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Behind the Trevor Davis and Tremon Smith Roster Changes

The trade of receiver/returner Trevor Davis to the Raiders, for a sixth round draft pick came out of the blue. As with the release of Mike Daniels, the unusual timing of this move is suggestive.

Daniels was released the same day he reported to Packers’ training camp – I continue to maintain he showed up seriously overweight and out of shape. The joke’s on Detroit, for picking him up for a year at a head-scratching $9.1 million. After two games, he’s been on the field for less than 30% of the defensive plays.

Daniels is not injured. The team depth chart has him behind Damon Harrison, a humongous (353 pounds) DT who has hung around the NFL since going undrafted in 2012. Big Mike has one assisted tackle on the year – looks like he’s burned out and just wants to collect the checks for a final season. And it looks like GM Gutekunst saw it coming.

Trevor Davis

Aug 29, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Trevor Davis (11) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs safety Armani Watts (23) after catching a pass during the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

But back to Davis, one wonders whether he was sent away because he failed to call for a fair catch last Sunday, got crunched by a gunner at full speed, and was lucky to hang onto the ball? I think that’s just part of the story.

Special teamers are always eager to showcase themselves, which sometimes leads them to ignoring coaches’ orders. The results can be disastrous. You probably recall Brandon Bostick stepping in front of sure-hands Jordy Nelson to catch an onside kick. And how about Ty Montgomery ill-advisedly trying to return a Rams’ kickoff deep in the end zone in mid-2018 and fumbling away a chance to win the game.

I don’t think it was just the one miscalculation by Davis that sealed his fate. Trevor handled seven fair catches in the season’s first two games, and almost every time I watched him delay signaling for a fair catch, and at the last instant reaching forward to tenuously grab the ball. He seemed to be pressing to make a return. My guess is that ST Coach Shawn Mennenda tried to correct this and Davis didn’t listen – it seemed a costly turnover was becoming inevitable.

At any rate, the Packers filled the roster spot by obtaining Tremon Smith off waivers. A sixth-round choice of the Chiefs in 2018, Smith had 33 kickoff returns as a rookie, averaging a decent 26.8 yards per return. The Chiefs were uncertain about how to utilize Smith, as they tried him as both a running back and a cornerback. Smith, who’s slight at 6’ and 190 pounds, seems a better match as a punt returner than a kick returner.

What position might the Packers try Smith at? In his four years at Central Arkansas, Smith had 15 interceptions, and was once named a third-team FCS All-American. We do know Gutekunst is wild about speedy players. Though Smith did not attend the NFL Combine, I believe he was timed at a Pro Day event at 4.40 seconds in the 60-yard dash.

Rob Born

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



  1. Zac September 19, 2019

    He is far, far faster than that. Doesn’t make him a player, but his adjusted 40 is closer to 4.33.

  2. PF4L September 19, 2019

    I’ve always looked at Trevor Davis the exact same way i looked at him last Sunday…why, because he’s fast?
    He’s a body who is average on his best day. Yea, he’s had a few key catches over the years, but otherwise his stat line has been uneventful since 2016. I don’t dislike him, i wish him well, but i’m more than ok with this move.
    What i do like is Gute making roster moves, being active, trying to improve the team. Granted, simply making a move doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s a start and a nice change of pace vs. Big Ted who would basically shut it down after the draft.
    In other news, being laid up, i watch way too much tv. I’m watching tonight’s game wondering why Mariota is still a starting QB, Matter of fact, i’m not so sure i’d want him as a back. Maybe a #3 if you carried 3. The guy just shows absolutely no improvement over the years.

    1. PF4L September 19, 2019


    2. Paul Glotz September 19, 2019

      A 4.40 X 60 yard dash???? Wouldn’t that break the human land record? So he runs the 100 Meter in like a sub 7 sec? No way.

      1. PF4L September 20, 2019

        That’s in thin mountain air.

  3. Paul Glotz September 19, 2019

    A 6th round pick is fair. But how does this help GBs dilemma now? They still need a Legit WR besides Adams.

    1. PF4L September 20, 2019

      We have had receiver issues ever since March 18th of 2018. That came about under Gutes hand. Drafting 3 guys and signing Jimmy Graham was the plan. Plans don’t always work out as we wish. We’ll see what happens. I’m wondering if that was the reason why they handed Jimmy 5 million in spring and kept him around, because of his name value alone. Maybe in the meantime the wise move would have been to acquire a veteran, or someone at least somewhat productive.
      Hopefully i’m over reacting and once they get the offense down, pieces will fall into place. But i don’t think our current crop of receivers are keeping any defensive coordinators or secondary coaches up at night.

  4. Howard September 19, 2019

    Punt returner is harder and has much less room for error than returning kickoffs. I think if Smith was a punt returner he would have already returned punts. Smith may be a gunner on punt coverage teams taking Davis’s place. Darrius Sheppard is probably the punt returner. Hate it when rookies return punts, but you never know.
    Davis has shown some poor judgement on returning kicks before this year. I think if anything upset the ST coach it was the fair catch signal and then blocking (penalty). The penalty did not result in lost yards, however, I think Davis could have caught the punt at about the 7 or 8 yard line rather than allow the ball to hit the turf and be downed at the 1 yard line.
    The truth is the Raiders needed a kick/punt returner who could help with receiving. The Packers had a returner (Davis) who may have not been the #1 returner except for a injured player, (Sheppard) and Davis was also bottom of the depth chart as a receiver. The Raiders probably made the call to the Packers for Davis. If the Packers were trying to move Davis I don’t see how they get a sixth round pick.
    If you want to see Davis get crunched watch Davis as gunner in the 2nd Q with approximately 5 mins. left. Ouch.

  5. Deepsky September 20, 2019

    I agree with PF4L. Trevor Davis never looked like an NFL player to me, although I thought he would do better with his speed. He had kind of a bent over look when he ran and he never really gained muscle mass like most receivers do after they get to the NFL. Every time he touched the ball I cringed because it looked like he was going to get killed. I think his lack of elusiveness hurt him.

    I just hope Tramon Smith isn’t a fumbler. He fumbled in a preseason game against the Packers.

  6. thomaslind949yahoocom September 20, 2019

    His judgement off the field ( bomb jokes at an airport ) mirrored his judgement on the field.

  7. Empacador September 20, 2019

    For all the hype bestowed upon Davis from the most recent training camp, it certainly didn’t translate into games for him. He appeared to be the same guy he had been in seasons past. An injury and a trade within 3 weeks are all it took to get the preferred receivers on the 53. Question remains whether they will be utilized.