Some of you out there are not going to enjoy reading this piece, but Jake Kumerow’s path the making the Green Bay Packers’ 53-man roster won’t be an easy one.
The local UW-Whitewater product has become a fan favorite over the last year, however, with Training Camp on the horizon, he finds himself fighting for a roster spot.
Last season the Green Bay Packers would keep seven receivers on their roster but looking ahead to the new regime led by Coach Matt LaFleur, I do not see that happening again.
In 2018, LaFleur ran with three or more receivers just 58 percent of the time, which ranked 28th in the NFL compared to the Packers’ 78 percent under former head coach Mike McCarthy.
We also have to take into account that the running backs -both in the air and on the ground – and tight ends will play a bigger role in the new system. This will likely limit the number of snaps that will need to be taken from receivers who are fifth or sixth on the depth chart.
With that said, we know that Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are all going to be safe. And although J’Mon Moore had a rough rookie season and didn’t see much of the field, I feel that it would take a catastrophic camp from him for the Packers to give up on the 24-year-old, fourth-round pick prior to his sophomore season.
So that right there puts the Packers at five spots already. If we assume six receivers will make the final roster, that leaves Jake Kumerow, Trevor Davis, Allen Lazard, Teo Redding, and a few others, battling for that last spot.
Although his snaps were limited in 2018, we did see the big-play ability that Kumerow can bring to this Packers team. Prior to his injury in the preseason, Kumerow hauled in six receptions for a whopping 190 yards and two touchdowns.
Then towards the end of the year, we would see that on display once again against the New York Jets when Aaron Rodgers would find Kumerow on a 49-yard catch and run that went for six.
Kumerow has even garnered high praise from Rodgers multiple times saying that he is a “big fan” and that Kumerow is “an extremely intelligent guy who is in the right place at the right time.”
Now there are some who may point out that Rodgers’ praise is evidence that Kumerow is almost certain to make the final roster because of his affinity for the receiver. But to that I say, if Rodgers truly carried that much power within 1265 Lombardi Avenue, would Jordy Nelson have ever ended up with the Oakland Raiders?
I’m sure they take into consideration Rodgers’ thoughts on the offense but it isn’t the be-all, end-all.
While we’ve seen the flashes from Kumerow, most have come during the preseason and when it comes to meaningful games, he is still unproven.
We also have to consider that at 27 years old, he is the oldest receiver on the 90-man roster. There are likely to be other options that are younger and may have a bigger upside that could round out the depth chart.
For example, a player like Trevor Davis who is also lacking in meaningful snaps on offense can help the Packers on special teams as a return man where he put together a very nice 2017 season when he was fully healthy. That season he would finish third in the NFL in yards per punt return and seventh overall in yards per kick return.
Another name to keep your eye on for that final spot is Teo Redding, who is a quick athlete that could prove to be a weapon in the slot – which does play a significant role in the LaFleur offense. During Camp and into the preseason we could see Redding turn into this year’s Jake Kumerow.
Jake Kumerow has a lot going for him, it appears that he’s earned the trust of Aaron Rodgers – which isn’t always the easiest thing to do – he makes catches in traffic, and will likely be in the right place most times.
However, given the others at the position, making the roster is going to be an uphill battle. By no means am I saying that he won’t make the final cut but if the Packers don’t keep seven receivers, I would say the odds are against him.