Thursday, May 22, 2014

Packers Depth Chart: Wide Receiver

At this time of year, it's not surprising to see as many as ten wide receivers on the Green Bay Packers roster. What is surprising is that they selected three wide receivers in one draft. It didn't used to be uncommon for GM Ted Thompson to draft wide receivers (from 2005-2008, the Packers selected two wide receivers in each year's draft, and also used a 2nd or 3rd round pick on one). However, in the five drafts from 2009-2013, only one wide receiver was selected with a high pick (Randall Cobb) and three overall.

In recent years, the Packers have filled out their wide receiver depth with young veterans or rookie free agents. WR Jarrett Boykin has been a success story but there are at least a dozen other players who didn't work out. The Packers have lost a lot of experience at the position over the past two years (Jennings, Driver, Jones) so it makes sense that they'd want to add some quality in addition to quantity this year.

Roster locks: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Davante Adams. I'd like to see one more solid season from Boykin before anyone talks about a long-term extension, but he should be a very good No. 3 wide receiver. I won't know if Adams is ready to contribute in 2014 until I see him in a preseason game.

The Packers are probably going to keep six wide receivers, one more on the active roster and another on the practice squad, so the final six players are fighting for just those two spots.

Myles White. He lined up on 125 offensive plays last season which makes him the number five WR last season in terms of snap count. He had a strong 2013 preseason, except he had trouble holding onto the ball, which is a sure fire way to get released. Luckily for him, he was signed to the practice squad at the start of the 2013 season and promoted to the active roster in October after Cobb was hurt. If he can bulk up without losing any quickness (and avoid dropping passes) he could be a roster surprise. However, he's probably not eligible for the practice squad ( says he played in 7 games last season and players with over six career active games are ineligible). He's going to have to prove he's worthy of a spot on the 53 man roster, and he might lose his spot to another receiver who's still eligible for the practice squad.

Kevin Dorsey and Alex Gillett. If Cobb hadn't been injured, and Jeremy Ross hadn't earned his release, neither player might have stuck around/returned after the last preseason game. I'm not expecting either of them to stick next season.

Chris Harper. He was a 4th round pick by the Seahawks in 2013, but he's been released twice since then. He only played on two offensive snaps for the Packers last season, but he played a lot on special teams, which makes me believe he's a great athlete but not much of a receiver. I don't think the Packers would have drafted either of the following two players if they really liked Harper.

Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis. I really want Abbrederis to succeed, so I hope he wins the No. 5 spot, but he'll be battling a similar player (White) who already has a year of NFL experience under his belt. Janis seems like an obvious choice for the practice squad; an amazing athlete with speed and size who could play offensive and defensive roles on the scout team.

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