This is the third in a series of stories that’s examining the Packers’ roster, position by position, leading up to the 2015 draft. The series continues with the wide receivers.
GREEN BAY – The re-signing of Randall Cobb just before the opening of free agency pushed the receiver position way down the list of draft priorities for the Packers.
That’s not to say Green Bay won’t add some pass-catchers to the depth chart by early May, but those acquisitions aren’t expected to come via high draft picks.
There’s no reason to invest premium selections with Jordy Nelson and Cobb both under contract long term, second-year pro Davante Adams solidly in the No. 3 spot and promising youngsters Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis and Myles White all returning in 2015.
Nelson and Cobb are coming off the most productive season by a receiving duo in franchise history. They each topped 90 receptions (Nelson 98, Cobb 91) and reached double digits in TD catches (Nelson 13, Cobb 12).
Nelson also set the franchise record for receiving yards in one season (1,519), while Cobb topped 1,000 yards in one year for the first time (1,287).
Adams usurped the No. 3 spot from the since-departed Jarrett Boykin fairly early in his rookie campaign, and the second-round draft pick went on to catch 38 passes for 446 yards and three TDs in the regular season.
That was before he came up big in the playoffs with an impressive seven-catch, 117-yard effort that included a 46-yard TD against Dallas in January. Those types of performances could be just the tip of the iceberg for Adams as he matures and gets more comfortable within Green Bay’s offense.
Abbrederis and Janis were drafted in the fifth and seventh rounds last year, respectively, and both had virtual redshirt seasons, but for different reasons.
Abbrederis sustained a season-ending knee injury during training camp and was placed on injured reserve. The Wisconsin native and former Badgers star is an option as a punt returner as well as an additional receiver, provided he’s fully healthy come the start of training camp this summer.
Janis, making the jump from Division II Saginaw Valley State to the NFL, had a pair of impressive TD receptions in the preseason on which he showed off his speed, but he was active for only three regular-season games and got most of his work in practice on the scout team.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said at the scouting combine he felt Janis was coming on strong late in the season, so he’ll be looking to pick up where he left off in his bid for a roster spot and additional playing time.
White spent all of last season on the practice squad after being on the active roster for roughly half of his rookie year in 2013, when he caught nine passes for 66 yards. New practice-squad eligibility rules put in place last year allowed White to be signed to the practice squad as one of two veteran exemptions with two or fewer accrued seasons.