Linsley (Gerhart)

(4) DE: Daniels, Peppers, D. Jones, Thornton (Worthy)
(2) NT: Raji, Guion (Boyd!)
(4) ILB: Hawk, Brad Jones, Lattimore, Bradford (Barrington)
(5) OLB: CMIII, Perry, Neal, Mulumba, Hubbard (Palmer)
(6) CB: Shields, Tramon, Hayward, House, Goodson, Bush
(4) S: Ha-Ha, Burnett, Hyde, Richardson (Banjo)
(3) ST: Crosby, Masthay, Goode

Evan's picture

I think he nailed the WR/TE group.

Boyd getting cut is the biggest shocker, yeah. No way. They'd keep Boyd over a 5th OLB in a second.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree with you that he nailed the WR/TE group.

I agree that they will keep Boyd over a 5th OLB too... Especially when they have others that could play OLB.
(Peppers, Jones, Bradford - who I think should be listed as an OLB).

RC Packer Fan's picture

A few things I'm thinking on this.

I don't think they will keep 9 OL, I don't think Taylor makes it. Having Barclay as a swing player he could play G or T, and possibly Tretter/Linsley also being able to play G, that would give them the extra player the need to play those positions.

I think they go a little more on DL then the 6. With them doing some elephant end and whatnot I think they go a little more. Boyd makes it IMO. He played really well at the end of the season last year. Also don't rule out Worthy either. This is his first full offseason with the team. He was a 2nd round pick for a reason.

Do they keep 6 CB's when they also have Hyde to play CB? House, Goodson, Bush fighting for 1 or 2 spots?

I still think they keep 4 RB's, and Kuhn at FB. But is Kuhn's job on the line?

Evan's picture

I doubt Kuhn's job is on the line - which I don't like. I recognize all he does, but much like Bush, I feel overall he's taking up a roster space.

I think they keep 5 (including Kuhn), but if one were to be cut, it's most likely Harris.

EDIT: And you're 100% right about the OL.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, I agree.... I don't think his job is on the line, but I do question it a bit.
The thing that can't be underestimated is his knowledge of the offense and how he could take a player like Lyerla under his wing and be a really good mentor for him. That is a big reason why I think they keep him.

I agree with you too that I think they keep 5, but if they don't that Harris would be the least likely to stay.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I pretty much agree with the comments of RC and Evan. I view Boyd as close to a lock, at least probable for the 53. Raji and Guion are both on 1 year contracts, they both can be cut if outplayed, and Boyd flashed and showed enough production to merit a roster spot. Otherwise, it will depend on how many of the 5th, 6th, 7th round picks and UDFA's from this year and last year force their way onto the roster, and which players GB thinks it can successfully stash in the PS (or PUP).

I am high on Sherrod, but he (and Worthy) have to show something. Lane Taylor only makes it if Sherrod or Tretter/Linsley bombs out or by injury. They should keep 4 half backs, but it wouldn't surprise me if they stash 1 of the 4 (probably Franklin or Harris) on the PUP initially. Lattimore, Bradford, Barrington at ILB, and Mulumba, Hubbard and Palmer at OLB, and House, Bush, and Goodson at CB, fight for 2 spots at each position. Stein's article lists 25 players on D and on O, but GB often carries 24 on offense, and 26 on defense. And when that's all said and done, we'll see if some other UDFA flashes, like Pennel, Raiijon Neal, Perkins as a PR/KR, Joe Thomas, or someone else altogether.

Kuhn, Taylor and Bush are core ST players. Taylor is the emergency long snapper as well. My guess is that at least 2, maybe all 3, of them make the team.

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