The Green Bay Packers have the luxury of having one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Davante Adams has become another standout wide receiver that former general manager Ted Thompson selected. That list includes Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, and Randall Cobb. All, including Adams, were second-round draft picks by Thompson. The Packers, and especially Aaron Rodgers, are very lucky to have Adams. Especially with so many questions behind Adams on the wide receivers depth chart. It appears Allen Lazard will be the leading candidate for the number two wide receiver spot. While Lazard flashed potential last season, his long term success isn’t guaranteed. Behind Lazard, if he is actually the number two wide receiver, has even more questions. They will have a lot of choices for the Packers number three wide receiver position though.
Candidates for the Packers Third Wide Receiver Position
Second-year head coach, and offensive play-caller, Matt LaFleur appears to be moving towards a run dominated offense. It sounds like he is envisioning an offense that the San Francisco 49ers similarly implement. Having an NFL offense that can run the ball is a major asset. But don’t forget, last year’s Super Bowl winner, the Kansas City Chiefs, won it all by being able to throw the ball. So, while it is great that LaFleur wants to run the ball more, to win, it will have to be done through the air.
The Packers have a very strong combination in Rodgers-Adams. But Rodgers, something that has been a constant in recent history, will need more weapons. A strong run game will help, but Rodgers will need more weapons to help with the passing game. Lazard has the potential to be a solid number two option. Still, he has a lot of developing to do, but it looks like he will be the number two option going into next season.
Lazard as the number two wide receiver has a lot of questions to it, but the Packers number three wide receiver position has even more questions. There isn’t any arguing, the Packers have a lot of depth at wide receiver. But the question is, how talented is that depth? It is great to have a lot of candidates to choose from, but if those candidates can’t contribute, it won’t help Rodgers and the offense. Even if LaFleur runs a more run dominated offense.
The Packers do have depth at the wide receiver position. But how good that depth is, it is anybody’s guess. Packers top personnel decision-maker Brian Gutekunst brought in just one player to help at wide receiver this off-season. A player who played in just one game last season. Along with that player, Gutekunst is banking on two of his former draft choices to possibly grab that Packers number three wide receiver position.
Here is a look at who will be battling for that position.
The signing of Devin Funchess in free agency was the only major move Gutekunst made at the position this off-season. It didn’t make many headlines and also had some Packers fans asking why Funchess was the choice by Gutekunst.
Funchess comes on the cheap, after playing in just one game due to injury last season with the Indianapolis Colts. His experience, he will be entering his sixth NFL season, will give him a leg up on his competition for the Packers number three wide receiver position.
In 2017, he had his best season as a professional. That season for the Carolina Panthers he hauled in 63 catches for 840 yards with eight receiving touchdowns. However, that was three seasons ago and now he is trying to rebound from missing most of last season. Plus, there are questions about his speed and his ability to create space against defensive backs.
This will be a very big season for Marquez Valdes-Scantling. After a strong rookie campaign that saw him catch 38 passes for 581 yards, much was expected in his second season. Unfortunately, he struggled this past season. His numbers decreased (26 receptions for 452) and he also dealt with concentration issues.
He will need to show he can use that blazing speed to good use. He is the only wide receiver on the Packers roster that has high-end speed. Another reason many have questioned Gutekunst’s lack of moves this off-season, not bringing in wide receivers that can create separation. It appears that Gutekunst is banking on Valdes-Scantling to bounce back after a down season. If he can, he could create matchup problems if LaFleur lines him up in the slot. With his blazing speed and his size, 6’4″ 205 lbs, he would be a matchup nightmare.
But if he can’t make the bounce back, there is a possibility that he could be a training camp casualty. Which wouldn’t paint Gutekunst in a good light, since he was the one who drafted him back in 2018.
Equanimeous St. Brown is the wild card of the group and the player we believe will be the Packers number three wide receiver position to open the season.
As a sixth-round pick, he had a solid rookie season. Along with contributing on special teams, he caught 21 passes for 328 yards. But what might have been just as important, he seemed to gain the trust of Aaron Rodgers. Unfortunately, he suffered an ankle injury in training camp last season and missed the entire season.
From all indications, he is healthy and ready to go this season. Just like with Valdes-Scantling, he is a big target, 6’5″, and would be a tough matchup in the slot. Also similar to Valdes-Scantling, he is a former draft pick from 2018. In that draft, Gutekunst selected Valdes-Scantling, St. Brown, and J’Mon Moore. Moore was cut after just one season with the Packers. If Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown struggles this season, the spotlight will be on Gutekunst for his failures to surround Rodgers with weapons in the passing game.
Reggie Begelton and Jake Kumerow
We are very intrigued with what Reggie Begelton can do for the Packers this season. But it might be a lot to expect him to win the Packers number three wide receiver position. There is a strong chance he will be a contributor this season. However, it most likely will be as the Packers number four or five wide receiver position. This will be his first season in the NFL, after spending time in the CFL. So to expect him to win the Packers number three wide receivers job might be a lot to expect.
Jake Kumerow has been a fun and interesting story. The former standout from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a Division 3 school, has become a fan favorite. He was a contributor on special teams last season. But it would be a longshot for him to win the Packers number three wide receiver position. In fact, we have a hard time seeing Kumerow making the roster this season. While he has been a fun story, we just don’t see the Packers having room for him on the roster in 2020.
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