What can we Expect from Devin Funchess this Summer?

What can the Green Bay Packers expect from wide receiver Devin Funchess this summer? I'm not really sure any knows at this point.

Instead of burying the lead and saving my answer to the question of “what can we expect from Devin Funchess this season” for the end, I’ll just tell you right now that I have no idea. In fact, I don’t think anyone really does, even those inside 1265 Lombardi Avenue. And that’s what makes Funchess such an intriguing player to watch this summer as training camp unfolds.

Funchess is a former second-round pick out of Michigan in 2015 by the Carolina Panthers. Over his first two seasons, he appeared in 31 out of 32 games with 12 starts and caught 45 percent of his 121 targets at 13.6 yards per catch and with nine touchdowns.

His breakout year then came in 2017 where he hauled in 57 percent of his 111 targets for 840 yards and eight touchdowns. Those types of seasons don’t happen by accident; Funchess was playing quite well. The following year his production would dip, but he still tallied 549 yards and four touchdowns.

Standing 6’4” and weighing 225 pounds, Funchess is that big-bodied receiver that the Green Bay Packers typically covet. He doesn’t have blazing speed by any means like Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and he isn’t going to gain separation that way. Funchess also isn’t going to pick up large amounts of YAC either.

But what he does do is he uses that big frame of his well to help create space between himself and the defender. On top of that, he’s a much more refined route runner than what many would assume. Last offseason, when the Packers signed Funchess, Andy Herman of Packer Report rewatched several of his games from 2018 and had this big takeaway:

“What stood out most to me was that Funchess was a much better route runner than I gave him credit for. He’s not exactly Davante Adams with his releases or Jerry Rice with his route running, but he’s good at both. From a pure route-running standpoint, he would have been the Packers’ second-best wide receiver in 2019.”

While most of his snaps have come on the boundary, about 20 percent of his career snaps have come in the slot. This ability to move around the formation will suit him well in the Matt LaFleur offense, and as Andy also mentions, lining Funchess up in the slot gives the Packers a receiving threat similar to that of a tight end—thus creating an additional mismatch.

There is also the enticing prospect of what Funchess can add in the red zone. This Green Bay Packers’ offense was already the league’s most efficient red zone team in 2020, but out of the slot or in jump-ball scenarios, Funchess and Aaron Rodgers could form quite the one-two punch inside the 20-yard line.

One major area that Funchess has to improve in, however, is his reliability as a pass-catcher. In three of his first four seasons from 2015 to 2018, he had at least six dropped passes and ranked top-5 among eligible receivers in drop percentage in two of those seasons while finishing 14th in the other. As we all know, that unreliability won’t fly with Rodgers.

Now, with all of that said, as I’m sure you noticed or were already aware of, I haven’t mentioned anything that Funchess did on the football field beyond 2018—and that’s where the mystery lies.

Funchess would sign a one-year deal with Indianapolis for the 2019 season but would break his collar bone Week 1 and miss the remainder of the season. Then in 2020, with Green Bay, he would opt-out.

So when Week 1 of this season rolls around, it will have been about two years since Funchess has played in a regular-season game and three years since he’s played a full season. The hope, of course, is that Funchess can regain some of that old form, but obviously there is no guarantee of that happening either.

Add in the fact that this is a fairly congested wide receiver room with four spots on the depth chart already accounted for — Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Amari Rodgers — and Funchess will be entering training camp battling for a roster spot.

In a vacuum, Funchess is absolutely the more talented receiver option over Equanimeous St. Brown, Malik Taylor, Reggie Begelton, and the others that he will be battling with. And at only 27 years old, he should be entering his prime years.

With that said, we don’t know how quickly he will be able to shake that rust off, how he will adapt and fit in with the LaFleur offense, or how we will gel with Rodgers.

If Funchess proves that he is head and shoulders above his aforementioned competition, then it’s an easy decision for LaFleur and Co.—you absolutely keep him on the roster and for all the noise out there about Rodgers not having enough weapons, this looks like a pretty stout wide receiver group.

