2014 Packers Training Camp Battles: Wide Receiver
Much like quarterback, the Green Bay Packers are set at the top of their receiver depth chart. Those two guys are Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
After that is where it’s going to get interesting.
James Jones is now in Oakland after the Packers totally ignored him in free agency. That leaves them with only one proven commodity behind their top two, although there seems to be plenty of young talent ready to battle it out for a roster spot.
Where will the training camp battles take place? A couple guys will be vying for the No. 3 receiver spot and the rest will be battling to make the roster.
Here’s the competition.
In his second season in the league, Boykin stepped up with 49 catches for 681 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t really have a choice but to produce with Cobb, Nelson and Jones all missing multiple games. That doesn’t take anything away from what Boykin did though. That’s why he’s entering camp as the No. 3 receiver. Boykin’s play is also part of the reason the Packers didn’t feel compelled to offer Jones a contract.
Boykin has been getting praise from the coaching staff all offseason. Obviously, they like the guy quite a bit. He’ll be hard to unseat at No. 3.
Adams is the Packers’ second-round pick. You don’t draft a guy in the second round and not expect him to start, if not immediately, then soon. The Packers obviously have the luxury of not needing Adams to start, but they’ll be happy to give him a run at Boykin and the No. 3 job. Adams is known as a sure-handed possession receiver, something the Packers haven’t had in a while.
Maybe since Sterling Sharpe. No, we’re not going to sit here and compare Adams to Sterling Sharpe, but… Sterling Sharpe.
The rest of the Packers receivers — and let’s not forget, there are a bunch of them — will be fighting for a roster spot. As a whole, watching how this positional group shakes out will be one of the most interesting story lines of training camp.
There are literally five other guys who can make a legitimate case that they belong in the NFL. Unfortunately for them, there are two roster spots available at best. Here’s who will fight it out for those spots.
The Packers have no idea what they’ve got in Dorsey. He was a seventh-round pick last year and then fell victim to the hamstring epidemic of 2013 and spent the entire season on injured reserve. Dorsey is fast (4.48 40), but his biggest advantage right now is that he’s been in the Packers system for a year.
Harper is one of the few guys on the Packers roster that they didn’t draft. After being a fourth-round pick in 2013, Harper was cut by the Seahawks (who drafted him) and the 49ers (who picked him up off Seattle’s practice squad). Harper was with the Packers for the final three months of the 2013 season. He played special teams and didn’t record a reception. Still, he was a fourth-round pick just last year, so he’s obviously got SOME talent.
Let’s not forget about Myles White! White actually caught some balls for the Packers in 2013 after coming up off the practice squad in mid-October. Nine balls for 66 yards to be exact. Now, those stats aren’t going to impress anyone, but White is the only guy in this latter group to actually have caught a ball from a Packers quarterback in a game that counted.
Okay, Gillett will be lucky if he makes the practice squad. He’s a former college quarterback (Eastern Michigan) turned wide receiver. He came to the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2013.
Well, Wisconsin Badgers great Jared Abbrederis better make the team! Everyone in Wautoma already bought his jersey! Seriously though, it’s hard to know what to think about Abbrederis. He was a boss in college, but he’s a little undersized for the pros. We don’t expect much of a contribution from Abbrederis this year, but very few fifth-round picks get cut year one.
Janis, this year’s seventh-round pick, has all the tools. He’s 6-2, 219. He ran a 4.4 40. The biggest issue is level of competition. Janis played at Division II Saginaw Valley State. He’s probably going to be a little wide-eyed at first. The question is what he’ll look like if/when he rounds into form.
We like Boykin for the No. 3 job. Here’s why. Started from the bottom. Now we here. Seriously, not only was this dude not drafted two years ago, no one even wanted to sign him as an undrafted free agent. He made the Packers as a tryout player. So you know if anyone is busting their ass this offseason, it’s Jarrett Boykin. Give Adams a year and it might be another story, but for now we like Boykin.
With the first four receiver slots sewn up, who gets No. 5 and 6?
We’re giving Abbrederis one slot simply because he was a fifth-round pick. He’ll have to earn it, but this guy was a walk-on at Wisconsin five years ago. He knows how to earn his keep.
We’d love to see Harper do something, but after being cut twice his confidence seems shot. Even though he was on the active roster last season, White is still a bit of a project.
The final spot then, comes down to Dorsey and Janis.
Right now, we like Janis. We’re sure the Packers would love to stash him on the practice squad for a season, but he seems to have special teams contributor written all over him. That’s usually the difference for the last receiver spot on the roster.