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Cory's Corner: Davnte Adams could be No. 1 WR

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Cory's Corner: Davnte Adams could be No. 1 WR

A No. 1 receiver is something that every team covets.

The Steelers have Antonio Brown, the Falcons have Julio Jones and the Giants have Odell Beckham.

Two years ago, the Packers realized how much they missed their No. 1 wide receiver when Jordy Nelson was lost for the season with a torn ACL in the preseason. Randall Cobb tried to fill in as that guy since he was next in line, but it became apparent that he’s just a complementary piece.

With Nelson being 32 years old, the Packers have to start thinking about who that next No. 1 might be. And if age isn’t enough of a factor, Nelson is a free agent in 2019. It will be hard to imagine the Packers expecting Nelson to remain the team’s top wideout at the age of 34.

Davante Adams has been ripping up training up. As he enters his fourth year, which happens to be a contract year, he is on the doorstep of blossoming. Last year, Adams had 20 percent of the Packers’ targets, which put him second to Nelson’s 25. Adams was 10th among wide receivers in yards after the catch with 389 — one yard more than the Jones that I mentioned above.

Adams has speed, has worked on his route running but his hands need polishing as he had five drops last year. He isn’t afraid to sacrifice his body to make the catch and has shown an ability to get off the line of scrimmage.

With Nelson transitioning to more of a slot role, which will make Cobb’s job useless, Adams could fill Nelson’s old role of getting down field and stretching defenses.

Adams could be the Packers’ No. 1 wideout. It seems odd because two years ago he looked confused and Green Bay was wondering what they had from their Fresno State product that set career records for receptions and touchdowns in only two seasons.

In the next two years, Green Bay’s receiving corps will look much different. Will upstart Michael Clark have a significant role? Will the Packers land a gem in the next two drafts?

This is Adams’ year to prove two things. First of all, he needs to prove that he deserves a contract. And after what he has shown so far in camp, I think it’s safe to say that he deserves a contract. Secondly he has to prove his role. This is the season that Adams can show that he is in fact a top threat.

And with coach Mike McCarthy opting to use plenty of dual tight end sets, Adams will have plenty of space to operate.

Adams has all the physical tools. Now it’s up to how he prepares and processes.

Because it’s what’s above the neck that separates the No. 1’s.


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (32) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

EdsLaces's picture

Adams is my main target this year when it comes to fantasy packers players forrr surrrre!

Nick Perry's picture

Adams played the entire 2015 season an a bum ankle which must be next to impossible for a NFL WR. He was also only 22 years old, 23 in December that year and he was expected to magically blossom into a Jordy Nelson type player in 2015 and he just wasn't ready. Maybe he didn't work as hard on his craft after his rookie year as he could have, or maybe it was just to much to expect from a kid who was 22 years old from Fresno State. Hell Jordy Nelson didn't even turn into Jordy Nelson until his 4th season!

Last season Adams started to show what he can do on 2 solid ankles. I think he also showed how hard he worked at his craft. Coming into this TC I read a lot of stories how hard he worked again this off season just like the last. I think that shows just how dedicated he is to being a great NFL WR. No offense but WHO would want to go to Nebraska to train and work on your craft. Adams is lighter this season and I'll take any bets he's both Stronger AND Faster.

I wouldn't put it past Adams on being a #1 WR, and a damn good one at that. The main knock on him is his speed after running a 4.56 at the combine. Personally I find it amusing SO MUCH is put into a time where a NFL player is in spandex, bent over in a stance with one hand behind his back and one on the ground. I have yet to see a football player dressed like that on a football field much less starting in a stance like that. The difference between a 4.56 and 4.46 is so minuscule yet people act as though it's the equivalent of a Corvette and Pinto's 1/4 mile times.

IMO Adams is ready to blow up this season. Go ahead and call him names and hold onto his 2015 season. Last season he started to show who he was as a player. This season he'll show even more, like being capable of being a #1.

croatpackfan's picture

Bravo Nick! Same I wrote!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I wouldn't rule out the possibility that Adams could become a #1 WR. Running a 4.56 instead of a 4.46 doesn't preclude one from being a #1 WR. But it makes it harder. It means that the receiver has to do other things better. It means that their shelf live as a #1 is probably shorter than average, because losing a half step makes them a possession receiver, but they can still be a fine possession receiver. The difference between 4.56 and 4.46 isn't the equivalent of a Corvette and Pinto, but is just is not minuscule. The difference athletically between being an NFL player and not being good enough is pretty thin, imo. It helps to have an outstanding trait. If Adams has one, it would be quickness, particularly lateral quickness, which is helping him get off the line now that his strength has improved, and it is why he runs a really good slant. Jordy combines solid athletic ability with a tremendous double move and he runs all of his routes at the same speed, all of his routes look the same until he makes his break.

Oppy's picture

Re: Adams' outstanding trait:

I have once heard commented and once read, from two different sources (both ex-NFL players) , that Adams' body control is unparalleled. I do not recall the details on the article I read, but LeRoy Butler and Gary Ellerson were discussing Adams a number of months ago, and both were floored by his absolute control over his body in the air and along the sidelines.

