When wide receivers Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams are healthy they are arguably one of the best trio of wide receivers in the NFL. Nelson made his return last season after missing all of the 2015 season because of a knee injury and hauled in 14 touchdown receptions. Although Cobb battled injuries last season, he still hauled in 60 catches and four touchdown passes. Cobb is a vital part in the passing attack with his ability to catch passes out of the backfield and is still one of the most dangerous slot receivers in the league. For Adams, he bounced back from a disappointing 2015 season and hauled in 12 touchdown catches and had just under 1,000 yards receiving on the season.
The depth doesn’t just stop at Nelson, Cobb, and Adams though. Undrafted free agent wide receiver Geronimo Allison, who was promoted from the practice squad during the season, flashed some last season. Allison finished the season with just 12 regular season catches, but he had two regular season touchdown receptions and also chipped in five catches for 65 yards during the playoffs. It appears that Allison is the leader to be the number four wide receiver for this coming season. The depth chart after those four wide receivers is far from set.
A Training Camp Battle is in Store For The Green Bay Packers Wide Receivers
The Packers have shown in past history that they aren’t afraid to carry six wide receivers going into the season. But if they choose not to this coming season, there might be a battle for just one available spot. The competition should be fierce and there is a plethora of receivers to choose from in this season’s training camp. The battle will feature a veteran who has all the ability to be a big play receiver but hasn’t displayed that as of yet, a second year receiver who has speed to burn but doesn’t possess the bulk to fight off jams at the line of scrimmage, and three unproven prospects with different skill sets.
Here is a look at each receiver and their chances of making this season’s Packers roster.
There probably hasn’t been a wide receiver in the NFL that has just 11 career regular season receptions talked about more than Janis. He has become a folk hero in Titletown because of his size (6’3” 219 pounds) and speed (4.42 40-yard dash). But even with all the measurables, Janis hasn’t come close to producing like most people think he should. Entering his fourth season for the Packers, it appears that time is running out for Janis to be a part of the Packers offense.
Much has been written about the fact that Janis hasn’t been able to earn the confidence of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but for whatever the reason, Janis will need to show that he can be a part of the Packers offense this training camp or he will be cut loose. But something playing in his favor, along with his size and speed, is his ability to play special teams. Janis has shown that he is an exceptional gunner on punt and kickoff coverage, as well as a very capable kickoff returner. But still, Janis will need to show he can be a part of the Packers passing attack to earn a spot on the Packers 53-man roster.
The Packers used a fifth round draft choice on Davis in the 2016 NFL draft. It isn’t much of a secret on why the Packers used that selection on Davis. Davis has speed to burn and the Packers thought that he could bring another dimension to their passing attack. However, his lack of strength created problems for the lean Davis on beating bump and coverage and because of that, he saw minimal time in the Packers offense. If Davis enters camp stronger and shows the ability to get off the line, he should have a shot at earning a spot on the Packers roster. Even if he doesn’t, his speed and young age might be too much for the Packers to give up on.
It seemed to be a curious move by the Packers when they selected Yancey in the fifth round of this year’s NFL draft. Yancey did his best while playing at Purdue. With suspect quarterback play, Yancey did haul in ten touchdown catches for the Boilermakers, but still only had 49 receptions, his most while at Purdue. Not blessed with blazing speed and just above average size at 6’1”, it will be a struggle for Yancey to make the Packers 53-man roster. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Yancey on the Packers practice squad this upcoming season.
Just as the case was with Yancey, Dupre had to deal with suspect quarterback play while he was at LSU. In his career with the Tigers, Dupre had 98 receptions for 1,609 yards receiving and 14 touchdown receptions. However, Dupre seems to be a more polished route runner than his fellow rookie Yancey with better hands. But still, it is hard to believe that he will do enough to beat out Janis or Davis. Dupre also seems like a strong candidate for the Packers practice squad.
The son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, Max signed with the Packers during the regular season and spent time on their practice squad before he was elevated to the 53 man roster in the playoffs, although he wasn’t active. McCaffrey is the definition of an overachiever. Not blessed with blazing speed, McCaffrey carved out a niche while at Duke. The 6’2” McCaffrey caught 117 passes for 1,341 yards with 12 touchdown receptions while playing for the Blue Devils. McCaffrey faces an uphill battle making the Packers roster. But he is a grinder, something that Packers head coach Mike McCarthy likes. If he is able to make some plays in preseason action and show the ability to play on special teams, he could be a dark horse in this battle.
It is hard to imagine that Janis and Davis won’t earn the final two spots at wide receiver on the Packers 53 man roster. But things could change if Yancey, Dupre, or McCaffrey flashes something during training camp. If the Packers decide to only carry five wide receivers into the regular season, it could be Davis looking in from the outside. As with all backup spots, a lot will be determined in training camp and this is a competition to keep an eye on.