Packers Rookie Tape Watch: Saginaw Valley State WR Jeff Janis

Stacy Revere

We continue our rookie tape watch series with a look at the Packers seventh round draft pick, wide receiver Jeff Janis out of Division II Saginaw Valley State University.

For the second year in a row, the Packers selected a Division II wide receiver with their final selection in the draft, and this year's pick seems like more than just a late-round flyer. Let's take a look at what the game film has to say.

Jeff Janis

Position: Wide Receiver
College: Saginaw Valley State
Height:
6-3
Weight:
219 pounds

Background

Janis hails from Tawas, Michigan. He wasn't a highly recruited player coming out of high school, but a late growth spurt and an increased dedication to weight lighting helped Janis turn himself into one of the most explosive players at the Division II level. Janis led the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) in most major receiving categories after recording 83 receptions for 1,572 yards and 14 touchdowns in his senior season at Saginaw Valley State. In his junior campaign, Janis led the Division II with 1,635 receiving yards on 106 receptions and 17 touchdowns.

Combine Results

  • 4.42 second forty-yard dash
  • 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press
  • 37.5-inch vertical jump
  • 123-inch broad jump
  • 6.64 second three-cone drill (best in group)
  • 3.98 second 20-yard shuffle


Strengths:

  • Exceptional leaping ability.
  • Accelerates into routes quickly and can separate vertically.
  • Terrific production in his career.
  • Creates big-play opportunities
  • Good red-zone target.
  • Exceptional work ethic.
  • Outstanding football character, and is very passionate about the game.

Weaknesses:

  • Has very small hands for a wide receiver of his size, and sometimes cradles the ball.
  • Is not an expert route runner as he ran a lot of go and post routes in college.
  • Does not attack the ball in the air consistently.
  • Not strong enough after the catch for a player of his size, and will look for a soft landing spot at times (I.E. Bill Schroeder).
  • Can be fazed by traffic and physical defenders.
  • Not a consistent blocker in the run game.

Review

My biggest concern with Janis is that he played at the Division II level, and when he did face top competition, like Northwest Missouri State's Brandon Dixon (drafted by the Jets in the sixth round), he didn't put up great numbers (3 receptions for 49 yards). The small hands issue isn't as big of a deal to me as the lack of route running diversity. If you are going to get open against cornerbacks in the NFL, you better be able to run more than two routes.

Overall, I believe Janis can be an early contributor for this offense, especially as a red-zone target. He needs to work on his route running and run blocking if he is going to stick on the roster long-term, but his size, speed, and work ethic make him an intriguing project for coach Edgar Bennett and staff.

I expect Janis to make the final cut when the regular season rolls around, but whether his final landing spot is on the 53-man roster or the practice squad is entirely up to him.

Josh VanDyke covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He is also currently a sports writer for MLive.com.
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