Who Will Be the Packers Wide Receiver 2 In 2021?

The Green Bay Packers know that Pro Bowler Davante Adams will be their top wide receiver heading into training camp this year. Adams just set a franchise record with 115-catch season. He scored 18 receiving touchdowns and gained 1,374 yards in just 14 games.

But after Adams, the Packers wide receiver situation is full of question marks. Yes, there is plenty of talent, but it is unclear who will step up and be the team’s second wide receiver.

The top two returning candidates are Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Both will see plenty of playing time over the course of the season but it is still not clear which one of them will start opposite Adams.

Lazard earned that spot before opening day last year. The 6’5”, 227-pound Iowa State alum got off to a strong start to the season, catching 13 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers first three games. That included a career-best six catches for 146 yards and a touchdown in the Packers Week 3 win over the Saints, a game that Adams missed due to injury. Lazard was able to step up in that game and become the focal point of the Packers passing game.

Unfortunately, Lazard suffered a core muscle injury and missed the next six games. It took him a while after that to get back to full health. He finished the season with 33 catches for 451 yards and three scores but never seemed to be fully back to his early-season form.

Lazard has good size and hands. He runs precise routes and has earned the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers due to his reliability and work ethic.

He is also the best blocker among Packers wide receivers which helps the team’s running game and on screens and other quick passes that require receivers to block for one another.

If Jordan Love is the Packers starting quarterback in 2021, the team may run the ball more frequently and incorporate more short passes and check downs into the offense. That may make Lazard even more valuable.

If Lazard can continue his development and stay healthy, he could be a great fit opposite Adams as WR2.

Valdes-Scantling has a different skill set than Lazard and Adams. His biggest weapon is his elite speed. Last season, MVS led the NFL (among qualified receivers) by averaging 20.9-yards per catch. Like Lazard, MVS caught 33 passes although he gained 690 yards and caught six touchdowns.

His ability to stretch the field and make big plays is a great weapon for any offense and Rodgers was able to take advantage of it throughout the season. Four of his six touchdowns were of 40 yards or more including a 72-yarder in the season finale in Chicago and a 78-yard effort against the Jaguars in Green Bay.

The big issues for Valdes-Scantling are his route running and his consistency. He was credited with seven drops last season and had a catch percentage of just 52.4 according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. If he can improve in those two areas, MVS could become an elite receiver.

These two will be the top contenders for WR2 as training camp gets under way. Also in the mix are rookie Amari Rodgers, who figures to play more in the slot and on gadget plays early in the season, and Devin Funchess who has a similar build to Lazard but has only played one regular season game over the last two seasons.

The coaching staff has been impressed by Rodgers’ work ethic and talent level but he still has a lot to learn about Matt LaFleur’s playbook and playing in the NFL. Funchess “looks the part” according to LaFleur, but he needs to show he isn’t rusty after nearly two full years away from the game.

How these players perform in training camp and during the preseason will make a difference in determining their ultimate roles in the offense this season. If either Lazard or MVS can take a jump forward this season, they can go a long way towards earning more playing time this season.

Regardless of how this battle plays out, the lineup will be subject to change over the course of the season due to injuries, who’s hot and how the matchups line up against a given opponent. Of course, there’s also the issue of who will be throwing passes to these receivers, but that’s a different discussion altogether.

By the end of the season, expect both Lazard and Valdes-Scantling to have substantial roles in the Green Bay offense regardless of which one of them is designated WR2. But this will be an interesting battle to watch once training camp gets under way.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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5 points

Comments (47)

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

July 01, 2021 at 12:35 pm

According to what I keep reading and hearing from Nagler and the comment section the past couple of years we just need to “coach”up a couple free agents, give them time and for sure give Lazard and MVS new big contracts because we all know they are the next Jennings and Adams in the making. Don’t worry, we’re all set! We really don’t need “catchers” just blockers in Lafleurs system anyway. We might just have the best blocking receiving Corp in the business!

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PackerAaron's picture

July 01, 2021 at 02:02 pm

You...really need to clean out your ears if that's what you've been hearing.

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egbertsouse's picture

July 01, 2021 at 03:03 pm

I don’t know about Nagler, but what I have been reading in the “comments “ section is how I can make $11,000 a month from the Internet, working from home.

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Coldworld's picture

July 01, 2021 at 04:15 pm

Is there really a WR 2 in this system where personnel groupings shift so much and WRs other than Adams are often in to block?

