The Green Bay Packers have some difficult calls ahead when trimming down the roster once preseason games begin
We’re in the midst of Week 2 of training camp for the Green Bay Packers. Only a week and a half until they take to Lambeau Field against the Houston Texans. After that game is when player cuts start to happen — which could prove to be difficult for the wide receiver room.
With the addition of Randall Cobb – it certainly makes things interesting. He still has some gas in the tank and more importantly provides key mentorship for young player Amari Rodgers. Both look to play similar roles in the offense, and you better believe LaFleur and Hackett will find way to get both of them reps.
So far, 5 receivers look to be locks to make the cut down to the 53-man roster. Those players are Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Randall Cobb, and the rookie Amari Rodgers. Not many teams keep more than 6 on the roster, so the rest of the receivers look to be fighting for that one last spot.
Some of those receivers — Equanimeous St. Brown, Juwann Winfree, and Devin Funchess — are mindful that their best chance at making the team could very well be decided by the value they possess on special teams. All 3 could be seen getting in some special teams work on Tuesday.
EQ, Winfree, and Funchess all getting reps on special teams today. They all know if they want that last WR spot it could very well come down to being able to play teams.
— Andy Herman (@AndyHermanNFL) August 3, 2021
Juwann Winfree has been a face in camp (and minicamp for that matter) whose made multiple plays and surely applying the pressure on EQ and Funchess. Throughout the start of camp he’s been able to produce for the Green Bay Packers offense. Winfree did not get many opportunities last season, and surely wants to change that moving forward.
Juwann Winfree keeps making plays. Gets behind secondary and catches a perfectly thrown deep ball from Rodgers for a would be TD to start team #Packers
— Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod) July 29, 2021
The intriguing player for me, personally, is Devin Funchess. He was originally signed last year, but opted out due to COVID-19. Funchess cited his family’s health as the reasoning, as they experienced the life-threatening impact of the virus. His $2.5 million deal carries over to this season.
Devin Funchess is the third tallest receiver on the Green Bay Packers currently. The team lists him at 6’4″ (same as MVS), meanwhile Allen Lazard and Equanemious St. Brown sit at 6’5″. Funchess has a large frame and wingspan that could potentially help go get a ball for the team. Unfortunately a big issue could be his health. He’s had a history of injuries, the most recent being a broken collarbone that ended his 2019 season with the Indianapolis Colts short.
Funchess had success with the Panthers — with the most notable season being 2017 with 63 receptions for 840 yards and 8 touchdowns. So, some production has been there in the past.
But, other players like Equanimeous St. Brown could continue to make it a battle for the last spot(s). St. Brown has also had a good start to training camp for the Green Bay Packers. A similar issue he shares with Funchess, however, is injury problems. He sat out the entire 2019 season after an ankle injury in a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.
Last season he tallied 117 yards and 1 TD for the Green Bay Packers while appearing in 12 games.
But, there are even more names that I’ve failed to mention. Players like Reggie Begelton, DeAndre Thompkins, and Malik Taylor. Taylor shows some promise when it comes to special teams — however I question if that’s enough to keep him in the conversation depending on how well some others could fill a special teams role.
Up until today, Bailey Gathier was also a name in the hat until he retired from the Green Bay Packers.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 3, 2021
There’s enough players in the running to make the roster at the wide receiver position, that some are wondering whether LaFleur would be open to keeping 7 on the depth chart. Game On Wisconsin’s Zach Jacobson mentioned in last week’s episode of Open Book that he wouldn’t be shocked at the move.
With Green Bay Packers preseason football on the horizon, some very hard decisions will have to be made after that first game. Multiple receivers have been impressing early, but will have to keep that up in order to convince Matt LaFleur and the front office of keeping them on the 53-man roster.
While game time seems so close for fans — those receivers have a long way to go, and ultimately have to produce in preseason to survive. Buckle up, this is just the beginning.