Packers Not Settled At Receiver

The Green Bay Packers currently have eight wide receivers on their roster.  Take Jamel Johnson and Ed Williams out of the mix and they have six guys who could easily be on the final roster and who have all seen game action for the team over the last two years.  Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis would all be reasonable keeps for the Packers as of today and barring any health issues.

Furthermore, keeping six receivers is a luxury and not always a given.  Given the health situation of the Packers receivers over the last few seasons, they understandably and likely prefer to stack the position with additional options.  Last year, Nelson was lost to a season-ending injury and it appeared as though Janis and Abbrederis would see an increased role on the offense.  When Janis failed to show enough to the coaching staff and Abbrederis had yet another injury setback of his own (concussion), the Packers suddenly found themselves shorthanded.  They brought James Jones back and he proved to be a true savior with his production.  As of right now, Jones won't be back and has been told by the Packers that he's not in their plans for 2016.

Cobb struggled to put up the type of numbers that the team hoped he would after the loss of Nelson.  Adams failed to take the type of leap many hoped he would from his rookie season to year two.  Montgomery appeared to be on a path to become a regular contributor when a major ankle injury ended his rookie season.  Abbrederis finally saw game action but wasn't able to make much of an impact.  Due to reported trust issues between Janis and Aaron Rodgers and Janis's lack of ability to run the correct routes, he couldn't get on the field outside of his usual special teams contributions.  At the end of the season and during the playoffs, the Packers had to force feed Janis and Abbrederis when Adams and Cobb both went down and were unavailable.  While we must remember that Janis and Abbrederis both had Rodgers throwing them the ball, the young wide outs were able to keep the Packers in a close game, on the road and against one of the best defenses in the league.

Despite that admirable performance in a big game, the Packers don't appear to be quite sold on the set of receivers that they're carrying forward to this new season.  Two of the team's official pre-draft visits have been with receivers (Devin Fuller and Mitch Matthews).  With nine total picks in this draft, the Packers won't surprise anyone by adding another pass catcher.  Then again, not many of Green Bay's picks surprise anyone much anymore.  They could also add another quarterback or two for all we know.

It would appear that general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy at least want another opinion and look at some fresh faces before they determine the final slate of guys who will be hauling in passes from Rodgers.  That idea is frustrating to those who saw what Janis (aka the people's champ) could do and just want to see him used more and get more of a chance in the offense.  If he was able to come down with one of the most improbable balls of the season against one of the best cornerbacks in the league (Patrick Peterson), it stands to reason that he can create more magic if merely given the chance.  Some also saw some nice flashes from Abbrederis and hope to see him get a full and healthy preseason to prove whether or not he belongs on the roster.  Rodgers has openly complimented Abby and that's a pretty big vote to bring into camp with him.

Whether the Packers will bring in another receiver is unknown but imagine if they're on the clock with the 27th pick in round one and, say, TCU's Josh Doctson is sitting there.  As many needs as the team has on defense, it might be tough to pass on that proposition.  We know Thompson has a pretty good track record with his receiver picks over the years (the jury is still out on Adams) and he may opt to be on himself and wait until the middle rounds to find a hidden gem.  Either way, expect more names to get added to the list of those vying for a spot when training camp opens this summer.

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (30)

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NickPerry's picture

April 09, 2016 at 08:32 am

I don't see how the "Big 3" (Treadwell, Doctson, and Coleman) get to the Packers at 27, not with teams like the Rams, Lions, Bengals, and Viqueens having a pretty big need at the position. That and I can't see TT ignoring the giant hole in the middle of his defense. I see OL, DL, TE, ILB, and OLB with the Packers first 6 picks. Maybe in the 5th round if someone slipped and the value was to good to pass up, but even then you could call RB a bigger position of need.

The Packers having a WR Coach this season isn''t brought up nearly as much as it should be. Adams regressed and so did Cobb really. Even the best need good coaching and McCarthys stunt last year to combine the the WR/QB coaching duties was a disaster IMO. Hey he tried and it failed and he was quick to both fix & admit it. Both Nelson and Cobb endorsed Getsky which speaks volumes to me.

All in all I think they have a nice combination with the addition of Cook. Could they use a guy like Doctson? Sure, but with the addition of Cook, Nelsons & Montys return, and Abby, Adams, and Janis all a year wiser I have a good feeling about the group we have in place.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 08, 2016 at 06:30 am

"I can't see TT ignoring the giant hole in the middle of his defense. "

Why not? He has for years now.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 08, 2016 at 08:05 am

I don't think TT will be able to ignore the talent available at the DL position. He might for one round, but not thereafter.

