2018 Position Preview - Packers Wide Receivers are Young and Unknown
The 2011 Packers featured perhaps the best collection of receivers the Packers have had in a generation. Jordy Nelson broke out that year with 1,283 yards and 15 touchdowns, Greg Jennings was as solid a counterpart as the Packers could have hoped for, and James Jones, Donald Driver, and Randall Cobb all played significant roles.
Today, Jennings and Jones are out of the league, Nelson is halfway there, and Cobb, though still hanging on, hasn’t been near the peak of his powers for several seasons.
That’s not to say the Packers haven’t taken steps to improve. They’ve invested six picks in the position over the past three drafts, five of whom will head to camp this year. With Davante Adams locked up for several seasons to come, the Packers’ receiver group is at least stable, if unproven. If they can find their feet quickly, this group could still be potent, but for now, there are more questions than answers.
Just the basics
Davante Adams - 6-1, 215 - Fresno State - 5th year
Randall Cobb - 5-10, 192 - Kentucky - 8th year
Geronimo Allison - 6-3, 202 - Illinois - 3rd year
Trevor Davis - 6-1, 188 - Cal - 3rd year
J’Mon Moore - 6-3, 205 - Missouri - Rookie
Marquez Valdes-Scantling - 6-4, 206 - USF - Rookie
Equanimeous St. Brown - 6-5, 214 - Notre Dame - Rookie
DeAngelo Yancey - 6-1, 220 - Purdue - 2nd year
Michael Clark - 6-6, 217 - Marshall - 1st year
Jake Kumerow - 6-4, 205 - Wisconsin-Whitewater - 1st year
Who needs to be good?
Davante Adams has functioned as the Packers’ top receiver since mid-2016, whether anyone considered him a “true” number one receiver or not. Now, with a new contract on the books and Jordy Nelson in Oakland, there’s no doubt who the top dog is. The Packers need Adams to play like it.
Adams has to be the receiver that draws significant attention from opposing defenses, putting his teammates in the best position to succeed. If he can be that kind of player, it will only make the rest of the receiver group more potent.
Who is the wild card?
In truth, any one of the Packers’ three rookie wide receivers could serve as something of a wild card, but J’Mon Moore is the best pick. The Packers took him ahead of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown for a reason. He’s probably the most pro-ready of the three, and if he can realize his potential quickly, he’ll have a chance to play a noteworthy role this year. If he can’t, though, there’s a good chance the Packers will have to wait at least a year to see any significant input from their three draft picks.
Who could be a sleeper?
A promising physical prospect, DeAngelo Yancey couldn’t crack the 53 man roster out of training camp last year and found himself passed over when the Packers chose Michael Clark for a late season practice squad call up instead of their 2017 fifth round pick. A year later and a few pounds lighter, Yancey has a chance to show what a mistake that was. With a season of NFL life under his belt, Yancey could have an inside track on the other young receivers.