That was before we added an option slot draft pick after missing that role most of last year and not seeing the H Back role fully implemented. This may be a question of looking for something that no longer exists.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 01, 2021 at 02:31 pm

Well stated, Coldworld. I think that some people are slow to understand that the #2 WR is a blocker/decoy on 90% of the snaps, and that our Order of Battle is RB-Adams- TE-the rest of the WRs. It’s a couple of targets each game.

If healthy, Lazard is our best blocker and MVS is our best deep threat. I think Amari Rodgers will have to earn snaps. I don’t see how ESB and Funchess both stick. This is a very good unit.

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Coldworld's picture

July 01, 2021 at 04:26 pm

Funchess can do what Lazard can do and quite a lot of what Tonyan does. That gives us options for additional groupings, it also means we aren’t exposed to injuries to either quite as much. We really missed Lazard last year I believe. That function alone would justify Funchess this year for me.

Assuming no injuries, it’s going to be interesting to see if they carry more than 5, and if they do Rodgers Is likely not returning kicks. That 6th receiver may be on the PS unless in for STs. That favors youngsters not ESB, who has been a non factor on STs. There are a few like Winfrey and perhaps Taylor who may be biting his heels anyway, but I’m looking at the likes of Gaither or even Thompson if they go specialist returner/gunner. Taylor probably needs to impress in a role he didn’t last year to be added to that list.

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greengold's picture

July 02, 2021 at 05:30 am

QB (3)
Jordan Love
Blake Bortles
Kurt Benkert

RB (4)
Aaron Jones
AJ Dillon
Patrick Taylor Jr.
Kylin Hill

WR (5)
Davante Adams
Alan Lazard
MVS
Amari Rodgers
Bailey Gaither

TE (4)
Mercedes Lewis
Robert Tonyan
Josiah Deguara
Dominique Dafney

OL (9)
David Bakhtiari
Elgton Jenkins
Josh Myers
Jon Runyan
Billy Turner
Royce Newman
Ben Braden
Coy Cronk
Simon Stepaniak

Was thinking about where to keep extra players, where are our most versatile players? Interesting to me considering we are looking to go more run heavy, maybe keeping an extra RB instead of an extra WR would be beneficial. Oddly enough, but Taylor & Hill are exceptional receivers. In a pinch, we could set either out wide.

Seems this could be a solid group to start the season with.

A lot of versatility with this 25. A lot of skill, speed, ST contributors. Neither Funchess nor EQ offer any ST help, and I can’t see either player contributing heavily. Bailey Gaithers is the perfect backup slot/gadget, and he’s a highly capable PR/KR. As a WR, he’s a walking 1D.

Dominique Dafney allows Deguara to be eased back into action after his ACL while keeping all of LaFleur’s HB components.

Have to agree Lucas Patrick Jr. is probably going to get traded before cut downs. Gutekunst added OTs with OG versatility, and we have 2 very good Cs on this roster.

Sometimes it’s good to see what this stuff might look like.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 02, 2021 at 02:31 am

Where's Jeudy?

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greengold's picture

July 02, 2021 at 05:18 am

Neener.

Neener.

Hardy.

Har.

Har.

Har.

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Guam's picture

July 02, 2021 at 08:09 am

Agree with much of what you have GG, but disagree on Patrick and Funchess. Assuming Bahk is out for the first few weeks, that leaves the Packers with just three veteran OL (Jenkins, Turner and Patrick). I don't think you trade away a guy that has the proven ability to play either guard or center when there are no guarantees about your rookie center or your young guards. Maybe 2023 when you have better idea of what the younger guys can do, but not this year.

Funchess gives them flexibility behind both Lazard and Tonyan which no other WR does. As long as he can shake off the rust of the last two seasons, I think he makes the team.

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greengold's picture

July 02, 2021 at 10:35 am

Yeah, Guam, both Lucas Patrick and Devin Funchess could easily make this final 53 man roster. I was just presenting the idea of keeping both Bakhtiari and Deguara on the 53 to start the year, and how that might look, where some of those tough cuts/trades might be made.

Introducing new players is what coaching staffs do all the time. Patrick is going to line up at RG. I think there are a ton of players on this roster who can do the job just fine there, quite honestly. We have to see how TC plays out, for sure, but, one player there is not going to make a ton of difference, if the younger player you replace him with is deemed ready by the staff. I do have extreme confidence in the Josh Myers choice at OC. I think he's going to be really good there for years to come.

As to Funchess, his sole offerings being a WR, yeah, great size, speed, just OK hands... with no ST abilities, kind of puts him in a rough spot this season, with so much diverse talent offerings up and down the roster. Multi-dimensional players who can be used in any number of ways will probably win out where those tough decisions are made. This season, roster spots may be more valuable than what we've known in years. We now require top production and versatility/multi-use capabilities at nearly every position.