On the flip side, if Funchess struggles, or even if he’s close in completion with St. Brown, for example, the Packers should choose St. Brown’s upside and the cap savings that come with moving on from Funchess.

At this point in his career, we know who Funchess is as a player and what to expect. In this scenario, I’d much rather see Green Bay take a chance on St. Brown—especially when we are talking about back-end roster spots. If this was for the WR2 or WR3 roles, then sure, take the stability, but when discussing WR5 or WR6, go with the upside every time.

Funchess took a small pay cut this offseason as part of Green Bay’s effort to get under the shrunken salary cap and if the Packers do move on from him after June 1st, they’ll save $1.21 million in what will still provide some much-needed cap relief. Prior to the draft, GM Brian Gutekunst mentioned that the Packers will have to address “many contracts” in the coming months and that “we’re not done yet by any means.”

While the savings from moving on from Funchess is far from enormous, for the Green Bay Packers this is one of those situations where every little bit helps.

Every year at training camp there are always a number of players to keep your eyes on, and this year near the top of that list is Devin Funchess. He could end up playing a big role, or he could end up being cut. And really anywhere in between.

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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4 points

Comments (56)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
NickPerry's picture

May 28, 2021 at 06:14 am

What do the Packers have in Funchess??

I think he better show up first to get an idea. One thing is certain at least IMO. He's not too smart. I mean if I was a WR who hasn't played a down in the NFL since week one of 2019, AND had a history of bad drops, I'd have my ass in EVERY mandatory AND voluntary activity my new team who signed me has.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:12 am

Nick,
Amen!

In theory, Funchess should already be on Guteys shit list for having sat out 2020, and then he sits out OTA's. Why? Because Funchess was the extra weapon brought in for Rodger's last year. Without Funchess last year it helped Rodger's and the talking heads to perpetuate the idea Gutey wouldn't bring in weapons for Rodger's.

Oh yea! Funchess...I'd be concerned...very concerned!

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GregC's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:17 am

His decision to sit out the OTAs is questionable for sure, but he may have good reason for doing so. Aaron Rodgers is making a power play right now, and if Funchess was the only veteran receiver to show up for OTAs, he would almost certainly be in the doghouse with Rodgers and would not have a lot of passes thrown his way in practice, assuming that Rodgers actually returns to the team. I think Funchess is in a tough situation, and I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, at least for now.

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mrtundra's picture

May 28, 2021 at 08:00 am

Funchess should be in OTAs. He needs to learn the schemes. Sitting out, last season, and now not showing up for OTAs cannot sit well with the coaching staff.

8 points
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Yooper56's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:37 pm

That is a really good point GregC. I am not sure how I didn't see that right off. Nobody wants to be in Rodgers' doghouse so that could very well be why none of them showed up for voluntary activities. And we all know Rodgers is keeping track of everything.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 28, 2021 at 09:07 am

Are unions that dead? The NFLPA urged players not to participate in voluntary OTAs.

I agree with the comment below that the WRs are in a tight spot between AR and management. Ultimately, the QB decides where the ball goes.

It is a sad day if the accountant decides who the 5th WR is. In the case of ties, yes, but it should not be dispositive. While WR5 is down the line, IDK that Funchess won't prove to be WR 2/3 (or WR 7 for that matter).

3 points
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fastmoving's picture

May 29, 2021 at 05:13 am

Yeah, but as you never played any down anywhere, is maybe because Funchess worked harder his whole life to get in the NFL. Im pretty sure he is probably better in most things in life than you and smarts its one of them for sure.
Of course he has a history of great catches, not bad droped and thats why the Packers give him a contract. Can you see the differnce to you. So its easy to see who is good in al lot of things in life and who is just watching others do something......

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ImaPayne's picture

June 02, 2021 at 02:55 pm

He majored in bad drops at Mich. Shocked he went so high. He played on a big ten team that was on tv a lot so his name got mentioned a lot but he wasnt very good.
Once in a while he could make a play but he is not the answer probably wont make the team

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HankScorpio's picture

May 28, 2021 at 06:45 am

I think we can expect to see him in TC but not once the regular season hits. I think the Packers keep 5 WRs. The top 4 are virtual locks to be Adams, Amari, MVS and Lazard. After that, it will be a calculation of cap vs potential vs production to produce the final name. I don't see Funchess being the answer once that calculation is made.

