Over the next two weeks, Acme Packing Company takes a look at each position group on the Green Bay Packers and provides grades and insight on how they performed in the 2015 season. Today, we examine the wide receivers. Follow along with all of our positional breakdowns here.
While not the position hardest hit by injuries, few could argue that the preseason loss of Jordy Nelson did not dramatically alter the Packers' journey in 2015. Nelson's absence not only limited the team's once-prolific vertical passing game, but it also forced young players into unfamiliar roles. Rookie receiver Ty Montgomery became a featured weapon early in the year after an ankle injury sidelined second-year man Davante Adams.
Somewhat fortunately for Green Bay, wideout James Jones, who spent his first seven years with the team, became available at the end of the preseason. Jones' physical limitations prevented him from replicating what Nelson provided, but he gave Aaron Rodgers a valuable veteran presence outside.
Below, we review the wide receivers that the team acquired in 2015.
How acquired: Signed to one-year, $585,000 deal
Stats: 50 receptions, 890 receiving yards, eight touchdowns
Two vastly different statements can be made about Green Bay's noted hoodie enthusiast in 2015: He shouldn't serve as a No. 1 receiver at this point in his career, but the Packers would have been lost without him. Jones came in off the street in September after the New York Giants released him as part of their final cutdown. Jones made an immediate impact, catching four passes for 51 yards and two scores during his first game back with Green Bay in over a year. Hamstring issues and general wear limited his production down the stretch, but he led the offense in receiving yards and touchdowns, remarkable ROI for a guy few teams wanted. Still, when compared to No. 1 receivers on other teams, his performance doesn't quite stack up.
How acquired: Drafted in third round (94th overall)
Stats: 15 receptions, 136 yards, two touchdowns; seven kickoff returns, 218 return yards
When it comes to drafting receivers, the Packers generally prefer converted quarterbacks (Randall Cobb, Jared Abbrederis) and athletic kickoff and punt returners with upside (Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings). Ty Montgomery's background includes aspects of both. He played under center as well as running back and wideout in high school before developing into one of college football's more dangerous return men at Stanford. With the Packers, he made an impact on offense and special teams, catching two touchdowns in six games while averaging 31.1 yards per kickoff return. An ankle injury sent him to the sidelines right before the team's Week 7 bye, ultimately requiring surgery to repair some cartilage. Still, Green Bay has to feel encouraged by Montgomery's early play.