As much as diehard Cheeseheads love to make the case for guys like Devin Funchess or Marquez Valdes-Scantling drastically elevating their games and ultimately emerging as valuable weapons behind Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, the Packers receiving corps is essentially the NFL’s version of T.J. Maxx — an off-price source of knockoff goods disguised as high-end designer brands.
Let’s start with Funchess, a perennially underperforming college tight end who fancies himself as a pro wide receiver despite the fact that he’s never been able to consistently separate from NFL defenders. Outside of offering fans a glimpse of competent play with his 63/840/8 stat line in 2017, the former second-round pick is nothing more than a Gucci name with an Old Navy game.
As for MVS, he’s more H&M than Hugo Boss given how he dropped as many balls as he caught in 2019 and forced Aaron Rodgers to ghost him during the second half of the season.
What about Equanimeous St. Brown? He once caught a clutch 19-yard toss versus San Francisco way back in 2018, but hasn’t done much since. Is he the next Louis Vuitton in shoulder pads or is he more of the inconsistent route runner who fell to the sixth round of the draft two years ago? Odds are the 6’5” Notre Dame product is little more than a post-holiday markdown until further notice.
And then there’s preseason prince Jake Kumerow, who like a shiny new pair of Gap jeans almost immediately starts tearing at the seams after a couple of washes.
Unlike the distinguished members of this motley crew, CFL import Reggie Begelton rides into the new season off a high note as the Calgary Stampeders’ Most Outstanding Player by posting 1,444 yards on 102 receptions, 10 of which were touchdowns.
And though Calgary isn’t exactly the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, it was a grand enough stage to at least earn him a short-term look-see NFL contract, which the Packers signed him to in January.
Much like Lazard last summer, Begelton finds himself buried on the team depth chart. But with the lack of established veterans in front of him, the soon-to-be 27-year-old can work his way up by showing out in training camp.
At about 6’0”, 200 pounds, Begelton isn’t nearly as big as the 6’5” Lazard, but the two share more similarities than meets the eye.
For starters, both are physical wideouts who willingly sell out, shield defenders and dive for footballs over the middle and along the perimeter. The two also possess exceptional body control to adjust to balls slightly outside of their comfort zone.
Though Begelton wasn’t blessed with the height to be a go-to weapon on 50-50 balls, his ability to spin away from tacklers and gain yards after the catch could see the one-time college walk-on at Lamar University increasingly earn a steady diet of snaps as the season progresses.
It might not happen right away for Begelton just as it didn’t for Lazard, who couldn’t make the active roster last season until Jace Sternberger’s IR placement opened up a spot for him in early September.
It sure will be quite the rags-to-riches story if the chemical engineering major from a tiny school in Beaumont, Texas strikes oil in America’s Dairyland.——————
When ~Reverend~ Ralph Mancini is not tackling hard news in New York City, he enjoys analyzing his favorite sports team, the Green Bay Packers. You can follow him on twitter at ReverendRalph.