Before training camp began it seemed like a very good possibility that the Green Bay Packers would be keeping six wide receivers on the 53-man roster when camp ended.
Jeff Janis was supposed to live up to the hype and gain the trust of Aaron Rodgers so that he could be used on offense this season. Jared Abbrederis was supposed to be healthy and show the skills that allowed him to have a very successful career for the Wisconsin Badgers.
Neither has happened so far and there haven’t really been any undrafted free agents who have made a lot of people take notice either. The only guy to make some headlines has been third-year receiver Myles White. White has been on Green Bay’s practice squad for the last two seasons, but has made some notable plays in this camp. He has been the only one to take advantage of the issues with Janis and Abbrederis by catching about everything thrown to him and gaining some weight to improve his ability to break tackles, which is important because he’s probably only a slot receiver at 195 pounds.
The fact that White is likely only a slot receiver probably hurts his chances of making the roster with Randall Cobb and Ty Mongtomery already entrenched as slot guys. The Packers have gotten positive answers from their top four guys so far with Jordy Nelson looking well coming off hip surgery, Davante Adams making acrobatic catches, Montgomery looking like a potential stud and Cobb looking like he always does. There’s a good chance that foursome is the best in the NFL. However, talk about the Packers going back to five wide receiver sets again should be slowed down until a fifth guy really steps up.
To be fair to Janis, he did his best work last year in the exhibition games, which count more than the practices. However, he will not really be working with Rodgers in the exhibition games, and if he really wants to make a true impact and not just make the roster he will have to gain his trust in practices.
Without being at practice it’s hard to see if that’s happening, but going by people I trust like Packer Report’s Bill Huber and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein it has not. They both wrote recent stories on White’s progress, and Huber said “Janis, who coach Mike McCarthy predicted would take a ‘big step’ when asked about him at the Scouting Combine, hasn’t even taken a small step.” Silverstein wrote “Janis has been inconsistent, especially on the balls quarterback Aaron Rodgers likes to throw up to see if his receiver can best a cornerback who has tight coverage.” He made a play on a slant last night during Family Night, but it was more of a great throw from Rodgers, and Janis also had a drop.
So far, with Janis and Abbrederis not being how fans envisioned what seemed like a luxury pick with Montgomery seems like more of a necessary pick now. This would especially be true if an injury occurred to Nelson, Cobb or Adams. The Packers rarely kept five active wide receivers on game days to begin with, so if there are not six wide receivers worthy of making the 53-man roster it’s unlikely to happen. There is still a long way to go in camp with all the preseason games left but the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart may look different in numbers and names than we originally thought.——————