Position Grade: B
Wide receiver: the position of much hope and frustration for fans this off-season. I tend to air on the side of optimism, but many would give this position a much lower grade. However, with perennial Pro Bowler Davante Adams and several young receivers who have received the endorsement of Aaron Rodgers, it is a position that could quickly become a strength in 2020.
Three-Time Pro Bowler: Davante Adams
Davante Adams had a couple pedestrian first two years in the NFL. He averaged 464.5 yards and two touchdowns during those seasons. However, he exploded for 997 yards and 12 touchdowns in his third season and has made the Pro Bowl in each of the past three years. In 2019, Adams accumulated 997 yards (again) and five touchdowns in just 12 games. He has developed a reputation as one of the best route runners in the entire NFL and has a long career ahead of him.
The New Guy: Devin Funchess
The signing of Devin Funchess was on the few moves that Packers made in free agency this off-season. Given his injury history, it was not a move that excited many fans. However, when healthy, Funchess is as versatile a wide receiver as you can ask for. He can go outside, run the slot, go up and get the ball, and break tackles in the open field. His best season came in 2017 when he had 840 yards and eight touchdowns. In a new system with a much better quarterback, Funchess will thrive if he can shake his injury woes. Just take a look at how good this guy is:
Breakout Candidate #1: Allen Lazard
The “Lazard King” is developing a sort of cult following among Packers fans. He joined the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and began working his way up the depth chart. His potential began to be realized late last season as he earned more trust from Rodgers in important game situations. 2019 was Lazard’s second pro season, but the first in which he played all 16 games. Last year, Lazard tallied 477 yards and three touchdowns. These numbers are VERY similar to those of Adams’s in his second season. If Lazard has put in the work this off-season, he will compete for the second wide receiver spot.
Breakout Candidate #2: Jake Kumerow
If you pay attention to anything Aaron Rogers says about his receivers, you will know that he is a big fan of Jake Kumerow. Kumerow, who spent 2015 and 2016 on the Bengals practice squad, came to Green Bay and won the admiration of Rodgers and the coaching staff. In his first camp in Green Bay, Rodgers brought him up to reporters without being prompted: “You know, I think Jake Kumerow has had a fantastic camp. I think you have to spotlight him.” Despite the praise from Rodgers and impressive preseason games, Kumerow has had some growing pains. He had 219 yards receiving last year to go with just one touchdown. However, given his work ethic and the faith Rodgers has in him, he could potentially have a breakout third NFL season in 2020.
Breakout Candidate #3: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Out of the three young wide receivers entering their third year that I have presented here, MVS may be the closest to breaking out. Unlike the other two receivers, MVS has played in all 16 games in each of the past two seasons. In these seasons, he is averaging 516.5 yards and two touchdowns per season. He could very well take an Adams-like leap in his third season given his health and consistency.
Looking to Bounce Back: Equanimeous St. Brown
Equanimeous St. Brown was drafted by the Packers in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He had a respectable rookie season with 328 receiving yards in just 12 games. However, injuries forced him to miss the entire 2019 season. If he can remain healthy and return to form, he will fight for a spot on the Packers’ roster. He will also give Rodgers another target to look for in a deep receiving core that could surprise a lot of people, Packers fans included.
More Packers Position Grades
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