To a lesser degree, ESB is in that same boat. Both currently reside in the top 51 cap numbers on the team. My money is on the 5th WR being outside the top 51. I don't have the faintest clue which one. But I feel good saying it will be one of them. It is quite generous of Funchess and ESB to let their competition showcase their ability while they remain out of sight and out of mind. But not a real wise career decision, IMO.

15 points
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Guam's picture

May 28, 2021 at 08:46 am

I liked the Fuchess signing when it happened, but I am rapidly coming around to your viewpoint HankScorpio. Funchess has not helped his position with the organization by opting out of last year entirely and then skipping OTA's this year. His contract also puts a target on him given the Packer's need for additional cap savings.

Funchess will need to clearly outplay the other WR candidates or he is gone. He has the ability to do that, but joining a new team, a new scheme and a new to him QB (whether Rodgers or Love) makes the road more difficult. And if one of the other WR candidates really steps up, maybe nothing he does will save him.

4 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 28, 2021 at 08:53 am

Didn't Funchess have a close relative (child?) with a serious auto-immunity issue. Opting out in such a case is laudable: life over money.

9 points
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greengold's picture

May 28, 2021 at 09:36 am

TGR, this is such a great point. What I see here is a remarkable number of people making assumptions about Devin Funchess based on news reports, however erroneous they may be (Funchess has not been contacted for comment), and drawing their own conclusions - nearly all of them negative.

These players for the Packers are people too.

I just saw what the guy is having to endure on his Twitter feed, and it is appalling the manner in which "fans" are treating him. He's been posting images of himself diligently working out, in Packers gear, in Hawaii, and the guy is getting pounded. Endlessly. Is that how this is supposed to work? No.

I think it might be best for people to take a step back, show some grace, and let this stuff play out. We'll learn more when the time is right.

We're not even close to TC. None of these OTAs are mandatory. Show some common courtesy & respect for another human being with a family.

Don't be dissing on people without knowing the whole story.

9 points
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murf7777's picture

May 28, 2021 at 02:54 pm

Two thumbs up!

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Guam's picture

May 28, 2021 at 03:13 pm

Maybe I am just being a curmudgeonly old former employer, but lack of availability (we used to call it absenteeism) is a major issue with employers. If employees want to choose other priorities than work, that is their business, but they shouldn't be surprised when they are relieved of their responsibilities and replaced because they weren't attending to their jobs.

There are two sides to Funchess not reporting last year - his personal story and the Packer story without a guy they were counting on. Both are real and legitimate. I suspect Funchess is rightly wearing out his welcome with Packer management and has little if any leeway left for future decisions that ignore his work.

The NFL is well known for having little patience with either lack of talent or lack of availability. Funchess is a proven NFL grade WR. But he may lose his NFL opportunity if he continues to ignore his work responsibilities. It is his choice to choose family only, but most of us try to find a balance.

3 points
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PeteK's picture

May 28, 2021 at 10:09 am

I would hope by now that they are vaccinated, especially because of their issues.

1 points
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greengold's picture

May 28, 2021 at 10:15 am

I'm not even going to speculate on any of that. Those are personal details. All I know is we don't know the whole story with any of these players.

It wouldn't hurt to show some kindness, some respect for these players who have families, and do this work, play this great game we all love, as a means to provide for their loved ones.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 28, 2021 at 11:08 am

Do you know what the implications of vaccines can be in the immunocompromised? That might give you pause if you did.

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Guam's picture

May 28, 2021 at 11:06 am

With all respect TGR, at some point Funchess also has to resume earning a living. If he has a child with a serious auto immune issue (my daughter does and can't be vaccinated due to this issue), he will need income and resources to provide for this child.

