Over the next few weeks, we will break down each position on the Green Bay Packers' 2015 roster in detail, discussing each player and making our predictions for the final 53-man roster.
With the entirety of the offensive backfield now in the books, our preview moves onto the Packers' deep and talented wide receiver corps. Since Ted Thompson took over as general manager in 2005, the cupboard has been well stocked at the position, and this season looks no different. The team returns nearly all of its wideouts from a year ago, and if things go well, a third receiver could join the ranks of the stars.
Here is a detailed look at those returning wideouts from the 2014 roster.
H/w: 6'3", 217 pounds
NFL seasons: 7
College: Kansas State
2014 stats: 98 receptions, 1,519 yards (15.5 average), 13 touchdowns
Career stats: 400 receptions, 6,109 yards (15.3 average), 49 touchdowns; 17 punt returns, 90 yards (5.3 average); 59 kickoff returns, 1,339 yards (22.7 average)
Contract: signed through 2018; 2015 cap hit of $4,600,000
Long one of the most underappreciated (and underpaid) wideouts in the league, Jordy Nelson enjoyed his best season in 2014. Not just a big-play receiver, Nelson excels in all facets of the passing game. He has the speed to get behind the secondary and the route-running discipline to shake defenders over the middle and towards the boundary. The football world is finally beginning to recognize Nelson's greatness; He was named to his first Pro Bowl and earned second-team All-Pro honors.
The Packers wisely locked up Nelson to a team-friendly deal through the 2018 season. While he turned 30 earlier this offseason, he should remain one of the league's top wideouts for the foreseeable future.
H/w: 5'10", 192 pounds
NFL seasons: 4
2014 stats: 91 receptions, 1,287 yards (14.1 average), 12 touchdowns; 11 carries, 37 yards (2.3 average); 14 punt returns, 112 yards (8.0 average)
Career stats: 227 receptions, 3,049 yards (13.4 average), 25 touchdowns; 27 carries, 252 yards (9.3 average); 74 punt returns, 722 yards (9.8 average), 2 touchdowns; 74 kickoff returns, 1,915 yards (25.9 average), 1 touchdown
Contract: signed through 2018; 2015 cap hit of $5,350,000
2014 could not have gone much better for Randall Cobb. The 24-year-old receiver chose not to sign an extension with the team last offseason, instead opting to play out the final year of his deal and try to maximize his earnings as an unrestricted free agent. Technically, Cobb never made it that far, agreeing to a new four-year, $40 million deal during the "legal tampering" period in early March. While that price is significantly more than Cobb would have received a year ago, it also isn't totally out of line for a multi-dimensional wideout that made himself indispensible during Green Bay's run to the NFC Championship.
Now, the Packers have Cobb under contract through his prime years, a period that overlaps exactly with Nelson's deal. At some point during that period, Cobb should overtake Nelson as the team's clear lead receiver. That is, if another player doesn't take hold of that mantel instead...
H/w: 6'1", 215 pounds
NFL seasons: 1
College: Fresno State
2014 stats: 38 receptions, 446 yards, 3 touchdowns
Contract: signed through 2017; 2015 cap hit of $893,955
If you believe the hype, Davante Adams should soon become the Packers' next superstar receiver. His powerful build (an Anquan Boldin-esque 6'1", 215 pounds) and nimble feet (6.82 3-cone drill) make him very difficult to cover or even tackle in one-on-one situations. If that doesn't convince you, perhaps the glowing praise of reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers for Adams' star power might do the trick.
At the same time, the same Adams who flashed in big games against the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys also disappeared for several weeks at a time during his rookie year. That's not uncommon for first-year players, but the expectations of Adams are far bigger this season. If he can truly become the third star in the Packers' receiving corps, the offense has the potential to match or exceed the record-setting unit of 2011.
H/w: 6'3", 219 pounds
NFL seasons: 1
College: Saginaw Valley
2014 stats: 2 receptions, 16 yards (8.0 average)
Contract: signed through 2017; 2015 cap hit of $522,848
Jeff Janis has divided Packers fans into two categories: those who think he has star potential and those who have tired of hearing about his star potential. Certainly, Janis' combination of size and speed rivals that of any on Green Bay's roster, but the jump from Division II Saginaw Valley to the NFL proved too large for Janis to contribute much in 2014.
Janis' role on the Packers could easily expand in his second season, but first he has to make the team. With Nelson, Cobb and Adams taking up three roster spots, and third-round pick Ty Montgomery expected to fill a fourth, there should be a fierce competition for whatever space remains at receiver. Janis has the most momentum among the remaining wideouts, but his potential must begin to translate into on-field performance if he is to stick around.
H/w: 6'1", 195 pounds
NFL seasons: 1
2014 stats: (none)
Contract: signed through 2017; 2015 cap hit of $471,140
When the Packers selected Jared Abbrederis in last year's draft, he was immediately penciled in on special teams as a returner. However, an ACL tear dashed those plans and put Abbrederis on the shelf for his rookie season.
Though Abbrederis did not participate in 11-on-11 drills during OTAs, it appears he is on schedule for a full medical clearance in time for training camp. If so, he should once again factor into the return game. Given the level of competition, he'll also need to showcase his skills as a pass catcher if he expects to earn a roster spot.
H/w: 6'0", 182 pounds
NFL seasons: 3
College: Louisiana Tech
2014 stats: (none)
Career stats: 9 receptions, 66 yards
Contract: signed through 2016; 2015 cap hit of $510,000
Even though this is just his third year, it seems like Myles White has been in Green Bay forever. The former-UDFA earned a spot on the practice squad in 2013 as a slot receiver, eventually making the active roster that year when injuries struck Cobb and James Jones. Though White only caught nine balls for 66 yards, he impressed the coaches enough to warrant a second look in 2014.
Though the Packers could technically stash White on the practice squad again, his only realistic option is beating out Janis, Abbrederis and the bevy of undrafted receivers for a spot on the 53.
Stay tuned for our breakdown of the new additions and our roster predictions for the wide receivers later today.