Welcome to the prediction section of the offseason. Over two weeks here at Acme Packing Company, we will be presenting our overall roster predictions for the Green Bay Packers’ 53-man roster as it will be constituted immediately following final roster cuts. Today we continue on with the Packers’ wideouts.
Outside of Davante Adams, everything is in flux with the Packer receiving corps. Even the venerable Randall Cobb is entering the last year of his contract, and sometimes strange things happen to guys in camp when they’re on the last year of their contracts.
The APC crew sees the trusted vets getting the nod in the typical 3 WR set, and the youngsters backing them up, but we’re mostly throwing darts here, so who knows.
Starters: Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison
Adams is a mortal lock to start things off on the outside, and as Adams goes, so goes the offense. While Rodgers can make any wide receiver look fine, he’s much better when he can rely on at least a few All-Pro quality players, and that is exactly what Adams provides. He makes things easier on all of his teammates, and the drop-off from Adams to Geronimo Allison is incomprehensibly steep.
Even though Cobb may not be back next year, his experience, talent, and chemistry with Rodgers will keep him in his usual spot through 2018. While I’m down on Cobb as a true game-changer, he is playing for a new contract, and it wouldn’t be totally surprising to see him bump his yards per reception numbers back above 10.0. If nothing else, Rodgers can rest assured that his favorite dump-off target security blanket will be around one more season.
Allison is the big change as the most likely to start the season opposite Adams. Allison is trusted by the coaching staff, and he knows the offense, but it’s likely he’ll have a short leash if any of the rookies proves to be special. Filling the shoes of Jordy Nelson is a tall order for any player, and in truth, Allison hasn’t really produced consistently on the field, while also not possessing much in the way of projectibility. In some ways, Allison is an interesting litmus test. If no one can beat him out over the course of 2018, it’ll be a nice testament to his efforts and also a huge indictment of the draft class.
Backups: J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown
The APC crew sees every drafted rookie making the team, and among that group Moore is by far the most talented. Counting on any rookie receiver to make a big impact is foolish, but Moore plays the most advanced game of the three, and as a multi-dimensional threat who can, if nothing else, serve as a big-bodied, sure-handed red zone target. Moore is likely to see the field often, and if he doesn’t push Allison, or whoever, for a starting job by midseason, I’ll be genuinely surprised.
The big burner will have to prove he has a role on special teams, but it’s not hard to see him taking on the Jeff Janis spot in the lineup. MVS is an unpolished, athletic burner who should tantalize unsophisticated fans who like huckin’ deep balls for years to come.
Equanimeous St. Brown
I’m Extra Special Bitter about having to type his name already, but ESB offers another big target in need of a lot of work. While he develops, he should be able to contribute on special teams, and serve as an occasional post-up threat if needed. If nothing else, he can keep former teammate DeShone Kizer company on the bench.
Released: Michael Clark, Trevor Davis, Jake Kumerow, DeAngelo Yancey
Michael Clark lacks the skills and hands to be a true weapon as an NFL player. Last year his giant frame stood out among a shorter group of receivers, but this season the Packers will be employing superior giants. You can’t really be a bust as a 5th-round pick but Trevor Davis is a bust. He’s going to need to blow everyone away on special teams if he’s going to stick. Jake Kumerow is a career practice squad player and will have to blow everyone away in camp to beat out a draft pick for a roster spot. We don’t see that happening. DeAngelo Yancey spent year one on the practice squad and hasn’t had an opportunity to prove himself. If that opportunity happens to arise, he’ll need to beat out the guys hand picked by the new regime.
Of the players missing our cut, all but Kumerow earned at least one vote to make the 53-man roster. Clark and Davis each appeared on five of the 12 roster submissions, while Yancey got a single vote.