I want to say Patrick is a keeper, and I love the guy in GB, but I always wind up thinking of how many others might do just as well or better? There is the issue of cap dollars the Packers are going to be looking to save. We've got to scratch together somewhere around a $5M chunck. Releasing or trading Patrick would save $1.9M if I remember correctly.

Those are the tough decisions Gutekunst was hired to make. As fans we can only guess. I always look forward to seeing how he handles this, what his vision for the new year's team will be. How he protects players on his roster, or who he adds later.

btw, I agree the $1.9M cap savings may be affordable for the continuity Lucas Patrick brings to the success of this offense. No doubt. The tea leaves of the staff trying out all kinds of other players at OG might point to them making a tough cut there.

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LambeauPlain's picture

July 02, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Yours would be a good O roster...I still think Patrick makes it with 10 OL. If he shows he is one of the top 5 in TC, you don't trade or cut a projected starter....not in this O. Patrick has gotten better, more dependable every year. And he is a brawler with a nasty streak.

And if the Pack were to cut the 9th or 10th OL off the list of 10, they are gone. Some other team would grab them.

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greengold's picture

July 02, 2021 at 01:52 pm

Thanks, LambeauPlain.

I was thinking maybe they PUP one of Deguara or Bakhtiari, or both, just to insure they have more time to heal, if the roster allows, and players stay healthy enough through TC.

That would allow us to keep a guy like Lucas Patrick on the roster. BTW, I'm not wanting him gone from the roster, because he is a really solid player. Just thinking this is a course they might take, given their cap situation, and his trade value likely being its highest right now.

Unsure where you cut any one of those other players loose to add a 10th OL?

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WestWi_Packfan's picture

July 04, 2021 at 10:53 pm

I'm thinking that Lucas Patrick is currently the 2nd best Guard on the roster at this point and I don't see the Packers letting him go to let a guy who isn't as good yet, get experience. At some point if he starts to struggle or runs into injuries we could see one of the many other young guys get a chance. He also may be our best bet at Center to start the season, if Myers is not ready yet. So I'm not sure why you think they would consider letting him go so soon but I guess you never know. I think we have a few diamonds in the rough on this line and all's it will take is a little time.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

July 02, 2021 at 01:44 pm

How does Daffney beat Jace Sternberger?

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greengold's picture

July 02, 2021 at 01:58 pm

Jace is suspended for substance abuse, and it seems his battle for a roster position may be in jeopardy as a result. His status is unknown at the moment regarding rehab, which I think he will need given this one must have been on the more serious side.

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flackcatcher's picture

July 02, 2021 at 05:21 pm

They also play different positions in this offense. Daffney is a more classic FB who can play move TE and inline TE in a pinch. Sternberger is a classic inline TE who can play move TE. Daffney can play F-back in this system. Sternberger can not.

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jont's picture

July 01, 2021 at 08:00 pm

Yes, I think there really is a #2 role in the MLF offense. IMHO, it is a receiver who threatens a defense on every down-- can move the chains, can turn a short completion into a long gain, requires the attention of the secondary on every play.
In an MLF scheme, the idea is to force a defense to be ready for anything and everybody, but WR2 should be one of the first they look at because he's a particular threat.

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porupack's picture

July 02, 2021 at 03:35 pm

excellent point. If you can't threaten from WR2, defenses can limit Adams. But still, MVS and Lazard present that threat, though with a different attack style and advantages. Each of Amari, DAdams and Lazard coming in at times as WR2, present various tactical threats. So WR2 might be a rotation of Lazard, MVS, Rodgers based on what the game situation dictates, or perhaps just to keep opposing CBs having to process more options.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 02, 2021 at 07:46 pm

Yeah, defenses really limited Adams last year.

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splitpea1's picture

July 01, 2021 at 01:01 pm

I don't think we have any worries at all with WR, whether we have a true #2 or not--at least not this season. I'm partial to Lazard because of the things you mentioned as well as his solid catch percentage and affordability. He should get more opportunities, no matter who is throwing him the ball.

MVS: Any improvement with the catch percentage would be gravy, not just for the offense, but for him getting that extension.

Funchess: Similar in size to Lazard, but with a much lower historical catch percentage-- only slightly better than MVS. But that was with Newton at QB.

Don't forget about Malik Taylor, although he's hardly gotten any opportunites. He's caught the ball five times in six chances, including four first downs and a touchdown.

