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Is the Packers’ Wide Receiver Group Already Decided?

One of the biggest questions going into training camp was whether the Green Bay Packers would keep five, six, or even seven wide receivers on the roster.

By process of elimination, that question has essentially been answered — after only one week of training camp. The two players who seemed to be in greatest danger of being dropped are the two having the best training camp so far.

First, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are locks to make the team.

Jeff Janis is safe for three reasons. He’s a dynamite punt team gunner, he’s a fine kickoff returner, and the Packers can hardly drop him – especially after what he showed against the Cardinals in the playoffs – without ever giving him a fair opportunity to succeed in three seasons.

Jared Abbrederis has had the best camp of any receiver to date. Like Janis, he represents a three-year investment, but injuries have prevented him from showing whether he’s an NFL-quality player. Abbrederis has the best moves on the team, he can play in the slot or out wide, and Aaron Rodgers is smitten with him.

In one great week, Abbrederis has gone from being talked of as  the odd man out to being a safe bet to make the 53-man roster.

Rookie Trevor Davis has quickly exceeded expectations, both during the offseason program and the first week of training camp. He has a wow factor. You can’t put a showy player like this on the practice squad or he’ll be picked off by another team. And even if Davis had looked mediocre, we know the Packers don’t release fifth-round draft choices after one preseason.

Davante Adams has had a bumpy first week of camp, just as he has had a bumpy two years in the league. He only displays the talents that made him a collegiate star off and on.

There was the New England game in November 2014, when his six catches for 121 yards led to a big win. Then in the 2014 postseason, he had seven catches for 114 yards and a touchdown, again accounting for the victory margin against Dallas. Coincidentally, both games were narrow 26-21 wins.

In 2015, in back-to-back midseason games against Carolina and Detroit, he totaled 17 catches for 172 yards (though he was targeted a gaudy 32 times).

As for intangibles, he’s a favorite of both the head coach and the QB.

Then there is the overwhelming intangible: Adams was a second-round draft choice. The Packers don’t often abandon such players so soon, even when they don’t show ability at the NFL level. Adams will be given another year to prove himself.

Ty Montgomery, currently on the physically unable to perform list, is the seventh player in the wide receiver drama. Like Janis and Abbrederis, he has performed well in very limited opportunities. As a third-round pick, he’s not about to be let go. However, it’s looking more likely that he could begin the season on the PUP list. That would mean he’ll miss at least the first six games.

Let’s not even think about that possibility for Jordy Nelson.

Just days ago coach Mike McCarthy talked about retaining either five or six wide receivers.

Seven certainly still looks like a possibility, but only if one of those guys winds up on the PUP or injured reserve.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Deepsky August 2, 2016

    I bet the Packers bring in more receivers. My suspicions about the receiving corp are turning out to be true.

    Nelson will not be ready or will have a setback, same for Montgomery, Adams is a bust, Janis still can’t run a decent route, Abbrederis will be injured a few games into the season, Cobb isn’t a number one receiver and Jones is gone. Maybe the 5th rounder will be another Donald Driver.

  2. Abe Frohman August 2, 2016

    Abby is a good slot receiver. I don’t think he can play outside. He is not strong enough to beat press coverage or fast enough.

    Montgomery looks like a PUP designated to return candidate.