It is as if the train stopped, kicking off all its passengers, only to have those same passengers get on the very next train going in the exact same direction. The first train was the Jeffrey Ronald Janis Express and now we have the Jake Kumerow Bullett. Some things change, but many things stay the same.
The paralles are striking. They are similar size, both above average, and both came from small schools. Also, they were overlooked in the draft, with Janis being a 7th round pick with Kumerow was undrafted. And most of all, they both have torn up their intial training camp and preseason with the Packers.
Janis first preseason included two touchdowns of over 30 yards. His second preseason, he upped that total to three touchdowns to go along with 10 catches and 149 yard.
And now, Kumerow has dazzled, with two touchdowns over 50 yards, the last being a spectacular catch and run of 80 yards.
Don’t buy the hype. With Kumerow, the discussion should start and finish with his age. He is 26 1/2. To put that in perspective he is 1.5 months shy of being the oldest wide receiver on the team. Randall Cobb is a mere 18 months older than Kumerow. Think about that. Randall Cobb who scored two touchdowns the first game of the Packers 13 game winning streak in 2011, is one grade older than Cobb. He is four years older than Kenny Clark and a year older than Davante Adams, who have a combined for six years of NFL experience. This is a big deal and limits his ceiling. The age of first round picks has steadily decreased since 2000, in part because younger picks tend to have a better career. If Kumerow was 21, this conversation would be far different.
Next, this is his third team he has tried out for. Beginning in 2015, he spent nearly two full season on the Bengals’ practice squad before being signed to the 53, in late December 2016. Last year, the Patriots singed him to their practice squad only to cut him one week later. If he was a legit NFL talent, it is hard to believe he wouldn’t have caught on with one of those teams, at least for a short amount of time.
For someone such as Kumerow to have any use taking up a roster spot, they would need to show something on special teams. Has he? Nope. Not at all. He lacks the straight line speed that is normally required to be an effective gunner. He isn’t a returner, and he hasn’t hardly seen any action on special teams to date. Maybe we will see him there if his shoulder allows him to play again this preseason, but if he had ability there, that would have been something we have seen already.
And finally, the Packers have a glut of young recivers. Adams, Cobb and Allison seem to be locks. That leaves presumably three or four spots for Trevor Davis, Deangelo Yancey, J’mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. The latter three are all draft picks, have above average althectic profiles and have all shown flashes of ability. Their ceilings are higher, no question. And it’s not just about who are the best 53 now, but long term considerations are at play. He not only needs to be one of the best 53, he needs to make a significant contribution now to be worth holding the roster spot for, ahead of 21 and 22 year olds. And Davis, can return punts. For all the hub bub, about his fielding of kicks inside the ten, he did well with the ball in his hands. People forget he gave the Packers a punching chance last year to make the playoffs with his spectacular return vs the Browns. He can learn from some of his poor decisions.
Don’t buy the hype. Get off the train. After all, this is preseason. Junior Varsity. The Packers would be best to cut Kumerow.
Originally from Glidden Wisconsin, Jason Straetz is a lifelong Packers\' fan, who has lived in Maine for over 30 years. He is a writer for packerstalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @jsnstz