7 points
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PeteK's picture

July 01, 2021 at 01:25 pm

I agree SP, our WR group has enough talent. However, I believe we missed the gadget dimension once Ervin was injured, but Rodgers will hopefully be a more durable replacement.

4 points
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TXCHEESE's picture

July 01, 2021 at 04:17 pm

Agree 100%. There is no need to determine WR2. It's nice to have options based on the opponent and their strengths and weaknesses. I thought Lazard and MVS complemented each other well last year. With Amari Rodgers in the slot, QB1, whomever that may be, will have plenty of options from the wide receiver group.

2 points
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mnbadger's picture

July 01, 2021 at 01:14 pm

My biggest fear in the WR room this season is that we sign DA to a mega deal. IMO, he's earned big money, but Pack can't afford to be the one paying it. This may sound blasphemous, but if for some reason we are out of the Super Bowl discussion before the trade deadline, I'd move DA along for picks or players looking to the future. If we're still in serious consideration as a top 5 or 6 team, ride him all the way to the end of the season then wish him nothing but the best in free agency. He's been an excellent Packer. GPG.

5 points
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PeteK's picture

July 01, 2021 at 01:57 pm

Five years with 3 fully guaranteed? It's a tough call because of his age, but his talent is through the roof.

1 points
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mnbadger's picture

July 01, 2021 at 02:17 pm

20-25 million per year is being discussed by talking heads. We can't afford it. GPG!

1 points
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JohnnyLogan's picture

July 01, 2021 at 03:11 pm

You can't keep letting great players go because they cost too much. Then the strategy turns into let's accumulate a team of good players... let the great ones go. To win SBs you need a few, meaning more than one, great players. We have a couple in Bakh, Jaire, even Jenkins is trending toward that description... but you need some at the skill positions. Adams and Rodgers are the two we've got. Let them both go, as some are suggesting, and you'll be left with a good but certainly not a great team. I've been for letting Rodgers go, even though I think he's the greatest in-season QB ever, but you can't let them both go. It would take years to recover.

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greengold's picture

July 02, 2021 at 04:47 pm

Agree, JohnnyLogan.
The cap will be going up significantly from this point forward. The 2022 cap ceiling has been agreed to at over $208M, an increase of $25-30M depending on where the cap floor comes in. Revenues are expected to increase with team merch/ticket sales plus higher TV revenues.

Any contract signed by Davante Adams now will look like a bargain 4-5 years from now. I think the strengths of his game will remain throughout the course of a new extension as he’s only 28 years old now, and his game doesn’t rely on deep speed, but rather quickness, prime route running, separation and hands.

We shouldn’t be quick to let the best WR in the NFL go to another team. Davante Adams is arguably the best there is, especially short to midrange. The value he brings to this offense is immense.

5 minutes after he’s gone, fans will be screaming for a #1 WR. Why do that when it is not necessary? A veteran, the NFL’s best WR, hungry for Super Bowl rings? That’s what you want with a good QB on his first contract.

Will the price for a top WR magically go down in one or two years if we don’t extend Davante? Just draft one R1? What is that success rate?

AR’s deal most likely will be off our books within a year. Look ahead.

1 points
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flackcatcher's picture

July 01, 2021 at 02:33 pm

MVS is no. 2 WR. He has earned it. Take a look at the offense and how MLF schemes out of it. Without a speed WR to stress the secondary, the "illusion of complexity" simply does not work. The one weakness of the Shanahan offense and its successors is its overspecialization in the skill positions. MLF scheme demands a blow of the top WR in the lineup to cover both the slot and F-back so the secondary honors their motion. Frankly, the Packers have no one else. Maybe ESB if he stays healthy. Outside of Adams, no one else is as important for the offense. (yes, yes I know Jones. But in the scheme he does not stress a defensive formation like MVS does)

1 points
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greengold's picture

July 01, 2021 at 03:15 pm

It took Davante Adams 3 seasons to get his Catch% to cross the 60% threshold. Same with Donald Driver. The highest Greg Jennings got in his first 5 seasons was 63%, and that included 2 season in the 50s and one in the 40s, just like where MVS finds himself now (52.1%, 46.4%, 52.4% respectively).

Antonio Freeman's Catch% crossed above 60% only twice in his 9 year career...

It is entirely possible the light goes on for MVS this year in that regard, just like it did with many other WRs we've come to know and highly regard in Packers history.

2 points
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greengold's picture

July 01, 2021 at 02:58 pm

A lot of good comments in here.

