Cory's Corner: Huge Decision At No. 2 WR

Competition is a great thing.

It’s what drives athletes and it also makes them better.

One of the biggest competitions in Packers training camp is the No. 2 wide receiver job. It will either be sophomore wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Geronimo Allison, who is entering his fourth pro season. 

Valdes-Scantling appeared to have the job after mini-camp because Allison was still nursing his awful thigh injury that ultimately ended his season. 

“I think one guy that has really jumped out, in the spring, was Marquez,” said Aaron Rodgers in an interview with James Jones of NFL Network at the start of training camp. “He’s always timing really fast. Now he’s playing to his time. Marquez is starting to play with more confidence, and that’s pretty good to see.”

But now Allison is playing smooth and looking like the capable receiver he has already shown he could be. Of course, the Packers will say that it doesn’t matter what receiver is technically No. 2, because Aaron Rodgers will just throw darts to whoever is open. But what will ultimately separate him is Allison’s versatility. 

“Him being able to move around right now and be healthy, be himself and just play, being able to have all those things, it's going to be dangerous,” said Davante Adams via Packers.com. 

If Allison cannot beat out Valdes-Scantling in practice, it should and will ultimately mean that Valdes-Scantling will get more of a look in games. Davante Adams is the No. 1 wideout for a reason and it’s also why he had 27 percent of the Packers’ targets last year. 

And because of Adams’ crescendoing greatness, the No. 2 wideout is even more important. Adams will see plenty of double teams and bracket coverage this season, which is why the No. 2 receiver must be able to win his matchup.

But let’s assume that Allison will win the job, which I think will happen. The competition will never stop. Valdes-Scantling will be nipping at his heels and if he has a jaw-dropping game, the drumbeat will only get louder to move him up the depth chart. 

Allison has proven that he can be an NFL wideout. He can make tough grabs, he runs solid routes and he has a good rapport with Rodgers. The only question mark will be his health. Will his injury prevent him from making catches in traffic or extending the ball for a potential first down?

Valdes-Scantling is the shiny upstart with plenty of promise. People got a glimpse of his athleticism in 10 starts last year and I still cannot believe that he lasted until the fifth round of the 2018 draft. He has amazing physical gifts and he has shown that he isn’t going to give up.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur has a tough task in front of him. Does he go with the guy that may have a higher ceiling down the road or does he go with the guy that is better right now?

Both guys have explosive qualities. Both can catch the ball in traffic and clearly both have the trust of their all-pro quarterback. 

Whoever impresses LaFleur more over the next four weeks will determine the pecking order of the passing game and in a larger sense, the direction of the offense. 

That’s why LaFleur cannot get this decision wrong. 

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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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Comments (57)

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EdsLaces's picture

August 07, 2019 at 06:27 am

MVS has 4.3 speed and spent the offseason training with Moss cause he sees his opportunity. Geronimo can play in the slot, but MVS is gonna hold down that outside spot ...book it.

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cheesy_buffalo's picture

August 07, 2019 at 06:30 am

I guess I don't think that the depth chart position matters all that much. Both players should end up seeing the field regularly with Allison in the slot and MVS on the outside. At this point, I'm more interested in who will snag the 6th WR spot and who will be left off the roster. Have to believe that it will be Kumerow and Davis as the guys to round out the bottom of the WR depth chart.

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Coldworld's picture

August 07, 2019 at 06:33 am

Interesting take. I think that one could just as easily argue that EQ or Kumerow, possibly even Moore, Shepherd or Davis will be snapping at Allison’s heels.

To me, Kumerow is the most Allison like. A player who, regardless of supposed ability coming in, is runs great routes, adjusts to the play and just gets it done.

EQ and Moore are younger with more upside and after the catch ability. Davis and Shepherd are smaller, faster and more shifty, but all could play out of the slot.

MVS is a speed merchant with height. Allison is not a direct comparative. Davis is the nearest in speed terms but is much shorter, a disadvantage on the perimeter, possibly Shepherd to some extent too.

We want to stretch the D. MVS gives the deep play option, having the ability to get behind players. Particularly out of bunch formations, one wants that to make the D take the deep field seriously and open space underneath. Were MVS not fit, I would use Davis, Shepherd or EQ from the slot for that before Allison. If I had to go on the outside, I’d probably go Kumerow.

The good news is that there is a ton of competition among roster candidates, I just don’t see Allison v MVS as the most obvious head to head competition.

