We had a similar conversation last year heading into training camp. How the Green Bay Packers could keep seven receivers on their roster.
That boiled down to the speculative quality depth at receiver vs. the other positions they had gone heavy on in the past. Two fullbacks, four tight ends, etc.
They ended up doing just that.
After the top three of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, there was Ty Montgomery, Trevor Davis, Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis.
As you know, Montgomery was moved to running back and Abbrederis was released. However, the Packers ended the season with as many receivers as they started it — seven receivers on the roster.
Geronimo Allison was a late-season call-up from the practice squad. Max McCaffrey was a playoff call-up from the practice squad.
So with Abbrederis gone and Montgomery at running back, all seven receivers who ended the season on the Packers’ roster return. Plus, the team drafted two wideouts in the 2017 draft in DeAngelo Yancey and Malachi Dupre.
We like what we’ve seen of Dupre thus far, but that’s an aside.
In theory, the Packers now have nine supposedly NFL-caliber receivers on their roster heading into camp.
That may be swell for the bottom-of-the-roster competition. Six guys are going to fight for two or three spots… unless the Packers go with seven receivers again.
But two or, more likely, three guys will be out from the Allison, Davis, Janis, McCaffrey, Yancey, Dupre group.
We’re not betting against Allison. He showed himself more than capable after being added to the team. And he has the vaunted Aaron Rodgers’ trust nod.
So, realistically, two roster spots come down to Janis, Davis, McCaffrey, Yancey and Dupre.
Four of those guys are Ted Thompson draft picks. McCaffrey, as an undrafted free agent, has the longest odds.
It bears mentioning that all of the remaining four are late-round draft picks.
- Janis (7)
- Davis (5)
- Yancey (5)
- Dupre (7)
Essentially, what’s happening here is the Packers are trying to hit the jackpot on the next Donald Driver. The Packers’ all-time leading receiver was a seventh-round pick.
They’ll have to make contract decisions on Adams after this season and Cobb and Nelson after the 2018 season.
Are these ready to contribute now? Or more importantly, could they contribute two years from now?
Janis has had his chance and we doubt he’ll get another year unless he develops into more than a good special teams player now.
The other guys will be given time to develop and the Packers will hope for the best, but that development may well take place on the practice squad.
What we know from last year is, Mike McCarthy doesn’t really trust more than his top three and sometimes four receivers. The five and lower won’t get hardly any playing time. During the season, those end up being wasted roster spots…
Unless you’re looking to the future.
So this will be a competition to watch.