Fans far and wide have complained about the Green Bay Packers’ need for more depth at wide receiver. Specifically, a legitimate No. 2 behind Davante Adams. Those chirps grew louder and angrier as the Packers seemingly passed up opportunities to address the gap in the roster via the draft and free agency.
Yet, slowly but surely, the wide receiver room has developed and grown under the radar this offseason. With training camp about a month away, the Packers’ wide receiver group looks to have both quantity and quality.
Green Bay went out last offseason and signed Devin Funchess, the former Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts wideout.
Funchess had his most productive two-year stretch in Carolina in 2017 and 2018 when he combined for 107 receptions, 1,389 yards, and 12 touchdowns before joining the Colts. Unfortunately, his time in Indianapolis was short-lived due to injury, and he opted out of last season after signing with Green Bay because of the coronavirus pandemic.
After the first week of OTAs, head coach Matt LaFleur raved about Funchess:
“Well, he sure looks the part, there’s no doubt about that,” LaFleur said after Tuesday’s practice. “You’re talking about a big, strong, long, physical guy that can run and sink his hips. I know he has a lot to learn, but we’re excited about having him on this team and letting him go compete, and we’ll see what he can do.”
Funchess has a similar build to fellow Packers wideout Allen Lazard. The worry is that Funchess has hardly played at all over the last two years. He played one game with the Colts in 2019 before a season-ending injury sidelined him, then he opted out last year. Yet, he’s still only 27 years old. If he can regain his 2018 form, he projects to be a solid contributor for this offense.
A No. 2-type wideout? That’s doubtful, but he could be a valuable piece nonetheless.
While the Packers didn’t draft a wide receiver in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, they were able to scoop up a wideout in the third who should have an immediate impact.
Whether it’s a full-go in the slot from the start in Week 1 or using him as Tyler Ervin type while mixing him into the return game, Amari Rodgers will have a role from the jump.
His hands are soft, his quickness is deceptive, and he is as reliable as it gets for wide receivers taken in this draft.
While some will complain about the Packers not taking a wide receiver early, keep in mind Green Bay’s past successes in selecting wide receivers outside of Round 1 who turned into cornerstones of past offenses at Lambeau Field.
- Davante Adams (second round, 2014)
- Randall Cobb (second round, 2011)
- Jordy Nelson (second round, 2008)
- James Jones (third round, 2007)
- Greg Jennings (second round, 2006)
There isn’t a scout in the world who had anything other than praise for Amari Rodgers and his projected value in the NFL. Again, a No. 2-type wideout? Perhaps in the future, but likely not right away. Still, it’s another valuable piece for Green Bay next season.
Add Funchess and Amari Rodgers along with Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Lazard, and it’s a dynamic bunch in Green Bay.
While a select group has sat in a corner pouting that the Packers didn’t trade up for a wide receiver or that they weren’t more aggressive in unrealistically pursuing Julio Jones, Green Bay has quietly built up plenty of depth at the position. It has evolved into a situation where they might not have a true WR2 in 2021, but that might be perfectly fine.
Adams is the clear No. 1, and perhaps that No. 1 not only stands for his ranking on Green Bay’s depth chart but for the entire league. This offense in Green Bay has more than enough weapons to sustain the success they had last year. Adding two more legitimate pieces in Funchess and Amari Rodgers will only sweeten the pot for Matt LaFleur.
While they may not have a dead ringer for the No. 2 wide receiver spot, who cares? It’s not for lack of depth at the position anymore; it’s because they have so many possible candidates behind Davante Adams in the pecking order.
Adams will be the constant as he always is. However, the array of options that can bust out behind him on a week-to-week basis next year will keep defenses guessing and have LaFleur beaming.