Allen Lazard has a real chance this year, but injuries have held him back. The same goes for Equanimeous St. Brown. Malik Taylor also has a shot with a solid training camp and preseason. But the most likely candidates are Devin Funchess and Amari Rodgers.
On one hand, you have a player who opted out of last season, took a pay cut, is willing to prove himself, and is still relatively young. On the other, you have the Packers’ new rookie receiver who they traded up to get in the third round.
So who will have the better 2021 season: Funchess or Rodgers?
The 27-year-old will be entering his sixth NFL season after sitting out last year. He was selected in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers and played in Charlotte for four seasons, including their 2016 Super Bowl appearance. They lost to the Denver Broncos that year, but Funchess recorded two catches for 40 yards. Getting Super Bowl experience in your rookie season is nice to have under your belt.
The Michigan alum ended his time with the Panthers with 2,233 yards, 161 receptions, and 21 touchdowns. His best year was 2017 when he had 63 receptions, 840 yards, and eight scores.
In 2019, he signed with the Indianapolis Colts but broke his collarbone in September and only played in one game.
The question with him is, will he be able to make a name for himself and earn the trust of the quarterback after being removed for almost two years?
So far, he’s done and said all the right things. He’s a good player, a good interview, and should have the talent to elevate above players like Lazard and St. Brown on the depth chart.
Green Bay moved up seven spots in the third round to grab the Clemson wide receiver. Fans have been waiting for the Packers to draft a high-impact receiver, and now they have one.
He’s got the same last name as the team’s quarterback, has ties to former receiver Randall Cobb, and wants to be the new go-to slot receiver for the team. His recent interviews are all about his excitement that he gets to play and learn from Adams. People should be excited.
There is no doubt he has the talent. After an injury took away his 2019 season, Rodgers knew he had to prove himself his senior year. His results were 77 catches for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns. Not bad at all.
The only things holding him back are his inexperience in the NFL and whether or not he will get much time with the other Rodgers before the season starts. He also has to compete for a spot over the veteran receivers on the team.
Rodgers might start out as mostly a return man or special teams, but he has a chance to leave an impression right away. Cobb turned heads with this return game and ended up being an all-time Packers great.
So Who Will Be Better?
Can Rodgers make a similar situation happen again and surpass Funchess statistically next year? Both players have a lot to prove this next season. The wide receiver position will be fun to watch this year and something to keep your eye on in training camp and preseason games.
Honestly, Amari Rodgers has the edge right now. He’s younger, faster, and has a lot of buzz around him. If he can turn around Green Bay’s current special teams issues, he is already one step ahead.
Funchess is a solid receiver but still hasn’t had a season over 1,000 yards, a disappointment for a second-round pick. Yes, he has been hit with the injury bug. But he is also almost two years removed from playing a regular-season game and will have to compete with Lazard and St. Brown for the possible No. 3 or 4 spot. Lazard and Aaron Rodgers are basically magic when they connect. Will Funchess be able to surpass that?
It might be a coin flip, but Rodgers probably has the edge right now.