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Guam's picture

August 07, 2019 at 07:56 am

Agreed. Allison and MVS both make the 53 and see plenty of playing time. The more interesting question is further down the roster at WR. Who are numbers 4 though 6 in the WR group and who doesn't make the 53? Davis, ESB, Kumerow, Moore and Shepard have four pre-season games to figure that out.

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dblbogey's picture

August 07, 2019 at 09:12 pm

Moore gets cut, Shepard is either the #7 receiver or practice squad. I have spoken. Down vote me only if you hate puppies

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Mannix's picture

August 07, 2019 at 09:29 pm

I don't know much of this Shepard people are talking about dblbogey so look forward to seeing him tomorrow night. I saw Moore drop a td pass from Boyle in the Family Night practice last week. The more of I see of Moore the less I have confidence that Rodgers will have confidence in throwing to him and that is the no. 1 factor to any of these wr's making the team. They can get by as a rookie on potential physical talent alone and strike up the mental part to inexperience and youth but year 2 they need to come out swinging and put both the talent and mental part together as one. I hope Moore can do that as I think he's the 2nd or 3rd most physically talented receiver on the roster behind Adams and MVS but Rodgers prefers mental preparation over talent every single time. This is why I am so high on Kumerow. He gets it and also wouldn't you know it, he gets the ball thrown his way.

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GatorJason's picture

August 07, 2019 at 11:31 pm

Darrius Shepherd. He's so darn good that people will eventually learn how to spell his name correctly.

Signed

Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Mannix's picture

August 08, 2019 at 01:09 am

I wouldn't bet on that.

Sincerely,

Brett Farve

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Cubbygold's picture

August 08, 2019 at 05:23 am

Well done

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murf7777's picture

August 08, 2019 at 01:57 pm

I won’t be surprised if kumerow plays as much as any receiver not named Adams.

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stockholder's picture

August 07, 2019 at 06:46 am

I don't think it based on impressing Lefluer. And I don't believe the packers need to find a #2 #3 etc., I believe it's about rotation. WE drafted St.Brown ,MVS, and Moore. To see the improvement of each. They need to be on the field together. All 3 should have the idea of what their suppose to do. And the route running, blocking, separation, and catching the ball will show up immediately. It puts A-Rod on the spot to throw to one. And the best way for them to be judged. By running Adams, Allison, Davis, and Kumerow together. You can see which unit can move the chains. Who's slowing, who's open, crossing etc. If the kids are ready. A-Rod will trust any of them regardless.

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MarkinMadison's picture

August 07, 2019 at 07:11 am

I agree with the notion of Allison in the slot and MVS on the outside. Call whoever you want #2, I think they both see a lot of the field. The interesting question will be who comes off the bench if one of those three goes down or needs a breather? It is really not possible sitting here at home to have a feel for that question. EQ's name is popping up and I thought he did well last year with his chances. Kumerow will fight for time in the slot assuming he makes the team. Sounds like Moore had a pretty good camp up until family night. Tomorrow night will be interesting.

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Dzehren's picture

August 07, 2019 at 07:19 am

MVS, EQ and Moore are Gutey’s guys. Hopefully Allison can play in the slot. At the moment- these guys are all #’3’s & 4’s.
The 2020 draft will be offense early & often that focuses on OL & offensive playmakers.

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Coldworld's picture

August 07, 2019 at 09:23 am

OT certainly, but Guard, Center and WR needs will be determined openly during the season. Which rookies or inexperienced players develop and to what extent and at which positions.

I would also not be surprised to see additional box safeties/3rd ILB candidates as a focus. That’s an area where we probably could improve, particularly if Jones does not ignite.

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 07, 2019 at 02:49 pm

Place a # one or two pick on a WR. Enhance your level of talent.

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Coldworld's picture

August 07, 2019 at 03:55 pm

Why decide now. Figure that out after the season, particularly if you are allocating top picks.

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sbransbottom's picture

August 07, 2019 at 07:25 am

I really hope Davis' injury from LIVE KICKOFF practice during these joint practices doesn't set him back. He's been having a great TC and is definitely big for us on ST, not to mention the competition he brings with the rest of the group. I definitely find it surprising that MLF decided to go with that. Either way, MVS is starting outside and Allison will take the slot. With Adams and MVS being able to stretch the field, it will allow Allison, the TEs and RBs to get into open flats and the middle of the field. The defense isn't going to know where to cover. It may take a few games, but once this offense takes off, I think we will keep opposing defenses on their heels.

