One of the most intriguing position battles that the Green Bay Packers will be paying attention to heading into training camp is where the wide receivers will fit on the roster.
The team is not too far removed from losing Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and James Jones over the course of two seasons. But now, Green Bay once again finds itself with an abundance of talented receivers on the roster.
The top three spots on the depth chart are secured. Jordy Nelson remains the undisputed number one receiver, Randall Cobb will fill the number two slot, and Davante Adams has impressed the team enough to lock up the third spot on the depth chart.
But after that, the Packers have a number of receivers who will be competing for a roster spot and aiming to be the fourth-string receiver. The competition for that position will likely include 2014 draft picks Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis and 2015 draft pick Ty Montgomery.
The early favorite for the fourth receiver spot appears to be Janis. Nelson sat out for OTAs while he recovered from hip surgery, so Janis got in a lot of work with the starters. During that time, he made a major impression on the coaching staff and began to develop a rapport with Aaron Rodgers. His athleticism and high ceiling make him a valuable asset to the Green Bay receiving corps.
Janis’ stiffest competition will likely come from the rookie Montgomery. He was drafted to help give a boost to the Packers’ returning game, but his speed and elusiveness would also make him a valuable wide receiver if he can develop his catching ability. The Packers used a third round draft pick on Montgomery, so they expect that Montgomery can contribute in his first year with the team.
The third receiver who is vying for the fourth receiver spot is Abbrederis. A knee injury kept him out of the entirety of last season, but he hopes to bounce back and land a spot on the roster. He would need a huge preseason to jump past Montgomery and Janis on the depth chart, but the Packers do not tend to give up on their draft picks early.
The competition for the fourth receiver spot will be one to watch during training camp, but the Packers may find themselves in the difficult position of having to leave one of their receivers off the roster entirely. Green Bay kept six receivers on the roster as recently as 2012, but would have to sacrifice depth at another position to do so again in 2015.
It will be hard to leave Janis, Montgomery, or Abbrederis off the roster. All three are talented wide receivers that the Packers have invested draft picks in. But if Green Bay chooses to keep just five receivers in 2015, Abbrederis would appear to be most likely to find himself left out. Future potential, draft position, and the ability to contribute immediately would favor Janis and Montgomery.
Janis is the favorite to lock up the fourth spot, and Montgomery will likely make the team as a return man and the fifth receiver. Abbrederis could also contribute on special teams and be a potential injury replacement if the Packers keep six receivers when the season starts.
Green Bay has one of the best offenses in the entire league, and the production that the Packers get from their wide receivers is a big reason why. No matter who survives the final roster cut, the Packers’ passing attack will still be incredibly talented. With three spots secured, Green Bay hopes that one of their remaining receivers will set himself apart and give the Packers yet another consistent offensive weapon.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .