Thursday night saw a lot of firsts for the Packers.  Julius Peppers had his first Lambeau Leap.  Davante Adams scored his first NFL touchdown.  Letroy Guion recorded his first sack as a Green Bay Packer.  One of the other firsts that I noticed, and one that excites me greatly, was the first career reception for 2014 7th round pick Jeff Janis.  Janis is an extremely athletic prospect from Saginaw Valley State, but largely because of his division II background he is viewed as a “raw” talent.

A lack of creativity on offense and an uninspiring return game are two of the biggest criticisms of the Green Bay Packers so far this season and I for one believe that Janis can be utilized to alleviate some of these issues.  I’m not sure I trust Janis returning punts just yet but there’s no reason he can’t be the kick returner and a guy that we use on offense in various ways.  I like to think of him as Diet Cordarrelle Patterson.

Am I saying that Janis is as good as Patterson? Certainly not.  Am I saying that Janis is doomed to be as poor of a route runner as Patterson? I’m not saying that either. What I am saying is that physically, the two players are remarkably similar.  Here are the height/weight and 3 main attributes used to qualify a player at the combine for speed and explosiveness for each player:

Jeff Janis (6’3″ 219):

40 yd dash: 4.42 seconds
Vertical leap: 37.5 inches
Broad jump: 123 inches

Cordarrelle Patterson (6’2″ 216)

40 yd dash: 4.42 seconds
Vertical leap: 37.0 inches
Broad jump: 128 inches

From a President’s Physical Fitness test perspective Patterson and Janis are almost identical players.  So why are the Packers not using him on tunnel screens, reverses, jets and kickoff returns?  Janis is actually more explosive athletically than the guy that they sometimes use in these situations, Randall Cobb.

People see Jeff Janis’s size and speed and think that he is the deep threat of the future.  While that’s all well and good and a player whose route you know every time he comes on the field isn’t that worthwhile, there are other ways that he could be used.  There are ways that he could be used that wouldn’t require him to be very refined offensively.  There’s no reason that the Packers shouldn’t start using every weapon that they have in their arsenal, and I think it starts with Janis for 2 or 3 plays a game.


Ross Uglem is a writer at You can follow Ross on twitter at RossUglem