The chicken. No, the egg, right? Clearly the chicken came first. Something had to lay the egg. But then again, how did the chicken get there to lay the egg? So the egg came first…
Similar to the conundrum already laid out before you, in Green Bay the question of whether the wide receivers are good or the quarterbacks are making the wide receivers look good has played out since Brett Favre took over for Don Majikowski in the early 90s. We saw it play out in Favre’s era numerous times, most often landing securely in the lap of Favre making his wide receivers look good. Javon Walker left for greener pastures and couldn’t quite find them in Oakland. Antonio Freeman thought he’d find Oz in Philadelphia in 2002, only to return down the cheese colored brick road back to Green Bay the following year to finish out his career catching passes from Favre.
Aaron Rodgers has seen his share of wide receivers leave as well to try their hand at catching passes from someone else. Greg Jennings left with his sister in his corner and tried to find glory in Minnesota after winning a Super Bowl with Rodgers. This year we will get to see if Jordy Nelson is able to carve out a path with Derek Carr throwing him the ball. Hopefully he can fare better than Walker did so many years ago.
Wide receivers have come to Green Bay and they have left. What has remained constant is great play from the quarterback position. Yes, Green Bay has been blessed, and they take for granted what has taken place since 1992. 2018 will be no different. The trick will be figuring out the pecking order of those blessed targets. The WR1 and WR2 are pretty much a given, with veterans Davante Adams and Randall Cobb taking those roles. What is up for grabs, with Cobb manning the slot, is that WR3 role on the outside opposite Adams.
The pre-training camp thought is the job is Geronimo Allison’s to lose. Entering his third year, Allison was an undrafted free agent in 2016 out of Illinois. At 6’3” and 202 lbs, he has a tall frame which he uses to run smooth routes and catch balls softly. The kind of catch if you listen closely as the ball enters his hands, you can hear the “thwap” of the ball as it hits his gloves. As a rookie, he averaged 16.8 yards per reception but saw only 11.0 yards per catch in 2017. Both years, he was farther down the pecking order, still behind Nelson and only catching a career high 23 receptions for 253 yards in 2017.
The Packers also have third year Trevor Davis and second year DeAngelo Yancey left over from 2017. Slightly undersized at 6’1” and only 188 lbs, Davis has seen his skills best utilized as a return specialist, as too many of his targets at the wideout position get batted down by the defensive backs. Yancey, selected in the fifth round of the 2017 draft, spent his time on the practice squad for the entire season. Averaging 19.4 yards per catch during his senior season at Purdue, Yancey was seen as a possible deep threat, but thus far has seemed a bit upright and slow to develop his routes.
Unsure of who they would have filling the WR3 role full time, the Packers made wide receiver an emphasis in this year’s draft bringing in one from each of the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds.
Fourth round pick J’Mon Moore, 6’3” 205 lbs from Missouri, who the Packers view as someone who will regularly jump over, bull through, or run past the defender to get to the ball, has the most draft capital. He has already seen first team reps at wide receiver during the opening week of training camp. Time with the starting quarterback, to build trust is huge.
Fifth round pick Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 6’4” 206 lbs from South Florida, came in as the surprise pick by the Packers. A former track star in high school who is in and out of his breaks sharply, he has quickly shown promise in the slot, perhaps stepping in line behind Cobb to fill that role as the Packers may make Cobb a cap casualty in 2019 to make room for Rodgers’ contract extension.
Pre-draft darling Equanimeous St. Brown, 6’5” 214 lbs from Notre Dame, saw a precipitous slide in the draft, lasting all the way until the last supplemental pick of the sixth round. St. Brown is an effortless glider, much faster than he looks, and a tall target with long limbs and a viselike grip. Unfortunately, he has a competitiveness that feels optional for him at times in a Randy Moss-esque way. With rumors swirling saying he told teams he would not play on special teams, it is clear that he will either have to fall in line and help the team in any way possible, or perform better than any wide receiver since Moss just to make the team.
Undrafted free agent rookies Kyle Lewis, 5’11” 203 lbs from Cal Poly, and Adonis Jennings, 6’2” 203 lbs from Temple help fill out the wide receiver room with dark horse candidate Jake Kumerow, 6’4” 209 lbs from Division III University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. Kumerow was an undrafted free agent originally signed by Cincinnati in 2015. Bouncing in and out of practice squads he has filled the training camp highlight reels thus far seemingly catching everything that is thrown his way. From a football family, his father Eric was drafted in the first round by Miami in 1988 and his cousin is Joey Bosa, Kumerow is hoping 2018 is the year his angular build, which he uses to track throws and attack them with an effective box out maneuver in the end zones, will land him a spot on the right side of the bubble.
Current ADPs according to Real Time Fantasy Sports are seeing Allison going at pick 189, St. Brown at 201, and Moore at 203. Valdes-Scantling is mostly going undrafted at this point along with Kumerow who would only be the pick “no one’s heard of but would make you look like a genius” long shot.
Whoever wins the WR3 role, with Rodgers zeroing in the targets, there will be fantasy goodness to be had. No question here, the quarterback definitely enhances the output of the wide receiver in Green Bay.