I don't mind his opting out of last year amid all of the uncertainty, but he needed to be at the OTAs this year to start to establish his career with the Packers. He should be fully vaccinated by now as should the rest of his family save the immuno-compromised child. He needs to provide for his family and that starts with his contract with the Packers. His work with the Packers need provide no more exposure for his child than he or his wife going grocery shopping if he is careful.

The NFL is a cold blooded business and I believe Funchess has compromised his chances with the Packers. And other NFL tams will notice this pattern too. I hate to see him commit career suicide when he has the chance to set his family up for life with a few more years in the league.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 28, 2021 at 11:10 am

All of this is fair, I just wonder if the balance isn’t such that we should keep an open mind till mandatory activity in his (or similar) cases.

2 points
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Guam's picture

May 28, 2021 at 05:12 pm

Fair point regarding the fan's opinions, but the another issue is how the Packer FO feels about all of this. Between his lack of availability, his contract vis a vis the salary cap and now possibly getting tangled up the in the Rodgers mess, I wonder how open minded the Packer FO will be.

I will be surprised if Funchess has much more leeway left in Green Bay. The NFL is a ruthless place to work. If you can't help the team, whether through talent concerns or availability issues, you are soon gone.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 28, 2021 at 06:24 pm

In part that may depend on what they have discussed and agreed when he agreed his pay cut. One would think the topic came up from both sides. It should have.

1 points
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Guam's picture

May 28, 2021 at 10:26 pm

I hope you are right. I would like to see Funchess succeed in Green Bay, both for his sake and for the Packers'.

1 points
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HankScorpio's picture

May 28, 2021 at 02:26 pm

Life over money last year. But not this year.

I mean, he's under no obligation to not retire. He can walk away fully any time he chooses. No grudges by me. But if he's going to play, he needs to play.

3 points
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Guam's picture

May 29, 2021 at 07:37 am

He can walk away if he chooses HS, but I suspect the Packers will want his signing bonus ($1M??) back if he never plays a down for the team.

1 points
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Minniman's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:29 pm

Guam, it may be a tad early to be making a call like this, but I can't help but sense a bit of the Martellus Bennett's here - a guy who is more likely than not, done in the NFL, keeping the $$$ coming in whilst ever he can find a team willing to pay him.

It's either this, or he's been training the house down this past 18 months and he's confident that he will make it .....

Between the WR's, TE's and pass-catching RB sets that MLF employs, I'm not seeing him getting targets.

........the microscope on him once he does turn up is going to be more intense than an ant under a magnifying glass held by a child.

2 points
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Guam's picture

May 29, 2021 at 07:43 am

You may be right Minniman, but for Funchess's sake I hope he is not another Bennett. What little I have read about him indicates he is a decent guy. Nonetheless, his choices have put him in a difficult situation and you are correct - he is going to have to perform at a high level to make the roster.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

May 28, 2021 at 06:45 am

Funchess was Gutes answer before the draft. But Why help Rodgers?. So a year later we drafted Amari Rodgers. I get it. Don't you.

-3 points
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fastmoving's picture

May 29, 2021 at 05:21 am

There is no QB in NFL who has more help den AR, even he is 20 % of the SC. But always nice to see the neandertal universe trolling without any smarts.
Maybe you can start this year to watch a game. It may not easy at the beginning but maybe you may understand it after a couple of years. But somewhere you have to start. And its a good time, we have a lot of good draft picks and of course is LOVE the best of them.
If you are vaxxed, if you have a passport for it, you can even go in the stadium......

-1 points
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egbertsouse's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:10 am

You don’t have to perform in Green Bay to get an extension, just look at King and Lowry. Meanwhile, players who perform are gone. He’s just coasting along with the rest of the underperformers. With an attitude like that, he probably has a long-term future with GB.

-9 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 28, 2021 at 09:24 am

Funchess is at his best over the middle. In reality he’s as much a move TE who was asked to play receiver as he is a true WR in my opinion. I think he is a type that could thrive in this offense since he will block and can be used inside and out and thus increase the variety of routes from any given formation. I agree he needs to get out there, but I think he will surprise many if he does.

4 points
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HawkPacker's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:19 am

With Covid, there is a possibility that Funchess will not play at all this year.

