The Green Bay Packers have several options to take over the WR2 role this season. Here is why each of those players could assume that role.
The Green Bay Packers suffered their first loss of the offseason on the opening day of training camp. New wide receiver Devin Funchess made the difficult decision to opt-out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. No one can blame or be upset with Funchess for putting his family’s safety first, but this does increase the question mark that is the wide receiver room.
The Green Bay Packers have talent at WR, but it, for the most part, has been unproven. Heading into training camp, one of the battles taking place will be for wide receiver 2. Davante Adams is one of the best receivers in the NFL (regardless of his 57th overall ranking on top the NFL’s 100), but he still needs an Anthony Davis to his Lebron James.
Here is the case for each wide receiver to earn that number two spot:
I am starting off with probably the fan-favorite to win the spot. Lazard has one of the better breakout stories from last season. He came to the NFL as an undrafted rookie, was cut by the Jaguars, which led him to Green Bay, initially didn’t make the 53 man roster, and helped lead a comeback in week six against the Lions.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) October 15, 2019
He didn’t just help lead the Green Bay Packers to victory, but he also earned Rodgers’ trust. Rodgers told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky:
“I may have put in a good word there in the fourth quarter to get him some opportunities. . . A guy basically his second time playing telling me what routes he wants, I felt pretty good about where he was at confidence-wise.”
The confidence in Lazard showed throughout the season. Lazard became one of Rodgers’ top targets on third down last season. On 3rd downs alone, not including playoffs, Lazard was targetted 19 times, for 190 yards, and two touchdowns. To make this even more impressive, Lazard did all of this while working mostly with the third unit and practice squad players until midseason. Imagine what he can do after working with the starting unit from the start of the season.
Valdes-Scantling had a disappointing 2019 season. Coming into the year, he was working out with NFL legend Randy Moss and possesses speed that other Packer WRs don’t have. Rightfully so, the expectations for high for the second-year wide receiver.
Vales-Scantling’s season was up and down. For the first half of the season, he managed 21 receptions, 416 yards, and two touchdowns through the first eight weeks. He finished the season with only 452 yards. The second half of the season saw a drop in playing time, targets, and production. Yet, it would be foolish to pass over him as a player who could become WR 2.
For the first time in his NFL career, and second time since 2013, Valdes-Scantling is entering the same offense for two seasons in a row. He will finally be comfortable with an offense and be able to think less and play faster. He is the Green Bay Packers fastest receiver with a 4.37 40-time, and that speed is what the Packers offense is lacking.
Equanimeous St. Brown:
St. Brown was another player that Packer fans were excited about heading into the 2019 season. Unfortunately, he missed the entire season after injuring his ankle in the preseason. Now entering the 2020 season, he is still a player that many fans expect to break out. Though St. Brown’s body type isn’t the pro-typical slot receiver, Paul Bretl, of Dairyland Express, mentioned how he could be the missing piece in the slot position for the Packer’s offense.
“Albeit limited, but out of the slot as a rookie in 2018, St. Brown took 99 snaps, hauling in five receptions and showing off that big-play ability with 19.4 yards per catch.”
St. Brown also brings another tall target for Rodgers to look to. The Packers are happy to have his 6’5” frame back on the field.
Kumerow’s route to becoming the WR 2 for the Green Bay Packers will not be easy, but he has one thing on his side, Rodgers’ trust. Since joining the team in 2018, Rodgers has given Kumerow compliments to the media about being in the right place at the right time, being reliable, and doing the little things. It is well known about Rodgers, and many top QBs that they will only throw to receivers they trust.
Another boost to Kumerow’s to WR 2 is his blocking talent and the reliance on the run game this season. The Green Bay Packers are switching over from a passing team led by Aaron Rodgers to a running team led by Aaron Jones. Kumerow was rated as the best blocking WR by PFF last season, and that will only increase his chances of earning time on the field and possibly the WR 2 spot.
Green Bay had (2) WRs with Top-5 run blocking grades last season:
— PFF GB Packers (@PFF_Packers) July 4, 2020
Begelton is truly the unknown wide receiver in this competition. In 2019, Begelton dominated the Canadian Football League earning 102 receptions, 1,444 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Those stats are extremely impressive and even broke CFL records, but it was the CFL. The CFL has talented players, but no other football organization compares to the talent in the NFL.
Begelton has shown he can be productive and dominate defenses. The Green Bay Packers are hoping that this will translate to the NFL, where he would not be the only player to come from the CFL and make a name for himself. Hall of Famer Kurt Warner and dominant defensive end Cameron Wake are both players who spent time in the CFL before coming to the big league.
As I mentioned at the start of the article, he is the biggest question mark, but the numbers he put up in 2019 shows he can compete.