We had a similar conversation last year heading into training camp. How the Green Bay Packers could keep seven receivers on their roster.
That boiled down to the speculative quality depth at receiver vs. the other positions they had gone heavy on in the past. Two fullbacks, four tight ends, etc.
They ended up doing just that.
After the top three of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, there was Ty Montgomery, Trevor Davis, Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis.
As you know, Montgomery was moved to running back and Abbrederis was released. However, the Packers ended the season with as many receivers as they started it — seven receivers on the roster.
Geronimo Allison was a late-season call-up from the practice squad. Max McCaffrey was a playoff call-up from the practice squad.
So with Abbrederis gone and Montgomery at running back, all seven receivers who ended the season on the Packers’ roster return. Plus, the team drafted two wideouts in the 2017 draft in DeAngelo Yancey and Malachi Dupre.
We like what we’ve seen of Dupre thus far, but that’s an aside.
In theory, the Packers now have nine supposedly NFL-caliber receivers on their roster heading into camp.
That may be swell for the bottom-of-the-roster competition. Six guys are going to fight for two or three spots… unless the Packers go with seven receivers again.
But two or, more likely, three guys will be out from the Allison, Davis, Janis, McCaffrey, Yancey, Dupre group.
We’re not betting against Allison. He showed himself more than capable after being added to the team. And he has the vaunted Aaron Rodgers’ trust nod.
So, realistically, two roster spots come down to Janis, Davis, McCaffrey, Yancey and Dupre.
Four of those guys are Ted Thompson draft picks. McCaffrey, as an undrafted free agent, has the longest odds.
It bears mentioning that all of the remaining four are late-round draft picks.
Essentially, what’s happening here is the Packers are trying to hit the jackpot on the next Donald Driver. The Packers’ all-time leading receiver was a seventh-round pick.
They’ll have to make contract decisions on Adams after this season and Cobb and Nelson after the 2018 season.
Are these ready to contribute now? Or more importantly, could they contribute two years from now?
Janis has had his chance and we doubt he’ll get another year unless he develops into more than a good special teams player now.
The other guys will be given time to develop and the Packers will hope for the best, but that development may well take place on the practice squad.
What we know from last year is, Mike McCarthy doesn’t really trust more than his top three and sometimes four receivers. The five and lower won’t get hardly any playing time. During the season, those end up being wasted roster spots…
Unless you’re looking to the future.
So this will be a competition to watch.
The fact that McCarthy doesn’t really trust more than his top three or four receivers isn’t that all that unusual among NFL coaches, and the fact that Grandpa Ted drafted two more receivers this year when the Packers had seven on the roster last year just seems to show that much more how TT is not on the same page with MM. Then only reason to ever keep seven receivers on the roster should be if at least two of them are well above average on special teams, preferably with one of them being an X-factor in the return game.
It was a good read, Joseph. I have the impression that your articles have become way better than when you started contributing to TP.
Cobb should be the guy on the hot seat. He’s been stealing money in my opinion. He can’t seem to stay healthy and his production hasn’t matched his pay.
The only play I remember Cobb making was the hail mary push off against the Giants. But he rarely drops the ball and gets open on broken plays. I like him but he needs to do more.
Six on the 53. No more. Too many defensive needs to waste a roster spot on a WR who won’t see the field. If someone gets hurt, it’s not like WR’s are tough to find.
Sometime before I die, I’d like to be able to talk about the Packers defense without getting red in the face or hanging my head in shame.
Mixed opinions on this one.
On one side, keeping 7 guys that time claimed (implicitly) that we so many good WRs that had a legitimate chance to start on another team (i.e., poached if waived). But then, Nelson went down and the “next men up” didn’t hold the fort too well. So? Were they that good to begin with?
And on the other hand, if McCarthy will not play anyone other than Nelson, Cobb and Adams, then what do you have seven guys warming the bench for?
That is McCarthy’s trademark arrogance and overestimating his ability to run “his system”. Much like all McCarthy position coaches are assistant head coaches because they are that good.