I hear so much about ESB and how good he will be but I really have not seen much out of him so I am certainly not sold on him either.

7 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:23 am

ESB not showing is ridiculous. Yes he’s got talent with the ball, but in his third year often looked lost and had concentration lapses that make me wonder if he wants it or just feels he’s entitled to it. He needs a wake up call or he will lackadaisy himself out of here.

6 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 28, 2021 at 08:57 am

ESB was my bet to be a breakout success in 2020. Oh well, maybe this time, we'll be lucky. [Good grief, I have a song from Cabaret going through my mind.]

0 points
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greengold's picture

May 28, 2021 at 09:38 am

TGR, FWIW, I saw a video clip of him working out with Jordan Love recently. I found that to be encouraging.

2 points
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ImaPayne's picture

June 02, 2021 at 02:52 pm

ESB should be cut he has done nothing for what his third year now. They can take funchess and Sternbumer with him. The three dont light up the world. Time for some speed and consistency.

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greengold's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:46 am

NickPerry & HankScorpio,

There looks to have been a lot of questionable reporting on the status of the WRs not being in attendance at our OTAs. Here are Matt LaFleur's exact words:

"the idea of a coordinated effort to not report never came up."

Given that he talked to every WR who was not in attendance, would it not make sense that would not be part of the conversation, if the FO wanted the WRs to not report?

If they are involved in trade discussions, would it not make sense the team would hold them out from any training activities until a deal is reached?

I'm offering this because the other narrative has run wild, and I think it is erroneous. It's kind of a blow to all of the WRs who might have been asked by the team to not show up, that their character being called into question... don't you think?

There were a lot of reporters who made assumptions regarding their absence, and that possibly erroneous narrative has exploded. I'm not knocking the reporters who provide for us fans a valuable service. Just pointing out that the question was never directly asked.

The headlines flying around on this are crazy, all because no reporter asked if they were held out by the team pending a trade... To me, it looks like a giant wildfire of stuff that makes zero sense, unless the team requested the WRs to not attend.

You are right that Funchess & ESB, and others, should be making the most of their opportunities to showcase themselves, to compete, to build a relationship with what could be a new starting QB. That does make sense. Their not being active participants for some reason other than a team directive does not make sense.

I would guess all of the beat reporters will soon be asking Matt LaFleur this more direct question regarding their absence, and I can't wait to hear his answer. If that answer is obtuse, and non-committal, you'll likely be able to guess why...

TRADE.

-1 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 28, 2021 at 09:01 am

The Broncos, Patriots, Lions and Seahawks were the most militant teams about not participating in OTAs. There are articles from April 14 about not attending. It is about lower injury rates rather than Covid so much.

https://nfltraderumors.co/broncos-players-collectively-decide-not-to-att...

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 28, 2021 at 11:43 am

While I agree with you that I find it hard to believe it’s a true coordinated action across all 5, it’s possible some coordinated. LaFleur denied that pretty directly. If other reasons were given in private that’s a rather half hearted stand even if it is one. The alternative is that LaFleur is not telling the truth or bending it so far as to break it in effect.

For example if what he heard from each individual was something like “well I’m not here in support of Rodgers but I don’t know if anyone else is taking such action,” that would equate to no one mentioning coordination, which is what he actually denied. I don’t see that as LaFleur’s style though.

Overall though, I doubt the team will reveal reasons (however valid) for non attendance by a player at a voluntary event. That would seem inappropriate. Any insight would have to come from a player. I’m not confident that, since they haven’t said anything publicly thus far, that any individual will, for obvious reasons.

1 points
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Bear's picture

May 28, 2021 at 04:01 pm

Getting all excited about who is or isn’t at OTA’s make no sense. All teams around the league have numerous players absent not just the Packers.
Some notables:
Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones, WR

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, CB

Los Angeles Rams: Aaron Donald, DT

New England Patriots: Tom Brady, QB & Rob Gronkowski, TE

New Orleans Saints: Mark Ingram, RB

New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr., WR

Pittsburgh Steelers: Le’Veon Bell, RB

San Francisco 49ers: Reuben Foster, LB

Seattle Seahawks: Earl Thomas, FS

0 points
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:43 am

After watching this video, I'll add Bailey Gaither to the competition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_M8rEOnQXE
He has some real Davante Adams-esque feet/route-running skills. He clearly needs to add some weight and muscle, but at 4.45 he has the speed. I'm curious to watch his progression. He's certainly more of a PS candidate, but he also has the skills to surprise.

