Following the season ending injury to Green Bay Packers rookie wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, there has been a lot of speculation on how many receivers will make the Packers 53-man roster and who will replace the former Wisconsin Bader in the pecking order. Right after the injury, it appeared that Myles White had the upper hand but since then fellow rookie Jeff Janis has been lighting it up in practice and now is the front runner for the fifth and possibly final receiver spot on the active roster.
Janis, a seventh-round pick from Division II Saginaw State, missed a good chunk of training camp due to shingles but since he returned he has done nothing but make plays on a consistent basis. Last week, Janis had possibly the best catch in training camp as he made a one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone with starting cornerback Sam Shields draped all over him. Then on Monday, Janis did it again, beating Casey Hayward for a sideline catch that gained 40 yards.
“He’s raw, he needs the work,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “But he’s a big athletic receiver that has excellent body control.”
The 6-3, 219-pounder dominated the lesser competition he faced in college to the tune of 189 receptions, 3,207 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also is an athletic specimen, running the forty-yard-dash in 4.42 seconds, has a 37.5 inch vertical and benched 225 pounds 20 times at the combine.
Some observers of the team have said that Janis reminds them of Nelson with his ability to stretch the field and make acrobatic receptions, he even has gotten some work with Aaron Rodgers, who rifled a 30-yard completion to him across the middle of the field earlier this week in practice.
At the end of the day, Janis still has some work to do to make the final 53-man roster. He needs to make some plays in preseason action and continue to impress in practice. At this point, it’s hard to say if the Packers are going to keep five or six receivers but either way, if Janis keeps making plays, he will find himself on active roster come week one against the Seattle Seahawks.