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Here’s the Pack’s Problem: One WR1, zero WR2s, seven WR3’s

Marquez-Valdes-Scantling WR catch against Titans

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (83) makes a catch against Tennessee Titans cornerback Demontre Hurst (20) in the third quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Opinions are all over the map about the Packers’ wide receiver corps. One commenter goes so far as to say it’s the team’s second deepest position. This might be true in terms of numbers, but the distribution of talent worries me.

As the title suggests, and most would agree, one top-notch receiver backed up by a group of so-so – or dare I say third-rate players – isn’t a good formula for the makings of a powerhouse pass attack. Let’s gather up some evidence. By the way, that seventh WR3 is Allen Lazard.

The Packers have been a passing-dominant team for over 25 years now. Who have been our #2 wide receivers? Below is a look at the WR2’s on ten recent Packers teams – I’ve used even years so as to not drown you in statistics. 2007 was the last of the Favre years.

  • 2018: Marquez Valdes Scantling (MVS) – 38 catches in 73 targets, 581 yards, 15.3 yard catch average, 2 touchdowns
  • 2016: Davante Adams – 75 catches in 121 throws, 997 yards, 13.3 average, 12 TDs
  • 2014: Randall Cobb – 91 catches in 127 throws, 1,287 yards, 14.1 average, 12 TDs
  • 2012: James Jones – 64 catches in 98 throws, 784 yards, 12.3 average, 14 TDs
  • 2010: James Jones – 50 catches in 87 throws, 679 yards, 13.6 average, 5 TDs
  • 2008: Donald Driver – 74 catches in 116 throws, 1,012 yards, 13.7 average, 5 TDs
  • 2006: Greg Jennings – 45 catches in 104 throws, 632 yards, 14.0 average, 3 TDs
  • 2004: Donald Driver – 84 catches in 137 throws, 1,208 yards, 14.4 average, 9 TDs
  • 2002: Terry Glenn – 56 catches in 106 throws, 817 yards, 14.6 average, 2 TDs
  • 2000: Antonio Freeman – 62 catches in 120 throws, 912 yards, 14.7 average, 9 TDs

WR2 Is a Bellweather

The second weakest WR2 showing (yardage-wise) was in 2006, with rookie Greg Jennings. The worst was last season, with rookie MVS.

The lowest catch rates were those of Glenn (53%), MVS (52%), Freeman (52%), and Jennings (43%) – three of these four teams failed to make the playoffs.

The best year by a WR2 was that of Cobb in 2014, when he finished behind Jordy Nelson’s 1,519 yards – the infamous year of the meltdown against the Seahawks. Next best was 2004 when Driver finished behind Javon Walker’s 1,382 yards.

It seems, and quite logically, that having two talented receivers in the lineup is a great predictor of a playoff team.

And doesn’t that make sense? Defenses can double-team one wide receiver, but can’t practically double-team two.

Time will tell whether MVS ascends into the ranks of these other nine WR2’s – all of whom had fine NFL careers.

Rob Born

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



  1. R.Duke February 2, 2019

    That assessment is on the money. My point on the blogoshere is that the Packers need to pick a WR with a high pick. That may be the One or the Two pick. It was no accident Gutedkunst made moves on Robinson and Watkins. We don’t know the full story on the bids put in front of these guys but it has the aura of a russ ball intervention blowing the deal. Think for a moment about what the state of the receiving corps would be if Adams goes down for the count?

  2. Howard February 2, 2019

    The Falcons were 8-8 in 2015. The Falcons had Jones who warranted double teams. LaFleur and Shanahan were on that staff. I think we have to look no further than the 2016 Falcons to see what LaFleur would like to do.

    The biggest move that improved the Falcons offense in 2016 and a visit to the Super Bowl beside getting a quality center in free agency (strengthen interior line) was signing two receivers that complimented WR#1. The free agent route by the Falcons in signing Sanu and Gabriel was not flashy but the moves made an immediate impact on the Falcons offense.

    You would think that MVS and EQ could be compliments to Adams strengths. I will say it again that Raih and Hostler were big mistakes as coaches. Raih should have never been a WR coach with the young WRs on the team. Raih was Spicoli. How can you not retard the growth of young WRs when Spicoli is coaching them.

    I think the Packers on offense need to add at least one very good free agent at guard and receiver, then see who is the best player available in the draft. If the BPA is offense and at one of those two position then take a shot, but don’t overdraft for need.

  3. PF4L February 2, 2019

    We all know if you want to talk about the wr position being deep, we’re talking about 2011-2013.

    In fairness to the commentator, he mentioned the deepest position on this team.