5 points
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greengold's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:52 am

Bailey Gaither is something else, PackEyedOptimist! No question. I like him to make this 53 man roster. Or, is it the 55 now? Either way, he's a great talent to keep on board, especially as a backup slot/gadget who doubles as a high quality KR/PR. Even more so given how important the gadget player is to Matt LaFleur's offense. We are going to want to keep at least two of them on board.

Bailey is the kind of player who I suspect will be a QB's best friend, and he might be too valuable to this Packers team to expose on the PS. Speed. Hands. Route running - the full tree. He's a dynamic player. Not THE fastest, but he has play speed to consistently get the job done and move the chains!

I'm hopeful the makes the team, because he seems to be a very special player. When I watch him, I see a mesh of Cobb/Jordy. Uncanny.

2 points
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RedRight49's picture

May 28, 2021 at 08:43 am

Enjoyed the highlights - Bailey is impressive.

Looks to have good speed off the line, some nice moves and, good hands.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 28, 2021 at 09:32 am

Despite coming from a small school, this guy is actually an accomplished and diverse route runner with good hands who may be surprisingly ready.

I’ve been pushing him as one to watch since we signed him. He can play in the slot and outside. He can also field punts and return kicks. He has the makings of the last receiver on the roster who can fit in anywhere and help on special teams. Definitely one to be watching.

3 points
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jurp's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:52 am

"There is also the enticing prospect of what Funchess can add in the red zone. This Green Bay Packers’ offense was already the league’s most efficient red zone team in 2020, but out of the slot or in jump-ball scenarios, Funchess and" Jordan Love "could form quite the one-two punch inside the 20-yard line."

FIFY

3 points
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greengold's picture

May 28, 2021 at 07:55 am

I like Funchess a lot too, jurp! He has skills. Would be nice to see them in action when TC starts. I'll be going up to watch some of those, and I'll share what I see.

Seems the landscape at WR could be changing drastically this year. A lot of good competition for roster positions.

2 points
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mnbadger's picture

May 28, 2021 at 08:07 am

Funchess brings nothing to the special teams so he won't make the roster. questionable hands and slow feet won't help his cause either. FAS! GPG!

2 points
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greengold's picture

May 28, 2021 at 09:45 am

Edit.

Thought the point on ST contributions or lack thereof was appropriate, but let's give the guy a chance and see what he does.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 28, 2021 at 09:36 am

Your comment bears no relation to fact. Funchess is a decent NFL caliber player at least based on his career. Such rubbish hardly helps. How and how much he brings to this team is open to debate, but let’s at least start with established fact.

1 points
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greengold's picture

May 28, 2021 at 09:46 am

THAT's a great point, Coldworld.

1 points
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PeteK's picture

May 28, 2021 at 10:21 am

Facts: hasn't played in two years, not sure handed, does not block as well as his size would dictate, not present for OTAs to at least become a bit familiar with new offense. He is an inferior version of Lazard. I wasn't in favor of the signing because I thought we needed a slot type WR. However, with injuries having a veteran on the roster is always a positive.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 28, 2021 at 11:14 am

Try harder. That’s statistically indefensible, mere re-couching of the same lack of information

-2 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

May 28, 2021 at 08:27 am

My opinion of Funchess is that he is a person who could be our number 2 WR or he could not even make the 53. I have no clue what to expect from him, no clue how much production we should expect if he does make the roster.

One thing I do know though is he is not helping his chances by not coming to OTA's. Out of anyone on the roster that I would have thought would have been at OTA's, that was him. He essentially hasn't played in 2 years. Last year, his first year in GB, he opted out and he got hurt early in the 2019 season.

