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2021 Green Bay Packers Wide Receivers Bring Intrigue to the Offense

Packers wide receivers should provide options for Aaron Rodgers. With a mix of new and old faces, there should be enough weapons for Rodgers.

For many years, some Green Bay Packers fans have been clamoring for Aaron Rodgers to get more help at the skill positions. Even with head coach Matt LaFleur coordinating one of the top offenses in 2020, many fans still wanted more weapons. This off-season, general manager Brian Gutekunst delighted many fans by bringing in some help. A mix of new and returning Green Bay Packers wide receivers could bring some interesting traits to the offense.

Green Bay Packers Wide Receivers Should Provide Options for Aaron Rodgers

Since taking over for Mike McCarthy, LaFleur has established a player-friendly offense. Along with Rodgers, another group that has benefitted from his scheme is the Packers wide receivers. In McCarthy’s scheme, the Packers wide receivers were asked to consistently win one on one battles against opposing cornerbacks. For a long stretch of time, McCarthy’s offense worked and was highly successful. But like most things in the NFL, opposing teams caught on. With McCarthy stubbornly refusing to adapt, the offense became stale and ineffective.

LaFleur brought with him new ideas and concepts. His offense has been a breath of fresh air. Instead of asking the Packers wide receivers to win one on one battles seemingly almost every down, his scheme created open wide receivers.

The options at wide receiver have been semi-limited the past couple of seasons. But the 2021 Packers wide receivers will provide a lot of options for LaFleur and Rodgers. The group that the Packers have heading into this season brings a lot of different talents. Which should open up LaFleur’s offense even more.

One of the Best

Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. And while there is no arguing his elite skill level, he has been blessed with some pretty phenomenal wide receivers. Topping that list is Davante Adams.

A former second-round pick of Ted Thompson, Adams has made himself into arguably the best receiver in the NFL. For proof, look no further than what Adams did in 2020. Last season, he hauled in a career-high 115 receptions for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns, another career-high. Watching Rodgers throw to Adams is a thing of beauty. It is hard to name another passer-pass catcher connection that is on the same page as much as Rodgers and Adams currently are.

Adams will be entering the final year of his contract this season. He has stated he wants to be the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL and rightfully so. He is the Packers best wide receiver and his numbers prove that he is the best in the NFL. Gutekunst and Russ Ball should be prepared to pay Adams what he is worth.

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The Veteran and the Rookie in the Slot

After passing on taking a wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft, Gutekunst finally decided to spend a draft pick on a wide receiver in this year’s NFL draft. Gutekunst traded up in the third round to select Clemson wide receiver, Amari Rodgers. Rodgers is an electric receiver out of the slot. When he has the ball in his hands, he makes people miss. Built like a running back, Rodgers should give LaFleur and Rodgers another weapon with which to work. The Packers have not had a pure slot receiver since Randall Cobb.

And speaking of Cobb. With all of the drama that came with Aaron Rodgers this off-season, there was a silver lining. The Packers brought back Cobb, a favorite of both the fans and Rodgers. No matter why he was brought in, it was a move should be applauded.

Cobb isn’t the same receiver he was in 2014 when he caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdown receptions. However, he still is a quality NFL pass catcher. Last season, playing in an awful Houston Texans offense, he was still able to catch 38 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns.

Not only does Cobb provide a veteran pass-catcher for the Packers offense, but he will also provide solid leadership. And Cobb and Amari Rodgers already had a relationship before Cobb returned to Green Bay. Excluding Adams, the Packers wide receivers have been without a veteran presence. Cobb should provide that as well as contribute on the field.

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Outside Receivers Provides Size

Cobb and Rodgers will provide depth in the slot. Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling will provide the same type of depth at the outside wide receiver position.

Lazard has turned out to be quite the pick-up by Gutekunst. Picked up from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018, Lazard has etched out a spot in the Packers offense. While he doesn’t have blazing speed, Lazard has great size (6’5″) and has shown the ability to get open. Lazard is also the best blocker out of the Packers wide receivers. The Packers ground game has flourished and Lazard’s blocking on the edge has been a big reason why.

If Aaron Rodgers needs to take a shot downfield, Valdes-Scanting is the usual target. While Valdes-Scantling has struggled with drops at times, his ability to make plays downfield has more than overshadowed those issues. Last season, he posted a 20.9 yards per catch average.

Both Lazard and Valdes-Scantling played big parts in the Packers offense in 2020. They both bring different traits to the position, but both are vital to the Packers success in 2021.

Veterans Trying To Win a Spot

Adams, Rodgers, Cobb, Lazard, and Valdes-Scantling look to have the top five spots locked up at wide receiver. That leaves possibly just one spot to fill.

Devin Funchess signed with the Packers as a free agent prior to 2020. However, due to COVID concerns, he sat out last season. He has returned this season and is trying to win a spot on the Packers roster. But Funchess will have a lot of obstacles to overcome. He hasn’t played since 2019 and in that season, while playing for the Indianapolis Colts, he played in one game and caught one pass before he suffered a broken collar bone. Along with that, he doesn’t play special teams, which limits his options. He will need to have a strong camp to earn a spot.

Another wide receiver with experience vying for a spot is Equanimeous St. Brown.  A former draft pick of Gutekunst, St. Brown has great size and natural ability. However, that has not matched his output. He missed all of 2019 with an ankle injury but returned last season. His numbers in 2020, seven receptions for 117 yards with one touchdown catch, weren’t overwhelming. He has been quiet so far this camp and it might be an uphill battle to stay with the Packers. If they do part ways, he will join a long list of late-round picks of Gutekunst that didn’t pan out.

Youthful Prospects

Malik Taylor surprised many by making the Packers 2020 roster. He caught five passes for 66 yards and had one touchdown reception. Taylor did see time as a kickoff returner but he might have been one of the most ineffective returners in the NFL in 2020. But Taylor is young and can play on special teams, which could give him an edge for the last spot.

Juwann Winfree spent most of the 2020 season on the Packers practice squad. He was elevated for two of the Packers games last season but didn’t register a reception. Winfree stood out in OTAs this spring and is having a strong training camp. If he continues to make plays this preseason, he will make Gutekunst’s decision on the last receiver very difficult.

The last prospect, who has been a favorite of ours, is Reggie Begelton. After a standout 2019 season with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders Begelton signed a deal with the Packers. Without a normal training camp and no preseason games in 2020, Begelton was hurt by the lack of game action. After being cut before the season, he was re-signed to the Packers practice squad. He was elevated for one game but did not do much in that time. From early reports, he is catching some balls from Jordan Love in this year’s training camp. Begelton seems to have some upside as a pass-catcher. If he can show he can contribute to special teams in preseason games, he could have a chance to win the last spot.

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Projected Packers Wide Receivers Group for 2021 Season

Adams, Cobb, Rodgers, Lazard, Valdes-Scantling, and Begelton. Signed to the practice squad: Taylor and Winfree.

Main Photo

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