Over the next two weeks, we will take a look at each position group on the Packers and provide grades and insight on how they performed in the 2014 season. Today, we'll be looking at the wide receiver position. Follow along with all of our positional breakdowns here.
Despite being a position of strength, the Green Bay Packers elected to add three wide receivers in the draft. Few teams draft and develop receivers better than the Packers, but the early results for the group were mixed. In some cases that was due to injury. In others, an inability to break into the active 46 on game days minimized impact. Still, the group has tremendous potential and could collectively see more time in 2015 if Randall Cobb departs in free agency.
How acquired: Drafted in the second round (53rd overall).
Stats: 16 games, 66 targets, 38 receptions, 446 receiving yards, three touchdowns.
Value: Davante Adams' role in the offense was fairly minimal when the season began. He saw just nine snaps from scrimmage in the season opener against the Seahawks, receiving no targets. However, by midseason Adams won over the third receiver spot (effectively a starting position in Green Bay's offense) and began to make a larger impact. He led the Packers in receiving yards in their win over the Patriots and stepped up in the playoffs against the Cowboys. Though his flaws remain in his game -- his back shoulder reads and team-leading four drops -- Adams is an adept route runner who creates separation and knows how to use his 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame and 39.5" vertical to win 50/50 balls. Should Cobb leave this offseason, Adams could be in line for 100+ targets in 2015.
How acquired: Drafted in the fifth round (176th overall).
Stats: (Spent 2014 season on injured reserve).
Value: Because Jared Abbrederis missed the entire season with an ACL tear, his value remains entirely hypothetical. On paper, the former Wisconsin Badger provides competent return ability, refined route running skills, and a quarterback's mind in a receiver's body. However, with just a handful of training camp practices under his belt, the team has little to no idea what he'll offer going forward. Aaron Rodgers has expressed a fondness for Abbrederis, but until the receiver returns to the field his words constitute little more than lip service.
How acquired: Drafted in the seventh round (236th overall)
Stats: Three games, two targets, two receptions, 16 receiving yards
Value: When Ted Thompson selected wideout Jeff Janis in the seventh round, he knew the Saginaw Valley State product would require extra time to develop. Few players can make the leap from D-II to the NFL, and the ones that do generally have surplus athleticism but little refinement. That's precisely what the Packers have with Janis, who's 6-foot-3, 219-pound frame and 4.42 speed shares a lot in common with former-Green Bay receiver Javon Walker. Janis demonstrated the ability to make plays in the preseason, scoring two touchdowns off drag routes. However, there isn't much else to his game at this stage. The Packers' coaching staff has molded receivers with far fewer gifts into contributors, and Janis could very well become a fixture in future seasons. Until then he's an intriguing project.