Davante Adams is the only receiver on the Packers roster that can continually lines-up on the outside play after play. Adams runs his routes physically and has decent enough footwork to help him operate in space. None of that can be said for the other receivers. Playing on the outside is a privilege only bestowed to the best in the league. Obviously, the likes of Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins, and Julio Jones will occasionally play in the slot to create favorable match-ups. But for a majority of the offense, these stars play on the boundary. The Packers may have Adams, but that leaves an empty void on the other side of the field.
Jordy Nelson was an excellent outside receiver in his heyday, but after his footwork grew heavy, he started to find more success in the slot. This certainly played a part in his release because it would be financially redundant to pay a slot receiver outside money.
The Packers wanted to get younger at receiver and they already have a Julian Edelman type presence in Randall Cobb. Cobb can do things after the catch that most receivers can’t and that is why the Packers want to get him the ball in the middle of the field. Something that is much easier to do from the slot.
The Packers were linked to a couple of receivers who maybe could have played on the boundary, but both parties never agreed on a contract. The free agent backwash that remains unsigned likely has GM Brian Gutekunst leaning towards taking someone early in the draft.
It won’t happen with the 14th pick as Green Bay will attempt to relieve their defensive anguish by selecting either a pass rusher or corner. After that, though, the Packers can choose from a number of prospects that Aaron Rodgers can lend a hand in developing.
Imagine what Rodgers could do with an outside receiver that can create separation like Antonio Brown. The Packers offense would reach a new level– similar to what we saw in 2011 when they were third in the NFL in passing offense. Back then, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson were one the best outside duos in the league.
With the 45th pick, it is highly possible the Packers may take the route of a receiver. Proven route runners such as DJ Moore, Michael Gallup, and DJ Chark could all be viable options. And with Rodgers throwing them passes, they too could become stars.
Fans may be lobbying for Geronimo Allison to emerge as this team’s third receiver, but Gutekunst’s activity towards acquiring a free agent says otherwise.
Green Bay hosted Jordan Matthews on a visit last week but he left without a deal. Matthews is another guy who works well in the slot using his size to gain leverage on nickel corners and safeties.
It may be a good thing Matthews was not signed because he would only provide more of what the Packers already have.
This offense lacks a second receiver with the polished footwork to be considered a top-tier route runner. The Packers already have size (Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Michael Clark, Jimmy Graham) and speed (Randall Cobb, Trevor Davis), but now they need to find someone who can combine these facets into becoming a dominant weapon this offense can rely on.
Davante Adams thrived when running these routes in 2017! pic.twitter.com/nNfi5TyIlO
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 22, 2018
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.