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NickPerry's picture

April 08, 2016 at 04:30 pm

I don't think so either. I also think he might just hit on a first round D-Lineman this year too with all that's available.

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lucky953's picture

April 08, 2016 at 07:02 am

How long would it take, even for a talented prospect, to develop into a real #1? Two seasons perhaps. How much longer will Nelson be an elite receiver? Two seasons perhaps. Is his replacement on the roster now? Probably not. If Doctson fell to 27 (he won't), they'd take him in a heartbeat. This position is a real difference-maker for the offense. I'm a little worried about the state of the receiving corps not only this year, but two years from now. The draft team also has to be looking ahead, unless they're going to pony up BIG money for a FA (probably not). Without real threats to throw to, Rogers talent is wasted.

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Razer's picture

April 08, 2016 at 07:14 am

Good point about stocking for the future. While we have numbers, do we have the talent to advance our WR corps. We have a lot of guys who are not bad, but do they have the potential to be our future. If they don't, then we can't afford to allocate a spot and keep someone else out.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 08, 2016 at 08:33 am

Hmmm... Who guarantee that Josh Doctson will be elite WR in the NFL tomorrow? I think lot of us forget what Ted Thompson answered to one question prior last year draft. The question was asked by reporter from JSO, I think, and it was about dafting team needs. Ted wisely answered that he can not say at the moment what is team largest needs. Very quickly we learned how right Ted was with that answer. I remember how many on this very web page was disappointed if not angry with Ted picking WR in the 3rd round whiloe we needed ILB as only position that prevents Packers of winning SB. Suddenly, the greatest needs for Packers was WR position! Wow.
So, I think that it is little unfair to young players that comes to the NFL to expect from them to blossom in their first season (but they might!) as it is unfair not to give them enough time to learn properly their position (that is why rookie contracts lasts 4 years!). Todays "bust" might be tomorrows elite!
And that is my opinion...
Jasone, very good overview and I agree with your conclusion! I expect Packers to draft WR in 5th round - WR Moritz Boehringer... Or maybe in round 6th. Hard to say!

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 08, 2016 at 07:29 am

I'm not worried about the WR position at all. Getting Nelson back will cure a lot of our problems on offense last year. Also getting back a healthy Cobb, Adams, and Montgomery will go a long ways.
Add in the development of Abbrederis and Janis and this WR core could be downright scary for defenses.

The key is for them to stay healthy.

I can see them Adding a WR in the draft. Thompson has drafted a WR in 8 of his 11 drafts as the Packers GM's. It wouldn't surprise me if he drafted one. It would surprise me though if he drafted one high in the draft.

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Bearmeat's picture

April 08, 2016 at 07:42 am

Last year was a case of "everything that can go wrong will go wrong" on offense.

There are 2 deep threats at WR - Jordy and Jeff. They'll be perfectly fine at outside WR. I also fully expect Cobb to bounce back, Monty, Jeff and Jared to grow and even Davante to display his promise consistently. Throw in RRod and Jared Cook and Eddie not being Phat and you've got a recipe for a top 3 offense that scores its customary 550 plus next year. Long story short, I wouldn't mind a HWS WR prospect, but it'd better not be in the first 4 rounds.

I'm FAR more concerned about the defense. If the front 7 isn't shored up, it's going to get ugly really fast.

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Razer's picture

April 08, 2016 at 08:20 am

... I'm FAR more concerned about the defense. If the front 7 isn't shored up, it's going to get ugly really fast...

I too am a trenches guy and echo your concern. Control the LOS on both sides and anything is possible. At this point, WR may be the least needy position on the team.

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Rossonero's picture

April 08, 2016 at 08:34 am

I could see Ted taking Tyler Boyd from Pittsburgh, if hes available in the 2nd round. No way is a 1st round talent WR available and the defensive needs far outweigh any WR need in the 1st round.

Boyd is not a burner (4.58 40 time), but look at Jarvis Landry: he ran a 4.77 40 and was taken in the 2nd round in 2014. He has nearly 200 catches and almost 2,000 receiving yards in 2 years.

Boyd, like Landry, flat out knows how to get open and catch the football. Neither one of these guys are red zone targets, but who cares? If hes there in the 2nd round, take him.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 08, 2016 at 09:23 am

I could see that.

