The Green Bay Packers’ wide receiver group is probably the most widely-discussed position group on the roster so far in training camp. With nine players legitimately vying for spots, the question is far from over, and the next three preseason games should decide how the team proceeds for week one.
Complicating things (perhaps) for general manager Brian Gutekunst is the fact that he has an extra roster spot for two weeks, as running back Aaron Jones will be suspended to start the year. Will that affect how the Packers proceed? A few of our writers think so.
Interestingly, all of APC’s contributors who weighed in this week predict that seven wideouts will make the team for week one. However, the identity of the seventh man is something that there is not consensus on.
How many wideouts do you think will be on the 53 come September? Let us know below.
Shawn Wagner: 7 Receivers
In my initial roster prediction this season, I was pretty set on six receivers making the roster. As we near the regular season, and Juke Kumerow continues to dazzle in camp at an unexpected rate, I see that number rising by one.
Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are all but 100% safe in the final cutdown. Geronimo Allison is the most veteran receiver of the rest of the bunch (remarkable in itself) and I don’t see him losing a roster spot this early in the season. The trio of rookies each showed their individual skill sets against Tennessee. Equanimeous St. Brown has been probably the most consistent of the group, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling had a rather unforeseen breakout game and carries enough special teams value to earn a role immediately in 2018. While many want to jump off the bandwagon on J’Mon Moore after his drops, his size-speed measurables combined with being a fourth round pick make him pretty secure. Finally, after releasing Jordy Nelson, Green Bay will not want to upset Aaron Rodgers further, especially while still trying to reach a long-term extension. At this juncture, that gives the Rodgers-favorite Kumerow just as much of a shot for a job with the Packers as his play on the field.
Mike Vieth - 7 Receivers
My locks to make the roster are the veterans, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison. The Packers need these three to make a solid contribution this year as well as teach the young guys the ropes about playing in the NFL.
Two rookies that made solid contributions during the Titans are most likely going to make the team are Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. While they struggled getting separation at times, they showed good route running, were able to make some catches in traffic and get some yards after the catch.
The last two roster spots will be interesting to watch and I had a difficult time deciding who they would be. With J’Mon Moore being a fourth round pick, you would think he’d be safe but his drops last week are concerning. If he turns it around in the next couple weeks and gives a solid effort on special teams he should make the team.
Fan and APC favorite, Jake Kumerow has shown he can get the approval of Aaron Rodgers and had a good showing against the Titans. The one issue is that Kumerow got most his catches and yards at the end of the game playing against the bottom of the depth chart. He needs to show he can be invaluable on special teams on top of having good receiving numbers for a real shot.
The other two with a chance are Trevor Davis and DeAngelo Yancey. Davis has had successes in past seasons as the Packers top punt and kick returner but he has been fighting a hamstring injury and is losing valuable chances to impress the coaching staff. While Yancey has gotten some praise from Rodgers, he needs to really pick up both ends of specials and receiving to truly be considered for the final spot.
My guess on the last two spots will be Moore and Davis. While I’d love to keep Kumerow, the Packers can’t give up on a fourth round pick this early and the returning ability over the past couple seasons for Davis will be the deciding factor.
Bob Fitch: 7 receivers
In depth chart order: Adams, Cobb, Allison, St. Brown, Valdes-Scantling, Moore, Davis. The first three are as safe of a bet to make the team as my uncle getting too drunk at Thanksgiving. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not.
As for the rest? Practice squad, and hope they don’t get picked up. There’s too much invested into Moore to give up after one mediocre preseason game and he would likely get scooped up by a desperate team, Kumerow is a year older than Davante Adams and hasn’t gone against second string competition (much less first string), and Yancey spent last year on the practice squad and looks like he needs another year of seasoning.
The real competition at the bottom of the depth chart, in my eyes, is between Kumerow and Davis. I think Davis can be a very good returner if he ever uses his brain, and returner is an area that needs to be addressed quickly as Quinten Rollins doesn’t look ready to man the return spot with Davis out, and I am predicting Rollins gets cut. The determining factor here may be using Marquez Valdes-Scantling as the return man, therefore making Davis expendable. If Davis goes, this would leave a spot open for Aaron Rodgers’ favorite practice target Jake Kumerow. He’s received plenty of hype this preseason but it’s hard to justify choosing him over younger, more heavily invested talents when none of them have proven much. In the end, I think Davis’ return ability keeps him on the team unless MVS can prove himself as a viable replacement.
Evan “Tex” Western: 7 WRs
My thought process is what I think the Packers would do based on the results so far, rather than projecting what I would do or trying to predict too much about who will impress over the next three preseason games. With that said, I’m also going with seven wideouts, in large part because the Packers have an extra roster spot due to Aaron Jones’ early suspension. None of the Packers’ depth running backs have shown a reason to keep them around as a third back with him out, so the team can roll with Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery for a few games, then waive one of the wideouts to make room for him.