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jeepingmakooi's picture

August 07, 2019 at 07:27 am

I believe it's mvs job. .. I also don't think the position on the depth chart means as much as the formation does for which players are going to be on the field. MLF seems to like to tool his offense to what he needs to make it successful

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PatrickGB's picture

August 07, 2019 at 08:14 am

I agree with those who feel that the designation of #2-5 WR means very little in a game. Rodgers will throw to whoever is open and can be trusted to actually catch the ball. And who that is can vary from game to game depending on the scheme and talent that day.

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4zone's picture

August 07, 2019 at 08:25 am

Don't matter. What matters is how good both are playing. Can they pick apart defenses? We have the talent to blow the doors off but will it perform on game day. This team needs a serious attitude adjustment from past years. They need to come in like they have to prove everything. Nobody's giving them anything, they have to go take it.

We will see come Week 1 at Soldier Field what kind of character this team has. I'm certainly hoping we take the Bears out back of the woodshed and send them back to the burbs totally crushed. We'll see. . .

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Leatherhead's picture

August 07, 2019 at 08:28 am

Simple math tells me that is we’re going to run more, throw to the TEs and RBs more.....then the WRs not named Adams aren’t going to get a lot of targets.

Our opponents will need a #2 CB who can match up with a lot of different skill sets.

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dobber's picture

August 07, 2019 at 09:29 am

To build on this, one question will be, "how often will the TE function as the slot?" I know a year ago, common wisdom was that Jimmy Graham was the de facto 3rd WR behind Cobb and Adams. He caught a lot of passes, but MM still stuck pretty stubbornly to his 11 packages. If early indications are correct, we might see a lot more 21 and 12 packages, which means that one of the TEs (or a back split wide) is your 3rd receiver, and perhaps the slot.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 07, 2019 at 10:32 am

Regardless of formations...…..

We threw 640 times last year, and ran 333 times. Teams that ran at least 460 times made the playoffs, and we should be trying to reach that mark. That means we're going to throw fewer passes....maybe a lot close to 500. It's also going to shorten the game since running plays burn more time off the clock than passes do.

That's about 32 passes each game, on average. I'd think you'd want 10 of those to go to your #1 weapon, Davante Adams. You probably want 10-15 to go to your TEs and RBs. That only leaves a limited number of targets for the other WRs.

You can line up in any personnel package you want, but there's only one ball.

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Cubbygold's picture

August 07, 2019 at 03:39 pm

Crazy how just a year ago the excitement was also on how versatile Montgomery was going to be, and how difficult it would be to defend a 2 TE and Montgomery back field. So glad we have MLF and not McCarthy this year.

Between more runs, and more alternative formations, I'm looking forward to far fewer...and more effective...Rodger roll-outs/scramble plays

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Cubbygold's picture

August 07, 2019 at 03:48 pm

.

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Coldworld's picture

August 07, 2019 at 07:36 pm

Would be interesting to see Monty in this offense. Would think he would fit well.

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sbransbottom's picture

August 07, 2019 at 10:37 am

Yes simple math would point to that but don't forget about the defense. If the defense performs, holds teams to 3 and outs, and causes more turn-overs, then that means more time for our offense on the field. Which means more plays and more chances to spread the ball around. I absolutely believe we will run more plays on offense this year than last year easily.

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Cubbygold's picture

August 07, 2019 at 03:48 pm

Looks like the average team last year ran roughly 1,000 offensive plays. GB ranked 9th with 1026. NE ranked 2nd with 1073.

So, the team may run more snaps, but not too many more.

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Coldworld's picture

August 07, 2019 at 06:14 pm

Be nice to be able to run up that number running down the clock with a successful running game to close out victories.

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Lare's picture

August 07, 2019 at 03:16 pm

Coaches are always looking for any advantage they can get. I think a lot will be determined by the opposing defense. If the other team has a shorter CB with average speed you can bet LaFleur will be putting someone like MVS or ESB on him so they can use their height and speed.

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Cubbygold's picture

August 07, 2019 at 03:43 pm

That's what the best coach of all time does every week in NE. One week their power RB is their most effective player, next week it's their small quick RB, the next week Brady's slinging it all over. That kind of unpredictability is exactly what I hope MLF is bringing to GB.

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Packers2020's picture

August 07, 2019 at 08:32 am

Some of you seem to think we will have 6 WR's on the roster. ML uses TE's and RB's more in the passing game. We may be looking at:

Adams
MVS
Allison
Kumerow
St Brown

Davis could be kept for ST's. We will see. Shepherd has also impressed and can return punts and kickoffs. I think Moore is cut unless he proves he has improved a ton. I have not heard great things in TC so far about him.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 07, 2019 at 11:13 am

Agreed that 5 seems about right as a pure WR number, and I wouldn't be surprised to see 3-4 RBs plus Vitale. If the personnel allows it I could see a decent amount of 2/2/1 WR/RB/TE for a no huddle offense, where one or both RBs could potentially line up wide as needed, and really get defenses trying to key in on the underneath stuff to try to break the WRs free on a deep cross and straight out.