Boyd seems like the type of WR the Packers like to take.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 08, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Oh my...

I just finished watching his film against '15 Iowa. I love it.

One thing thing that really stood out -- well, two things...

1) He's comfortable and effective playing in every receiver position

2) He's a go-to guy when the chains needs to be moved.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 08, 2016 at 09:25 am

D'Brickshaw Ferguson, OT for the Jets, has decided to retire. Jets, picking 20th, had been mocked as taking an NT to replace Damon Harrison, or sometimes an OLB. Look for them to consider a LT now.

Probably only affects GB in making another option at DL or OLB available at #27, [edit] and possibly taking an OT off the board. I suppose NYJ might be more open to trading back for an OT to make need meet value better (I don't think Conklin or Decker are great value at #20, but I see them mocked that high).

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 08, 2016 at 09:20 am

I fully expect the Jets to be going OT now. I would be surprised if they didn't now.

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Rossonero's picture

April 08, 2016 at 07:46 pm

I hope so. I could see them taking Reggie Ragland, but am hoping he falls to the Packers.

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holmesmd's picture

April 08, 2016 at 09:04 am

Does anyone know what round this German kid is projected to get drafted? UDFA at this point? Metrics are impressive but the level of competition he abused is a concern. You can't catch bubble screens all game and just think NFL defenders will stand there and wait for you to run by them! Lol. Someone needs to teach defensive strategy to those poor guys on MB's highlight tape.;) They looked like cones on an obstacle course! :p

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 08, 2016 at 09:19 am

In the tape I watched of him he was very impressive. Just how much more athletic and faster he was then everyone else. But how good is everyone else?
I saw him run I think 3 or 4 patterns? The bubble screen was his biggest one. Then I saw him run a post, and a go pattern.

If he were to get drafted, I don't see it happening before the 7th round. He is way to raw to go higher then that. And yes his level of competition would be the biggest concern.

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dobber's picture

April 08, 2016 at 10:08 am

I could see him going later in the 6th to a team that feels like they need to jump the shark on the 7th round fliers. He has great measurables, but he's more raw than Janis. That doesn't mean he won't "coach up" faster, though.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 08, 2016 at 10:38 am

Yeah, in that case, its definitely possible. When you see teams drafting punters in the 3rd round.
Also, Rollins only played 1 year of college football and was taken in the 2nd round. anything is possible..

He is a lot more raw then Janis, and Janis was a 7th rounder. But to be fair the year Janis came into the league, that was arguably the deepest group of WR's to come out in a long time. So it did push his stock down some.

I would assume he would be coachable. But how big of a project will he be? Just the level of competition is what really is more of a red flag then anything.

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Tundraboy's picture

April 08, 2016 at 09:53 am

All depends on who slips, but I could see TT using one of the 4th round picks on a WR.

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Evan's picture

April 08, 2016 at 11:01 am

True.

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Tundraboy's picture

April 08, 2016 at 01:46 pm

Agree. Competent is not a word I would've ever imagined being part of any discussion of this offense. Has to be much more than that or we are in big trouble.

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barutanseijin's picture

April 10, 2016 at 08:30 am

A very astute observation

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tm_inter's picture

April 08, 2016 at 10:50 am

I have no prior expectations of TT at the draft. I think he will stick to his BPA principle for making his picks.

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Bearmeat's picture

April 08, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Jordy in 08. Harrell in 07. Randall last year.

But mostly you've been right.

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Evan's picture

April 08, 2016 at 12:45 pm

After losing Tramon and House, I'd say Randall was a definite need.

Jordy was a need for the future - and a 2nd round pick -- looking to replace Driver/Jennings.

TT used to do that a lot - take players thinking 1-2 years down the road.

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barutanseijin's picture

April 10, 2016 at 08:30 am

Nelson wasn't a first round pick.

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Christopher Gennaro's picture

April 08, 2016 at 07:16 pm

I understand the need to pick for the future, but for me wr is not one of them. i understand a.r has a window and the packers need to maximise it. when people say look to the future at wr, we can all look to ilb and te and ask the same question. never question tt and his wr picks he knows his wrs, but right now for me to maximise a.r window its all above the trenches, and with the draft this year he needs to beef it up.

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Christopher Gennaro's picture

April 08, 2016 at 07:28 pm

oh also im bias and not a gm, but ill willing to gamble that this year, we have the horses at wideout to compete with most of the nfl, can we get help sure but its not a priority.

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