clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Packers position battles: Green Bay has tough choice for 5th receiver

New, comments

Green Bay has a talented crowd vying for the fifth and maybe sixth roster spot at receiver.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Since Ted Thompson took over as general manager of the Green Bay Packers in 2005, the team has rarely found itself undermanned at the wide receiver position. Through a bevy of second- and third-round investments, Green Bay has regularly fielded one of the best receiving corps in the entire league.

That trend continues in 2015. Pro Bowlers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb lead the group after combining for 2,806 yards and 25 touchdowns last season. Behind them, Davante Adams appears ready for a breakout, and rookie Ty Montgomery possesses some of the gadget utility that has made Cobb a star.

Behind them is a gaggle of talented, unproven players who will spend training camp and the preseason battling out for the remaining receiver spots. While these players may not impact games as significantly as those listed ahead on the depth chart, the Packers' track record developing wideouts suggests that they could become more meaningful contributors in the future.

Myles White

Third season, Louisiana Tech
6'0", 190 pounds

Though it doesn't seem possible, Myles White enters his third season in Green Bay. His first began on the practice squad, leading to a Week 7 activation and 125 snaps of work on offense. He returned to the practice squad for 2014, though remained there for the entire year. Now, the bigger and more seasoned wideout is ready to push for a fulltime position with the Packers.

White's quickness and skillset lends itself to the slot. However, the presence of Cobb and Montgomery suggest that White needs to contribute elsewhere, whether as boundary receiver or on special teams, in order to secure a roster spot.

Jeff Janis

Second season, Saginaw Valley State
6'3", 219 pounds

Soon after the Packers selected Jeff Janis out of Division II Saginaw Valley State, the lanky, fast receiver took on almost mythical status among their fans. Certainly, Janis' physical gifts suggest a high ceiling, especially for a seventh-round pick. However, the jump in competition from the GLIAC to the NFL was always going to slow the wideout down in Year 1.

As such, the Packers essentially redshirted Janis in 2014. Though he made the 53-man roster coming out of the preseason, the wideout played just 15 snaps from scrimmage as a rookie. Now, Janis must actually prove he can play in order to stick with the team. However, if he performs well in the coming months, Janis will likely see a nice bump in his playing time in 2015.

Jared Abbrederis

Second season, Wisconsin
6'1", 195 pounds

The ACL tear Jared Abbrederis suffered last summer had a ripple effect that continues to be felt in Green Bay. By all accounts, Abbrederis would have factored into the return game and could have prevented the team from using DuJuan Harris on kickoffs. Had Abbrederis earned a role on special teams and as a reserve receiver, it's possible that Janis, who had only two catches during the preseason, doesn't end up on the final roster.

Now almost a year removed from the injury, Abbrederis is once again in position to challenge for roles on offense and special teams. That utility places Abbrederis in a strong position to make the team.

Others

Adrian Coxson - A physically gifted wideout, Coxson made the transition from Miami to Maryland to Stony Brook during a three-year span. Though only 6'0", the receiver has a thick build and can box out defenders for jump balls.

Ricky Collins - Collins' leaping ability and fearlessness make him difficult to defend on 50-50 balls. However, his lack of quickness and deep speed could limit him.

Javess Blue - The Packers have struck gold with Kentucky wideouts before, and Blue has intriguing attributes, not the least of which are his incredible hands.

Larry Pinkard - Once a standout at Old Dominion before getting kicked off the team, Pinkard has the talent to develop into a quality reserve receiver.

Jimmie Hunt - After three unmemorable seasons at Missouri, Hunt broke out with a 698-yard, seven-touchdown campaign in 2014. His per catch average of 17.5 ranked best on the team.

Predictions

Even if Green Bay keeps six receivers on the 53-man roster, someone with draft status, playing experience or both will miss the cut. Janis showed little during the regular season, and Abbrederis and White did even less. Still, one of those players is likely to end up on the 2015 Packers, and given the team's recent investments in Cobb and Montgomery, a receiver better suited to playing along the boundary could prove more tantalizing. He'll have to earn it, but Janis is the best bet to earn the fifth receiver job.

At least one more wideout will stick in Green Bay on the practice squad. Abbrederis would be an easy choice if he passes through waivers, though it's difficult to envision that happening. Coxson, Pinkard and Hunt seem to offer the most of the undrafted free agents, but any prediction for them is a blind guess at this stage.

Jason B. Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He also serves as an SB Nation newsdesk contributor and NFL writer for Sports on Earth.