The Green Bay Packers are loaded at wide receiver. Yes the team did lose James Jones to free agency this offseason and both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are headed for free agency but if we just focus on the 2014 season, Green Bay has more talented wide receivers than it knows what to do with.
Throughout the Mike McCarthy era, the Packers have generally kept five wide receivers on their 53-man roster. It’s standard across the NFL to do so. However, with the depth that Green Bay has accumulated thanks to the selections of Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis in the 2014 NFL Draft, it may be time for the Packers to keep six wide receivers.
The Packers already possess a dynamic receiving trio with Nelson, Cobb and third-year man Jarrett Boykin, who currently make up the top three spots on the depth chart. However, Adams, a second-round pick in May’s draft might be able to work himself into the top three but is at least a very talented fourth option.
After Adams is where the battle for roster spots gets interesting.
That’s because in addition to two talented rookies being added in Abbrederis and Janis, the Packers also have Myles White and Chris Harper returning from last season after both spent time on the active roster. Harper was a fourth-round pick by Seattle in the 2013 NFL Draft and White signed with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent last offseason. Yet, each player has experience in the pro game and will not be easily cast aside.
Harper, a 6-1, 229-pound receiver who came out of Kansas State had some impressive moments during OTA’s but had his offseason workouts cut short due to injury. White on the other hand has looked good this offseason and as a rookie last season caught nine passes for 66 yards in two games at receiver.
When it comes to the 53-man roster, Nelson, Cobb, Boykin and Adams are all locks to make it. Their spots are not in jeopardy. After that there could be just one or maybe two spots available and it will be an all out war between Abbrederis, Janis, White and Harper to determine who claims them.
One thing that may work in Abbrederis’ favor is his ability in the return game. He had some success as a returner at Wisconsin and even returned a punt for a touchdown during his career, so the Packers have been using him on both punt and kickoff returns, giving him a golden opportunity to stand out from his competitors.
Janis was such a value in the seventh round of the draft the Packers simply couldn’t pass him up and at 6-3, 219-pounds, with a forty-time of 4.42, it’s hard to see Green Bay cutting him loose. He is a talented kid and while he has some work to do in the transition from Division 2 Saginaw Valley State, he has big-time potential down the road and we all know how much Ted Thompson likes keeping and developing all his draft picks.
When it’s all said and done, I fully expect both Abbrederis and Janis to make the 53-man roster. Each player will have to earn their way on special teams but when you throw the football as much as the Packers do, you can never have enough young talent at wide receiver, which is why Green Bay will be forced to keep six receivers on its 53-man roster in 2014.