On another note:

Wasn't sure how to share this, but don't shoot the messenger. No one knows yet what will happen, but there was a lawsuit vacated on Tuesday between some of the Bowlen sibilings and the Pat Bowlen Trust. This was set to go to trial this month. A statement was put out in December by Beth Bowlen-Wallace saying she would walk away from the lawsuit if the team were to be put up for sale, and she did just that on Tuesday. The estimated sale price is $8-10B. AR as a Denver Bronco would of course make the sale of the team that much more attractive.

This article speculates that there may be a full-court press to do whatever it takes to get a deal done with the Packers. Just some rumblings I wanted to share for anyone who is interested.

FWIW.

https://predominantlyorange.com/2021/06/30/denver-broncos-ownership-aaro...

-3 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 01, 2021 at 03:57 pm

Great!
Creates a little intrigue.
Thank you!

0 points
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Roadrunner23's picture

July 01, 2021 at 10:29 pm

G&G,
I’ve got to hand it to you, your theories are well thought out and compelling indeed.I still say Rodgers is under center for the Packers game 1.

4 points
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greengold's picture

July 02, 2021 at 05:13 am

Oh, dude! It’s funny.

Don’t get me wrong. I was really excited about reloading this team and watching AR close the deal this season. Then he blew up draft day, and I’ve just been keeping my ear to the ground ever since. This one has some unexpected funk to it.

We’ll see. Cheers, my brother!

-2 points
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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

July 02, 2021 at 08:50 am

Sweet! Rodgers can buy the Broncos, make a blockbuster trade for himself, mortgage the team to sign a guaranteed contract through 2027, and then lead his Broncos to multiple Super Bowls! What a perfect setup!

4 points
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flackcatcher's picture

July 03, 2021 at 12:56 pm

This is a family fight that's been going on for over a decade now. The only question is when the Broncos would be put on the block to maximize value. The other group who does not control the team wanted a quick sale and was rebuffed. Unwinding all the estate and tax issues well, that takes time.

0 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

July 01, 2021 at 03:59 pm

DA17's next contract will easily put him top 5 among WRs. Remind me the last time a SB winner had a WR among the top 5 paid. You don't commit that much money to a player who touches the ball maybe 8-10 times a game, if that.

Love Adams, and glad for him he'll be getting insane money. Just not with GB. This offense has proven it can win without him the past two years. 6-0 to be exact.

7 points
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Since'61's picture

July 02, 2021 at 10:20 am

If AR leaves Adams will move on as well. Very possibly to the Raiders to rejoin with his college QB, David Carr.
Thanks, Since '61

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 02, 2021 at 12:27 pm

Possibly, but it seems Carr is rumored to be on the trading block pretty much every year. Plus he'd have to play for Gruden, the most overhyped, overrated, overpaid coach in recent memory.

1 points
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BBlake's picture

July 01, 2021 at 04:06 pm

Been hearing a lot of positive things about WR Juwann Winfree, we may not want to count him out just yet.

3 points
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GregC's picture

July 01, 2021 at 09:51 pm

As the #2 wide receiver? Hard to see that happening.

2 points
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stockholder's picture

July 01, 2021 at 06:27 pm

MVS is your #2 WR. And he's the guy you pay. Feed him.

-2 points
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PhantomII's picture

July 01, 2021 at 09:06 pm

I don't know about #2 but this Slot WR Rodgers is really good and played for a top college team and performed excellent. Our offense is up a tick this year with Deguara healthy and also our TE's. ML is holding 2 revolvers full of ammo to raise heck with. I like how our OL is coming together also. It is going to be great to see how ML works the strings. Run and gun. Let the offensive carnage begin. Our defense is also deep. I can hardly wait. God bless America!!!!!!

9 points
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greengold's picture

July 01, 2021 at 09:27 pm

Agreed, Phantomll. I think this Packers team will shock the NFL world.

2 points
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Roadrunner23's picture

July 01, 2021 at 10:31 pm

Adams
Lazard
MVS
Rodgers
Funches
Winfrey

4 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

July 02, 2021 at 01:01 pm

I just don't see Funchess as an easy addition to the 53. Far from it. Lengthy injury history and while Lazard is as big, Funchess runs a 4.7+ to Lazard's 4.5+ 40 yard. And Lazard is a prolific blocker.

I think they keep 5 WRs and would expect some youth as the 5th WR.

2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

July 02, 2021 at 02:12 pm

Amari Rodgers is youthful, and he’s our #5 behind Adams, Lazard, MVS, and Funchess. This is a veteran group that will help Love.

If you’re expecting a big contribution from Amari Rodgers as a rookie………why? I think he’ll get the same rookie treatment as Dillon. Unless the people ahead of him get hurt, he’s not going to get on the field much this year.

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