    With that said, talking about deep positions on this team is like talking Mark Murphy for NFL Executive of the year.

  4. Deepsky February 2, 2019

    This article says less about MVS being a good second receiver and more about Cobb having a terrible season. Cobb was supposed to be the number 2 receiver. Cobb only had one good game all season. MVS did more than he was supposed to.

    Of the 9 receivers you have listed, only 3 had a better rookie season than MVS. That bodes pretty well for a guy that probably has more potential than any of them.

  5. tony February 2, 2019

    Geronimo Allison was leading The Packers in yardage before he went down with injury.
    Cobb also injured.
    Anyone who expected the 3 rookie receivers to step up and replace those 2 was dreaming.
    Especialy when Aaron Rodgers got “complacent”.

    I can see The Packers taking a wr in the 2nd or 3rd round, but to expect him to come in and be the #2 is dreaming.

    Allison will be back and healthy, Cobb probably not.

    The experience the 3 rookies got will only help them when the preseason battles begin.

  6. Empacador February 2, 2019

    New coach, new staff, new offensive philosophies. Before wasting a high draft pick on a WR, I’m curious about what the existing guys can do, along with the TEs and RBs under LeFleur. If he actually utilizes his players in the offense and not simply pay lip service, I feel as though the draft picks could go toward higher, more pressing needs. I’d place a kicker as a higher priority than a wide receiver right now. Who knows how Crosby will respond to this coaching change. He’s fortunate McCarthy was as committed as he was to not wanting change for the sake of change.

    1. Cheese February 2, 2019

      No kidding. Crosby has definitely had his fair share of mulligans with McCarthy at the helm. Even when they brought in guys for “competition” it was more of just an act to appease the fanbase, or a half ass motivational tactic to make it look like McCarthy might actually hold someone accountable. I think for the most part Crosby can be decent, but when he’s in a downward spiral man can he take it to another level. Should be interesting to see how that plays out next season.

  7. Ferris February 2, 2019

    Kumerow is a #1. Or he will be. In case I’m wrong (doubtful) go out and sign a FA WR #2. There are a ton of them out there that would be great with Rodgers. If he’ll throw them the ball that is…like…Robby Anderson…make him an offer and see if the Jets match it. Get John Brown, Maybe even Devin Funchess. There are players out there.

    1. Yawa February 3, 2019

      It’s tough to have that much confidence in Kumarow yet but I totally agree that veteran receivers are easy enough to find. We have so many holes on defence and O-Line, if they draft a wr before day 3 my heads gonna explode. And we don’t need to blow the bank on AB, Rodgers needs to have some faith in his guys and earn his pay check.

      1. Ferris February 3, 2019

        I was joking on Kumerow…I guess my sarcasm can’t be read. I like him though. Point is what you said, plenty of help out there.

  8. Skinny February 3, 2019

    Which is why I said they should be all in on going after Antonio Brown if he is indeed on the trade blocking. I dont care about the diva stuff. That fucking guy is a great WR. Pair him with Davante and Kumerow and offense is fixed.

  9. PF4L February 3, 2019

    Skinny has never seen a big name free agent or player that he wasn’t insisting the Packers sign…lol

    Ok first of all, enough of Antonio Brown, the last thing this team needs is to sign a 30 year old problem child. I can just imagine the scenes of him getting on Rodgers and LeFleur because he thinks Adams is getting to many touches. You want a veteran productive receiver? They could have had one for 3 or 4 million/year.

    I need to say that this was a well written and thought out article, Kudos Rob. As well as most of the comments.

    I couldn’t think of anything more foolish than drafting a receiver high in the draft after you just drafted 3 of them. When i say foolish, it’s because you have so many needs on this team and they sure as hell better start paying attention to the O-line or nothing else will matter.

    One thing this teams needs to start doing is hitting on players, be it the draft and/or free agency. That’s the bottom line. This team can’t keep using it’s resources while missing on a single position. How many years have we been trying to solidify our corners? Were still not sure we have that down yet. So now we still need to keep drafting receivers? See a pattern? all the while we ignore the O line, save for a 2nd round bust and another draft pick who has better things to do, apparently.

    This team needs players, like i’ve never seen them need players before and i’ve been a fan for quite some time.

    Go for the non sexy players, go for the O line. that’s where games are won and lost, that’s where you start.

    Roll up your sleeves Gute, there is work to do and your a year behind..Don’t start it by making another mistake (Graham)

    Tick Tock

    1. Kato February 4, 2019

      Totally agree PF4L. My head will explode if they trade for Bryant. Or sign LeVeon Bell for that matter.