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Coldworld's picture

August 07, 2019 at 03:59 pm

They were in 5 wide at one point with the Texans. Even if one of the 5 is Graham, Tonyan or Vitale, still 4 wides. Not going to go into the season with 5 WRs if LaFleur plans on running 4 let alone 5 WR sets. Probably means a minimum of 6, maybe 7. One could be the returner perhaps though.

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PatrickGB's picture

August 07, 2019 at 08:47 am

“Besides injuries play a lot too.” I agree. And Davis is already injured. This year I don’t expect to see the same number of WRs that we kept last year. I see more CBs and RBs. Our backfield includes players who can catch and I expect the team to keep 4 TEs.

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jeepingmakooi's picture

August 07, 2019 at 10:02 am

I don't know if Lewis makes the final roster. His age and the coming on of tonyon it's hard for me to see him with a role in blocking that seemily Vitale can't do. I wonder how much three receiver sets they will have. This offense is predicated off things looking the same and I would think Rodgers and MLF would want more then two options out there to throw too in a league that is based off nickel defenses now.

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sbransbottom's picture

August 07, 2019 at 11:07 am

I'm a Lewis fan but I have to agree with you, as much as I don't want to lol

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dobber's picture

August 07, 2019 at 12:23 pm

"...it's hard for me to see him with a role in blocking that seemily Vitale can't do. "

Danny Vitale is under 230 lbs. He's not going to be an in-line blocker.

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Cubbygold's picture

August 07, 2019 at 03:54 pm

276 vs. 225, slight difference there

Would be nice if Lewis could show off some receiving abilities in preseason, hard to use a roster spot just for his blocking skills and no ST participation.

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Coldworld's picture

August 07, 2019 at 04:07 pm

Lewis can catch, big man with good hands just not fast. If his blocking is still where it was, I hope we keep him if we are serious about running the ball. I also think we may need him to help pass protect in the event of an injury at tackle.

Vitale wasn’t a blocker in college and didn’t excel when asked to do it in the NFL. To me, he is really close to being a TE in terms of skill set.

I am having some difficulty seeing how we justify 4 TEs plus Vitale. Vitale seems a lock barring injury, as do Graham and Tonyan. That only leaves one spot.

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murf7777's picture

August 07, 2019 at 09:58 am

What's good is we don't have to make that decision now. I think that there are five possible WR's who have a chance at #2 position and the next 3-4 weeks will determine that. I know some don't feel Allison is a #2, but keep in mind, he played that position last year, Aaron likes him, he's having a very good camp and he was leading the team in receptions prior to his injury last year. That doesn't happen by accident!

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PeteK's picture

August 07, 2019 at 10:06 am

Enjoying the competition at WR, but am worried about RB injuries. I'll look at the positive, it'll give the rookie Williams a chance.

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Mannix's picture

August 07, 2019 at 11:10 am

While everyone is pointing over there I am going to go in the other direction because I would rather trust my instincts rather than copy off someone else's paper. It's still early in camp, we have a new coaching staff and an entirely new philosophy so we have no idea what LaFleur is thinking. If I go by what I am seeing so far, the biggest rise or ascension and who's just dominating the competition including beating Jaire Alexander has come from Kumerow aka Touchdown Jesus. I honestly think if you ask Rodgers "who do you trust to throw too" he would put Adams and Kumerow as 1 and 2 on that list. I predict that by the end of the season that Kumerow will be Rodgers' no. 2 target. Rodgers loves stats and hates int's especially ones caused by wr's who screw up and make him look bad. Kumerow like Adams has the entire package. I see Kumerow ready to explode this season.

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Cubbygold's picture

August 07, 2019 at 03:59 pm

Pettine is known for getting the most out of guys and using his playcalling abilities to coach them up beyond expectations. Would be awesome if MLF is the same way on offense. The less boring and predictable the offense, the less the team needs to rely on pure athleticism to get open and win battles. If the playcalling can routinely catch defenses off guard, then trust becomes a huge factor relative to athleticism.

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Coldworld's picture

August 07, 2019 at 04:09 pm

Rodgers is pretty keen on Allison too. Has played him up on several occasions over the offseason and been pretty happy with him being in the slot.