Apparently, Adams' proprioception is off the charts.

DThomas's picture

Nick: "No offense but WHO would want to go to Nebraska to train and work on your craft."

No offense but WHO would want to go to tiny Green Bay Wisconsin to play football? No offense, just say'n.

Yes Adams was injured in 2015 but IMO he also showed his immaturity. Of course all of us posting here were perfectly focused and mature at the age of 22 or 23. No matter what we think of his 2015 season we can all agree he rehabilitated (both physically and mentally) his young career last season. If he can stay healthy he may fulfill Rodgers' expectations. In the summer of 2015 Rodgers said, "Davante is a very polished player, and he has an excellent demeanor for a guy who’s going to be a star".

dobber's picture

"No offense but WHO would want to go to tiny Green Bay Wisconsin to play football? No offense, just say'n."

Anyone who...
1. constrained by the NFL draft to do so.
2. ...really likes all those 0s that come after the $.

Nick Perry's picture

I knew I'd get a response regarding playing in GB when I made that comment. I was born in the Midwest, Madison to be exact and then moved to a very small town in Wisconsin for the next 7 or 8 years. I LIKE small town USA but that's me.

My thinking there was his QB was in Los Angeles working out why not go to LA? Or there's NFL players working out all over the country, mostly in parts of the country where they have "Big Cities" or sunny beaches. I thought it spoke volumes about Adams and his desire to get better. He could go anywhere he wanted to and he went to Nebraska.

LOL...I was a freaking idiot at 22 or 23. Although you couldn't tell me that because I knew every damn thing.. ; )

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I agree with your post--strongly--except for your notion that a 4.56 is little different from a 4.46. In a game of inches and spacing for your QB, and all other factors being equal, that whole 10th of a second is a massive difference.

That said, Adams is likely running faster today, and he looks like a potential #1. I think we'll see a lot this Saturday at Denver, where I honestly expect our team to be woefully overmatched. If Adams can get some semblance of separation and make a couple plays while Rodgers is under siege, then Adams is the real deal.

croatpackfan's picture

"It seems odd because two years ago he looked confused and Green Bay was wondering what they had from their Fresno State product that set career records for receptions and touchdowns in only two seasons."


You know that Davante Adams was INJURED whole 2015 season, do you?

How good you'll run around with painful and bad ankle. I suppose you do not feel pain. That would be the only explanation for above cited sentence...

ADAMS WAS INJURED - NOT CONFUSED! Remember, he was injured in the extend that Divisional round he did not play. Same was with Cobb, but broken ribs are no excuse for you!

Nick Perry's picture

Nice Croat, we're in total agreement on Adams!

fthisJack's picture

i agree, he was hurt and had a bad year due to the injury . it was obvious from the year before that he had the talent to excel. i was amazed at the number of "fans" that were ready to throw him under the bus and release him the following year. what do you think of him now, naysayers?

egbertsouse's picture

Same as I did 2 years ago, he's a good No. 2 but that's his.ceiling. He makes some big catches but tends to have drops in crucial situations. He also sometimes disappears in big games.

Oppy's picture

Adams has stepped up and played his best games of the season(s) during the playoff stretches... Just sayin'. I don't think it is fair to say he sometimes disappears in big games as though that's a habit.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

He's had nice games in the playoffs as well. 2014: 8/124 in two games; 2015: 4 for 48 in one game; 2016: 16 for 217 in three games (one injured).

My rusty Latin (40 years ago) got proprius, but I had to look up proprioception. Nice word. Jordy has quite a bit of that as well, I think.

Savage57's picture

I hope Adams does well. He's the slipperiest WR the Packers have had since Greg Jennings.

But with regard to the 2015 apologists, I'm not sure how a bum ankle ties to having stone hands.

Nick Perry's picture

Remember when Rodgers made the comment about players playing video games instead of being in their playbooks or practicing on their craft? IIRC that was a jab at Adams. I think Adams learned in 2015 he had to actually WORK at being great, he wasn't at Fresno State anymore. He DID have "hands of stone" in 2015 but the work he put in showed last season. I think not having a WR coach in 2015 didn't help either. Matter of fact that was one of McCarthy's worst decisions ever and he even admitted in after the season it was a mistake.

dobber's picture

He improved in 2016: he got stronger and was able to get his release off the line even though he's not the quickest or fastest guy around. If you read his draft review (which are sometimes dubious, I know), they point to his strength as an issue.

His drop rate last season was consistent with some other high-end WR like Damaryious Thomas (and several others who escape me at the moment), but still higher than most of us would like. It's like when your car starts to have issues: even when it's fixed, you're hypersensitive to every knock or shimmy from that point forward.

Bearmeat's picture

Is Adams as big and strong as Dez or B Marsh? Cause that's kind of his game. It's certainly not speed. That's really the only way he could become a true #1 WR.

He's a very good 2 right now, and I think that just might be his ceiling. Although they're completely different players, I kind of think the same thing about Cobb - and look how much we love that deal as fans.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Because Nelson is an elite slot receiver by DVOA, top 5. Since he is still an extremely good boundary receiver (7th DVOA IIRC), he'll be outside for now until the replacement out wide isn't such a steep drop off.