I really think Funchess has an uphill climb to make the 53. Adams, Lazard, MVS and Rodgers are locks. Funchess, EQ, Taylor are probably in the next group of who are more likely to make it. Then Begelton, Winfree and Thompkins are in the next group. Thompkins is kind of an intriguing guy. He has speed and return ability. Someone to watch during camp.

4 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

May 28, 2021 at 11:20 am

The 53 is now 55 players this year.

I see little probability 6 WRs will be on the final roster because of the run game focus and use of 2 TEs so frequently when including Deguara... leaving 2 wides on the field for more plays now.

Adams, MVS, Lazard and Amari Rodgers would get most of the plays. ESB and Funchess are definitely on the bubble. Hard to get hired on a thin resume when you skip the job interview.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 28, 2021 at 12:28 pm

I think we have to be aware of the possibility of injury. Ignoring any trade or injury, I see Adams, MVS, Rodgers and Lazard as the group written in ink.

I think the next level is likely shaped as much as by the ability to slide into those roles (plus one other I will get too). I also note that the PS will operate like last year, so can hold actual depth initially.

No one replaces Adams. If Adams is out MVS is probably asked to do more and Lazard plays more outside. That requires a back up. I think that’s Funchess. The other factor is that Funchess can do a lot of what Tonyan does. He’s like an extra move guy but more mobile (despite some of the rot stated here). Funchess also allows us to have 3 good blocking receivers in, which would help a lot on option plays and is ideal for mesh patterns with Lazard or Tonyan.

If Funchess is indeed the 5th, it’s perhaps not good for Sternberger, since I think a lot of the heavy blocking comes from Deguara:Daffney and Lewis.

Of those 5 receiver, Lazard plays ST and one would expect Rodgers to. I’m not sure how much we will want them to (outside of Rodgers returning), Lazard is someone we need to keep healthy.
Any 6th receiver has to play ST we and must also be able to credibly line up in the slot and, ideally at option and perhaps outside if pushed .

In reality this could be a PS role perhaps, but it may be our kick or even punt returner if Rodgers isn’t. Gaither and Thomkins can do that, though if the two, Gaither is the much more advanced receiver. Thomkins would be a pure burner at this point. We’ve seen Taylor, but I think both would be better at returner unless Taylor improves dramatically. I believe one of those has the best chance of making the roster.

I’ve missed ESB. He’s possibly the receiver with the most upside not inked in, he has never played STs. He’s not proved capable of consistently running routes or contributing. To beat out Funchess, who is a good route runner, he’s got to be much more consistent as a blocker and as a receiver and have the team accept the fact that he’s not a TE role candidate. Could he? yes, but he’s so far away based on last year and has no longer a contract than Funchess does.

If ESB doesn’t beat out Funchess, the sixth spot is not an option as he doesn’t return or have special teams skills. Under those circumstances I think ESB is gone and a returner/ST type is the most likely next man up. If I had to bet, I’d say Gaither. If Rodgers handles the returns I’d say that Gaither (or whoever) is on the PS to start anyway.

To me, ESB will, unless he is a revelation in camp, require injuries to make it. If Sternberger also balls out, that might help him, but I think Funchess beats them both. Nuata may also push Sternberger as a TE who can block as well as catch. Nuata may not be a deep threat but he may do what Sternberger has done better.

Camp is going to be fun whomever is throwing. Great to see all the battles, but I think the landscape is changing. I’m just hoping for health, a real competition and open minds among the roster builders and coaches. This is what the off season should be about.

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scoonie_penn's picture

May 28, 2021 at 09:11 am

IMO Funchess gets cut either before or early on in the preseason unless he's willing to take ST snaps(no way) and can become a top 3 WR on the team (no way). I once heard a GM say that most guys find ways to cut themselves from their team.

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ImaPayne's picture

June 02, 2021 at 02:50 pm

Watched his college career at M and he was just ok. Again, more name and adulation then results. He dropped a lot of passes and ran poor routes. Hey if he produces fine but if you expect little and get it you wont be disappointed.

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