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Packers 2019 Training Camp Roster: WRs battle for role in new offense, final roster spots

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How many receivers will Matt LaFleur need in his offense? Who slides into what roles? No spot on the Packers roster is more up for grabs than this one.

NFL: JUN 11 Green Bay Packers Minicamp
Jake Kumerow is a fan favorite and has the trust of Aaron Rodgers, but can he bust his way onto this team in 2019?
Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In 2019, the Green Bay Packers’ roster looks very different from how it appeared at the end of the 2018 season. A large group of free agents, draft picks, and undrafted rookies will come to training camp to challenge for roster spots and a role on the team’s regular season 53-man roster. Over the next two weeks, Acme Packing Company will break down the roster position-by-position and reveal our compiled predictions for the 53-man roster.

Davante Adams should finally assume the mantle he’s deserved in 2019 as a bona fide elite receiver, but beyond him the Packers face critical questions about who else can do what in Matt LaFleur’s new play-action heavy, vertical passing game.

Gone are the isolation routes and necessity to win every snap on pure talent. LaFleur opens up space for his receivers, gives them the chance to confuse cornerbacks with double moves, and provide the quarterback with clear lanes to find them. With a crowded receiver room and an offense that will rarely go to four receiver sets, just how many guys can make this roster? Can J’Mon Moore shake off a clanker of a rookie season and earn a roster spot? What of Touchdown Jesus?

No position on this Green Bay roster offers more intrigue and excitement than the receiver group. Here’s a look at the WRs on the team and stay tuned for our prediction later on this afternoon.

Davante Adams

Experience: Entering 6th NFL season
2018 Stats: 15 games played, all starts; 111 catches on 169 targets, 1386 yards (12.5 yards/catch), 13 touchdowns
How Acquired: Second-round pick in 2014

Packers fans understand how good Adams has been going back to 2017, when he solidified his standing as a No. 1 putting up numbers even with Brett Hundley. The 26-year-old punctuated that ascension with a Pro Bowl campaign in 2018, finishing with nearly 1400 yards and a game away from breaking Green Bay single-season records. If he can stay healthy, there’s a legitimate chance he’s the best No. 1 receiver in Titletown in a generation.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Experience: Entering 2nd NFL season
2018 Stats: 16 games played, 10 starts; 38 catches on 73 targets, 581 yards (15.3 yards/catch), 2 touchdowns; 2 rushing attempts, 29 yards
How Acquired: Fifth-round pick in 2018

Is the breakout coming because the hype train left the station weeks ago. Valdes-Scantling’s numbers don’t jump out, but his tape from last season does, particularly with his ability to stretch the field vertically. If Rodgers hits a few more of those deep shots, MVS could have put up 800+ yards last season as a fifth-round pick. He’s a perfect fit for LaFleur’s shot play passing game and looks to be running ahead of veteran Geronimo Allison as the No. 2 outside receiver.

Geronimo Allison

Experience: Entering 4th NFL season
2018 Stats: 5 games played, 4 starts; 20 catches on 30 targets, 303 yards (15.2 yards/catch), 2 touchdowns
How Acquired: UDFA in 2016

After getting a juiced short-term contract in restricted free agency, Allison enters 2019 as the projected slot receiver for this offense. How much he plays remains very much a question though. Will he be the outside receiver on the field in two-receiver sets? For much of OTAs, that guy has been Valdes-Scantling. If the Packers only play with three receivers ~45% of the time as they did in Tennessee last season, Allison will have to be efficient with his impact plays, though we saw last season that’s something he’s capable of doing in spurts.

Equanimeous St. Brown

Experience: Entering 2nd NFL season
2018 Stats: 12 games played, 7 starts; 21 catches on 36 targets, 328 yards yards (15.6 yards/catch), 0 touchdowns; 1 rushing attempt, 5 yards
How Acquired: Sixth-round pick in 2018

St. Brown’s development represents the true wild card in this group. He’s the second-most talented receiver in the room and if he can play to that potential, looks like a possible passing game cornerstone. Last season we saw him play hard, run physically, and demonstrate considerable toughness. His future in this offense could be as a big slot where he has a chance to be deadly, but can he start to put it together this season?

