A Pre-Draft Look At Our Wide Receivers

Part 3 in a position-by-position analysis of where the Packers stand going into the draft.

Starters
Jordy led the league in touchdown receptions last year and is still the most trusted target on the squad. His ability to get contested balls and time timing routes is uncanny. Even after a knee surgery and aging, he continues to be the man. Davante really exploded in his third season, catching as many touchdowns as anyone in the league not named Jordy Nelson. Bouncing back from a sophomore slump, he proved he can be a big play receiver. Randall Cobb, despite taking grief from fans over the size of his contract, is a top slot receiver, skilled at finding soft spots underneath, fearless over the middle, and always hustling past confused defenders when Rodgers takes a minute and a half to make a throw. Going into the season, this is an amazing trio of starters.

Backups
There’s a lot of promise behind the starters, but nothing proven yet. The People’s Champion, Jeff Janis, is one of the most athletically gifted in the league (as documented here by our friends at TotalPackers), but has yet to earn the trust of his detail czar quarterback. He may never. Trevor Davis flashed a little in his rookie year minicamp and proved to be very fast, but is still early in his development.

Talent on Roster
Pretty high. Nelson and Adams were number one and two in the NFL in touchdown receptions, which says a lot. Randall Cobb is worth his contract, even if the stats don’t say so. Geronimo came on towards the end of the year, Davis is promising, and if we need 101 yards in a single drive when your top five receivers are out, Janis is you man.

But how do we use them all?

Jordy is the potential sticking point here. A dominant boundary receiver for years, age and injuries may slow him down a step. When boundary receivers get older, they often move to the slot and Jordy, which his size and great body positioning, would no doubt be very successful working underneath, and his sideline work shows what he can do on crossing routes. However, with Cobb more suited to the slot and with the addition of Martellus Bennett, things could get crowded inside. Davante Adams is the only other proven outside threat. As much as Packer Nation loves Jeff Janis, he appears to be more of an athlete (and world-class punt gunner) than the type of polished-route receiver that Rodgers demands. Maybe he would have more luck with with a less refined quarterback like Russell Wilson, who can’t execute timing routes with the precision of Aaron Rodgers. Trevor Davis is fast, but hasn’t yet developed into the pro game yet, either. That leaves Geronimo Allison, who could develop into a Plaxico Burress type of possession receiver or just as easily go the way of Jarrett Boykin.

There’s a lot of talent, but also a lot of questions.

Draft Need
Surprisingly High. Although the position seems fairly stacked, Adams and Janis are both in contract years, Cobb and Nelson are both up after 2018 and Nelson would be 34 if he were to re-up after that. There’s not much to feel confident in the future about after that. Davis and Geronimo are nothing to feel sure of right now. If a guy Ted likes slips to the second or third round, he may very well snatch him up, but (future cold take alert): Ted never takes a receiver in the first.

 

Other parts in the series
Part 1: Quarterbacks
Part 2: Defensive Line
Part 4: Cornerbacks
Part 5: Tight Ends
Part 6: Running Backs
Part 7: Linebackers
Part 8: Offensive Line
Part 9: Safeties
Part 10: Specialists

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