I’ve actually been playing around with my roster prediction since the first preseason game and for the first time, I have seven on the team now. First, we have Adams, Cobb, and Allison, all of whom are locks. After that, there are a few options, but I’ll address the players who I don’t have on the team first.
First we have DeAngelo Yancey. He was entirely a non-factor in last week’s preseason opener, despite getting the start opposite Adams. He was targeted five times but made just two catches for 10 yards. He also doesn’t appear to have the upside of the rookie draft picks, either, as each of them has size and speed that Yancey does not. For now, he’s lagging well behind.
Next is Trevor Davis. Given his ongoing injury, I would not be surprised if the team found a way to get him onto injured reserve in order to punt a decision on his roster status to next fall. Davis has shown that he can be an explosive return man, but he has not shown signs of much development as a receiver.
That leaves the quartet of J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown, plus Jake Kumerow as candidates. As of today, I think all four make the team, though that is subject to change. Kumerow had a quiet night last Thursday until his 52-yard touchdown, but some of that can be chalked up to inaccurate throws by the quarterbacks. Meanwhile, MVS was the player I was most unsure about among the rookies going into last week and he was the one who balled out with over 100 yards and a score. St. Brown continued to justify my belief in him (and I’d love to see more of him as a big slot receiver), while Moore flashed separation ability and physical play but just needs to figure out his drops issues.
I think the draft picks are all in, with Kumerow — who is 26 and has been exposed to the waiver wire multiple times already — as the last guy on. I still think there’s a great chance that he would make it through waivers yet again and onto the practice squad, but right now I predict the front office to hold on to him, particularly if he shows any sign of good chemistry with Aaron Rodgers this week. St. Brown or MVS could rotate in the WR4 role right now and be good enough, in my opinion, but I’m betting on the team putting Kumerow ahead of them for the time being. Unless there’s an injury in the receiver corps, Kumerow would then become the odd man out when Jones returns.
Peter Bukowski: 7 WRs*
I’m adding the star because the question only implies who will make it through final roster cutdowns. The Packers will have an extra spot to play with thanks to the suspension of Aaron Jones for the first two games. By October, there will only be six receivers on the roster.
Whether or not Green Bay can keep whomever gets cut (I’m guessing Kumerow) after that will be based on the complexion of the league at the time, who has had injuries and how well Kumerow continues to play.
There are complicating factors here however. If the Packers decide to keep three quarterbacks, it becomes exceedingly difficult to justify seven receivers. If they want to keep an extra linemen, the value to that depth would be far greater than a fringe roster receiver. I wish we could have this question in two weeks because so much more would have been decided by then.
Does Green Bay want to keep a sixth DL if James Looney plays well moving forward? There is a chance seven CBs make the team, and the Packers have shown how badly they need depth there in the past. My take for now is seven, but I’m not at all confident in it simply because Green Bay could need the numbers elsewhere. Either way, it feels like six by October.
Paul Noonan: 7 WRs
I think Yancey and Davis are toast. Adams and Cobb are locks, and much as I’d also personally say goodbye to Allison, he’ll probably make it. That leaves the trio of rookies and the Great Whitewater Hope, and I suspect they all make it. Moore, St. Brown, and MVS have all shown enough for me to believe they wouldn’t squeak through waivers and get to the practice squad, and they’ve also shown enough to justify not taking the risk. Kumerow might make it through waivers, but he’s older, he’s played well all of camp, and he looks to have beefed up a bit since he entered the league. Plus the team needs to sell jerseys. I think they run a seven man squad barring injuries, and that is probably the correct call. I mean, if you simply must keep Allison.
Wendi Hansen: 7 WRs
The three who I’ve got on lock are Adams, Cobb and Allison. Not only have these three Packers veterans shown consistency on the field, but they’ve proven to set positive examples for the younger players on the team. As for the rookies vying for their spot on the squad, I really like what I’ve seen so far with J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown. During last week’s first preseason game, they all made some standout plays and held their own. Do they have some kinks left to work out? Absolutely. But as the preseason goes on, I’m confident they’ll find their groove. That leaves one more open spot, a spot I believe will go to Wisconsin native Jake Kumerow. A fan favorite, the long-armed receiver from UW-Whitewater has been kind of an underdog of the crew, but he’s performed well all through training camp and has Aaron Rodgers himself actively looking for him on the field.
Will all three Packers rookie WR draft picks make the final 53-man roster?
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Will Jake Kumerow make the Packers’ final 53-man roster?
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