Jake Kumerow

Experience: Entering 2nd NFL season*
2018 Stats: 5 games played, 2 starts; 8 catches on 11 targets, 103 yards (12.9 yards/catch), 1 touchdown
How Acquired: Signed to practice squad in 2017

Kumerow will test how much sway Rodgers has with the new coaching staff and front office. Clearly he likes what Touchdown Jesus brings to the table (presumably wine and fishes). He flashed with that long touchdown against the Jets, but Brian Gutekunst will have to weigh his immediate impact ability with the long-term development of J’Mon Moore, as well as the return ability of Trevor and Jawill Davis.

*Kumerow came into the league in 2015 but only ever landed on practice squads before making his first NFL catch in 2018

Trevor Davis

Experience: Entering fourth NFL season
2018 Stats: 2 games played, 0 starts; No receiving stats; 4 punt returns, 44 yards; 1 kick return, 20 yards
How Acquired: Fifth-round pick in 2016

This is it for Davis, a make-or-break training camp and preseason. He won’t be on this roster if he can’t show more than just return skills. There are too many other talented players at receiver to justify rostering him unless he’s Devin Hester as a returner, which — spoiler alert — he’s not. His speed and ability with the ball in his hands after the catch should be a nice fit offensively, so if he doesn’t show anything early, we might not even have to make it to final cuts to determine his fate on this team.

J’Mon Moore

Experience: Entering 2nd NFL season
2018 Stats: 12 games played, 0 starts; 2 catches on 3 targets, 15 yards (7.5 yards/catch), 0 touchdowns; 4 kick returns, 102 yards, 25.5 yards/return
How Acquired: Fourth-round pick in 2018

Moore offers us two questions heading into August: was he simply a mistake? And how quickly is Gutekunst willing to moving on if he is? Answering “no” to the first renders the second moot and that’s exactly what Green Bay needs from Moore. His route runner and double-move ability in particular should make a fit for the system. Performing at least near the level of someone like Kumerow could slide him ahead based on draft pedigree and age (24 vs. 27). Showing improvement, even if he’s not as good as Kumerow or Davis, could be enough to save his spot.

Jawill Davis

Experience: Entering 2nd NFL season
2018 Stats: 7 games played, 0 starts; 4 catches on 8 targets, 40 yards yards (10 yards/attempt), 0 touchdowns; 12 punt returns, 89 yards, 7.4 yards/return; 7 kick returns, 171 yards, 24.4 yards/return
How Acquired: Claimed off waivers in May, 2019

Like his other namesake on the roster, Davis has demonstrated return ability and little else to this point in his NFL career. Luckily for him, there’s no baggage with the quarterbacks and given Trevor came as a draft pick under the old front office, there may be no more loyalty shown to him over Jawill. If either hopes to crack the 53 though, it will take more than return ability to do it.

Allen Lazard

Experience: Entering 2nd NFL season
2018 Stats: 1 game played, 0 starts; 1 catch on 1 target, 7 yards
How Acquired: Signed to the practice squad in 2018

Lazard joined the team late last season to some level of optimism among those of us on the dark corners of Packers Draft Twitter. His size and production in college portended a player who could be a red zone booster and a potential big slot target. Lazard never had time to show any of that, but should get that opportunity in training camp and the exhibition season. He’s a longshot to make the roster could be this year’s breakout fringe roster receiver Packers fans are convinced can’t be snuck onto the practice squad ... who ultimately ends up on the practice squad.

Teo Redding

Experience: Entering 2nd NFL season
2018 Stats: No stats
How Acquired: Signed to practice squad in 2018

This is a true flier. Redding came into the league with the Lions as a UDFA last year but didn’t make the final roster. He spent a week with Washington before ultimately landing with the Packers just after midseason. He’s a bouncy athlete with a burst score in the 91st percentile (in other words, he’s explosive in a straight line). Redding could be a candidate to make a couple splash plays in the fourth quarter of exhibition games and wind up making another club as a result.

Darrius Shepherd

Experience: Rookie
2018 Stats (North Dakota State): 15 games, 62 catches, 1065 yards, 9 touchdowns; 7 rushes, 41 yards
How Acquired: Undrafted free agent

Shepherd is an older prospect without elite college production at the FCS level which he makes up for by having bottom quartile athleticism. Nothing about his profile says “Packers player,” which means they see something particularly unique about him. We’ll tell you when/if we see it too.