The Packers strength at wide receiver, and the addition of another slew of wide receivers in this year and last year’s draft has created a very congested camp at the postion. We all know who the top three will be unless something miraculous happens…Nelson, Cobb, and Adams. But after that, the picture gets fuzzy with Jeff Janis back, Jared Abbrederis expecting to be full speed, Myles White, Ty Montgomery, and five undrafted free agents who could prove to be more than just camp legs. The group seems to break into 3 tiers.
Tier 1: The locks
While I would normally only put the top three (Nelson, Cobb, Adams) here, I am adding Jeff Janis to this list as a lock to make the team. The reason I put him in this list is because of his showing in the offseason workouts and OTA’s. Janis has shown that he belongs and with his measurables, combined with the two touchdown showing in last year’s offseason, I am convinced that Janis has what it takes. Speed, size, and the motivation of coming from a small school are in Janis’ favor and it seems unreasonable that he wouldn’t make the top five or six depending on how many receivers the Packers keep. It would seem his biggest threats would be White, Abbrederis, and Montgomery. Some might say that Abby and Montgomery are locks because of their being from Wisconsin (Abby) and their draft status (Montgomery), I don’t think so. I think Montgomery is safer than Abby because he is current and hasn’t been injured, and TT does NOT keep players based on provenance.
Tier 2: The bubble
These are the guys who will be fighting for a fifth or sixth roster spot versus the fear of ending up on the practice squad or worse. The Packers have some highly talented players at this position, a testament to Ted Thompson’s best player available approach to the draft. Others would have chosen less wide receivers because they were less of a need, but TT has continued to infuse Green Bay (and Aaron Rodgers’) offense with wide receiver talent. Thompson knows that most of these guys that develop, will walk in free agency when their big payday come (save some like Randall Cobb) and he needs to stay stacked with youth.
Myles White looked good last preseason but it will be an uphill battle. Certainly Jared Abbrederis will be making a bid and as I have said before, but we have to wait and see if he is the same after knee surgery and rehab. As I have said before, I have not seen as smooth an athlete as Ty Montgomery in a long time. Montgomery could very well fit the bill someday as a “bigger Randall Cobb”. And as I have already predicted, I expect him to start returning kickoffs in his rookie year. Maybe not puts, but I would love to see him returning kickoffs (so yeah, I could have put him as a lock). With Abby and Montgomery both contributing on special teams, it makes White’s job even harder.
I am adding Ricky Collins and Jimmie Hunt to this group because I think either of them could make an impression. Hunt, in particular, caught 6 passes for 169 yards against Alabama and at 6 feet tall and 213 pounds, he has some size. Hunt also has some experience returning kicks which makes him a threat to keep a spot as a developmental player.
It is obvious, this is where the battle will be at wide receiver, this is where the fun is at.
Tier 3: The long shot
Each of the rest of the players UDFA’s, etc. But Javess Blue, Adrian Coxson, and Larry Pinkard will have their chance to shine and perhaps even wiggle their way onto the practice squad where they can develop and perhaps get their shot later with the Pack or on another team. It seems there is always a dark horse who comes out of nowhere. While I would think Collins or Hunt might be that guy, you never know. Here in this last tier are the guys that will be putting it all on the line and then some, knowing that they are working slim margins in the hopes of living the dream.
With less than ten days to go, I can’t wait for the start of training camp and to see these tiers shake themselves out and perhaps get shaken up. Who are you pulling for at the wide receiver spot? Let us know in the comments below or back at the Facebook Fanpage!