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blacke00's picture

August 07, 2019 at 11:05 am

Wouldn't surprise me if Allison got traded. Good player with short contrac in a crowded field. Other than Kumerow all have long contract and are potentially cheaper.
If Allison does well then he'll expect a big contract...can the packers afford him with other players than need to be extended?
When you have similar players at the same for cheaper over the long run....Think about.

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Cubbygold's picture

August 07, 2019 at 04:01 pm

No chance of that, unless its a rebuilding year in Gute's mind. GB's wide receiver group is often cited as a weakness, not a strength. There's potential in this group, but that's all it is right now. They can't afford to be trading away guys with real game experience, even if it is somewhat limited.

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Coldworld's picture

August 07, 2019 at 04:14 pm

EQ could fill Allison’s spot, Kumerow too, perhaps Davis or Shepherd although different body types. It is not out of the bounds of possibility.

The question is, would Allison be attractive. Another GM might prefer EQ’s youth, contract and upside. How would you feel about that?

I’m not so keen to lose him for next year, but if we are considering resigning Allison, then perhaps it makes sense as EQ would then be a third year player without an obvious spot.

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Hawg Hanner's picture

August 07, 2019 at 09:32 pm

How tradeable would Allision be? Sure he gets a lot of interest if waived but he's a Packer all season this year, and he needs to make a good showing to stick in the league

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Qoojo's picture

August 07, 2019 at 12:32 pm

I don't see the #2 WR spot as a big deal at all. There's Adams, then the there's 5-6 other interchangeable WRs that will be filling in the other WR roles, not including TE and RB pass options. Hopefully, 2 or 3 of those other guys will step up competently enough.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 07, 2019 at 01:01 pm

I think the huge decision at WR is going to be around the 6th WR. There doesn't need to be any official #2 WR.

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Oppy's picture

August 07, 2019 at 08:30 pm

I am surprised so many people are more excited by Kumerow than ESB... Kumerow is, after 5 seasons in the league, pretty much a WYSIWYG receiver at this point in his career. I like him, but he's a 5th year player who didn't make a 53 man roster cut until last year. That's not to say he can't be productive, but he's at the point in his career where he's probably not going to get much better.. St. Brown on the other hand is oozing with potential and is just starting to learn the pro game- he's an athletic freak considered to be one of the most intriguing height-speed-agility guys out of the combine in years, he's a grinder, and he's smart.

Kumerow may be a better WR today (and I'm not sure that's even the case), but ESB has the tools to be on a whole different level if things go the right way for him.

I like the long term prospect for ESB.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 07, 2019 at 10:51 pm

Oppy,
Just gave you a thumbs up!

ESB will blow people away. Guy is the real deal. All upside and going to be a great player.

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Coldworld's picture

August 08, 2019 at 07:36 am

I think you could say that of Moore too, though it’s more defined with ESB. Further, ESB has had a good if not spectacular camp from what I am told.

It’s the old nugget: consistency now versus potential tomorrow. The irony is, in my view that we have 2 receivers of a similar nature: Allison and Kumerow.

I would argue that we pretty much know what the ceilings are for these players. Both run great routes, are reliable, have a feel for getting open in broken plays and making tough catches. Neither are Uber athletes by NFL standards, but they get it done.

If ESB had nailed down the 3rd or slot role (or any other receiver) and Allison and Kumerow were depth, I think we would consider them an either or proposition.

Right now, Allison is keeping ESB out of the primary slot role. That won’t help ESB, but it does give Rodgers another Mr Reliable. Unless the gap is large enough, that worries me.

Perhaps the preseason games will change that as ESB gets snaps. If not, perhaps a trade would make sense, if one or the other. Kumerow, Moore, Davis and Shepherd provide back up that covers all route types. Kumerow can go anywhere and the others provide different skills/body types that increase our range of options while bringing upside for the future.

Injuries aside, I can’t help feeling that 2 is company and three a crowd among Allison, ESB and Kumerow. That’s a situation in which a trade becomes a real possibility.

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Adorabelle's picture

August 07, 2019 at 08:58 pm

The comments have gotten it here already so I guess I am just agreeing. I don't see any decision at all. Both will play and performance will show.

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Jack_Vainisi's picture

August 07, 2019 at 10:15 pm

I agree Allison is not a cinch for the roster. I think Kumerow might take his spot because they're functionally similar and they might want to keep a guy with more upside instead of both of them.

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Fastenerpuller's picture

August 08, 2019 at 03:19 am

Allison my not be the flashiest, but he has an intangible (and valuable imho) ability to come up with clutch plays.

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