Packers could be content to stand pat with young wide receivers
Second in a 10-part Packers draft position-preview series: Wide receivers.
GREEN BAY - A year ago, general manager Brian Gutekunst cleared the way for the emergence of Davante Adams as the Green Bay Packers' No. 1 receiver by cutting Jordy Nelson. Adams responded with an 111-catch, 1,386-yard season.
Adams is now a star and anchors this group. Randall Cobb was allowed to leave via free agency and Geronimo Allison was re-signed to a $2.8 million deal. And, a trio of 2018 draft picks are now entering year two.
One could argue the Packers need a “true” slot receiver and they did kick the tires on the position in free agency before devoting resources to the defense, but new coach Matt LaFleur said he believes Allison can play inside (as can Adams). The Packers have never been shy about picking receivers and they may add competition to the room, but it’s possible Gutekunst believes he addressed the position in the draft a year ago.
Priority level: Low.
A capsule look at three to five players the Packers could draft in the first round or later.
DeKaylin “D.K.” Metcalf, Mississippi
The good: Fits the physical parameters the Packers like in receivers and runs very well (4.33-second 40-yard dash). Would give the club another big target on the outside and in the red zone.
The bad: Played just 21 games in three seasons in college, bookending his college career with season-ending foot and neck injuries. Caught a total of 67 passes for 1,228 yards.
Na’Keal Harry, Arizona State
The good: Productive in three seasons (37 games, 213 catches) and is known for being well-versed in catching back-shoulder passes. Strong in going for the ball and a willing blocker.
The bad: Ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash and doesn’t seem to project long speed in the NFL. Despite his frame and strength, didn’t catch a lot of red-zone touchdowns.
Parris Campbell, Ohio State
The good: More of a “true” slot receiver with ability to go outside, caught 79 of his 90 catches from the slot per Pro Football Focus. Familiar with being used on jet sweeps and motions. Can also return kicks.
The bad: Needs some overall polish due to the specific role he played for the Buckeyes, including learning how to run different routes. Also will have to adjust to man coverage.
Preston Williams, Colorado State
The good: New Packers receivers coach Alvis Whitted has been around him for two years, though Williams played just one due to NCAA transfer rules. Despite lack of game experience, has displayed ability to separate and body control.
The bad: Played just 19 games at Tennessee and Colorado State due to injury and transfer, so has some room to grow with techniques. Was not invited to the combine due to a 2017 guilty plea after an altercation with a girlfriend.
The Packers drafted three receivers a year ago and 10 in the last five seasons — but only Adams (No. 53 overall in 2014) was selected in the first two rounds. Ty Montgomery was drafted as a receiver out of Stanford in the third round — meaning the other eight selections came in rounds 4-7. The last time the Packers did not draft at least one receiver was in 2012.
Recent draft history
Year, Round, Overall: Player, School
2018, 4, 133 overall: J’Mon Moore, Missouri
2018, 5, 174 overall: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, South Florida
2018, 6, 207 overall: Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame
2017, 5a, 175 overall: DeAngelo Yancey, Purdue
2017, 7b, 247 overall: Malachi Dupre, LSU
2016, 5, 163 overall: Trevor Davis, California
A glance at what year the current players at the position are signed through and their age on opening day:
Geronimo Allison (25)
Trevor Davis (26)
Jake Kumerow (27)
Allen Lazard (23)
Davante Adams (26)
J’Mon Moore (24)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (24)
Equanimeous St. Brown (22)