Handsback's picture

Just a couple of observations....Adams was hurt in 2015 and I doubt you ever see that kind of performance from him again. (that's unless he gets hurt again) How many people remember when the Packer's won their last SB, that the Steelers had a rookie WR on their team that made no impact on the game? His name was Brown, Now he's considered the number 1 WR in the league. It takes time, and with the Packer's offense, it takes even longer for WRs to understand and grow into their position. So I consider the possibility of Adams growing into a #1 wideout as something that can happen. His work ethic seems to be great and he has enough tools to make it happen.

Spock's picture

Adams is definitely going about this year as a pro. I've been hearing how he has been mentoring Kevin King after practice (often!). With the two of them practicing against each other and Adams giving King tips on how to work against how receivers get off the press coverage and what to do to counter. Great to hear about!
Edit: great article hear on Kevin King (including the Adams practices).

Interesting fact, in college the coach would sometimes have the WR's and CB's switch roles and no one could cover King!

Spock's picture

edit: "great article HERE". Wouldn't let me edit the original comment because of the link.

Ferrari Driver's picture

I think Adams has what it takes to be a nice number 2 receiver. Number one receivers are guys like Jones, Beckim

I think the ceiling of Adams is as a good number 2 receiver which isn't bad by any means.

The number ones in the league which keep defensive coordinators at night are a different breed with speed, confidence, and they just have the "IT". Imagine what a Jones, Beckham, or Brown would do on the outside with Rodgers chucking the ball to them.

I really like Jordy, everything about him in fact, both on and off the field. However, as good as he is, I believe he is around an average number one receiver in the league with the best quarterback in the league making throws which optimize Jordy's ability.

Look around the league at the great number one receivers and you find that with few exceptions, they are found in the first round of the draft. I believe our next number one receiver will have to be a priority which comes in the first round of a future draft.

stockholder's picture

I think your over thinking Adams. Yes the guy looks like Tarzan on the practice Field. But that has never been his problem. It's Game Day Baby! It's the money you want to give him! He's soft and it's easy to get in his head. Yes he wants to do well. But this is the season we need to see it. Tough? He hasn't shown the fearless catching over the middle. We use to judge players on banging heads with their opponent. Now we turn draft picks into prize show babies. Adams has shown he can run after the Catch. Adams has shown his Route running is better. He's not stopping and giving up on the route. But the sure hands are what you want in a #1 WR. We hear every camp which people are catching everything. Adams has to show the public on GAME DAY he can!

dobber's picture

"We use to judge players on banging heads with their opponent. Now we turn draft picks into prize show babies."

We useD to have an NFL that allowed players to earn their keep through physicality. We used to have an NFL with a salary structure kept in check due to a lack of player mobility and competition. Now, teams are looking more and more to make things happen with players on cheap rookie contracts. Draft picks have to find ways to produce early. The draft is the golden goose, and players that produce at a high level early in their careers are the golden eggs.

"But the sure hands are what you want in a #1 WR. We hear every camp which people are catching everything. Adams has to show the public on GAME DAY he can!"

Look at the numbers. His drop rate of 4.1% was better than or equal to several "#1 WR": Demaryious Thomas, Brandon Marshall, Michael Crabtree, AJ Green, Mike Evans, etc. His catch rate (which can be skewed by many factors) was only a notch below Jordy Nelson.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed on all points. Lots of #1 WRs haven't had the best hands.

sonomaca's picture

Don't think he'll ever be a true #1. Doesn't have the physical gifts.

However, with AR he doesn't really need to be Dez or Julio. Above all, the Pack need 3 or 4 good receivers and a good TE. AR will find the open man.

Since '61's picture

Adams may evolve into the Packers #1 receiver. Either because he earns it or because he wins it by default due to Jordy's age and eventually diminishing skills. But in terms of managing expectations Adams will never have the physical talent which A. Brown, J. Jones and OBJ bring to the position. He is just not as fast as those players and his hands aren't as good. All of that is fine as long as Adams is effective as a WR with AR throwing the passes. I just wouldn't expect him to be in the same class with the league's premier receivers. I expect him to be very good but not great. Thanks, Since '61

Oppy's picture

I personally love hearing everyone's thoughts on what's "required" to be a #1 WR.

Here's my list, and I consider it to be comprehensive:


I don't care if you are fast, run great routes, have sure hands, "show up" in big games, strong, quick... whatever. If you produce at a high level, it doesn't matter HOW you get it done, just that you gain yardage and command coverage. That's it.

flackcatcher's picture

Interesting. Nelson has entered Steve Smith territory. He's so physical and strong he can overpower any DB matched up against him. Adams at this point is vastly underrated, he is a lot quicker than he looks coming off the line. Very smooth in his breaks, extremely deceptive speed, watch his breaks, very Nelson like in execution now. We forget that football is played in 5 yard spurts. Who gains or closes with the 5 yards wins their match-up, and tilts the field for a gain. Adams does this more often than not now.

EJ's picture

I'm not a fan. I don't even think he's a 2. Below average athlete. Aaron Rodgers is the only reason he's done anything.

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