(Image Credit: Evan Siegle/Packers.com)
Written By: Matt Di Domenico
After the whole Aaron Rodgers situation was settled, the Green Bay Packers made a deal with the longtime Packers QB to trade for one of Rodgers' best friends in WR Randall Cobb. The Packers dealt a 2022 6th-round pick to the Houston Texans for a second run with Cobb in Green Bay. The Cobb trade now brings a question mark surrounding the number of wide receivers the Packers will carry into the 2021 season.
There is no doubt that Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and 2021 3rd-round draft selection in Amari Rodgers will be making the team. That alone is 5 WRs on the active roster already. These 5 WRs have too much value in them for the Packers to move on from. In the past, the Packers usually would carry 6 WRs on the active roster. Many speculate that the Packers will run with 7 WRs this year heading into the 2021 NFL season because of the amount of talent that is present. It will be a very tough decision for Green Bay to make and many fans are interested in seeing what happens.
The remaining WRs that will be fighting for a roster spot include Equanimeous St. Brown, Devin Funchess, Malik Taylor, Reggie Begelton, Juwann Winfree, and Chris Blair.
For right now, the five that are favored for the possible last two spots are St. Brown, Funchess, Winfree, Begelton, and Taylor. Blair really has not been getting enough opportunities to upset any of these 5 WRs. What is to note is all the WRs will certainly have to earn their spots if they want to remain in green and yellow.
St. Brown has been on the Packers' active roster since 2018 but he has had a serious problem staying healthy. St. Brown has been battling injuries all throughout training camp and was ruled out of the first 2 preseason games. That certainly is not a good look for St. Brown because he can not go out on the field and fight for his job. If St. Brown does not play in the final preseason game, then it may be very difficult to keep him on the final 53.
For Devin Funchess, he was signed last offseason by the Packers but decided to opt out because of Covid-19. Making a drastic impact on the field when given the opportunity in the preseason is something Funchess has to utilize.
In the first preseason game against the Houston Texans, Devin Funchess was a huge stand-out with 6 receptions for 70 yards. Mostly every drive, 2nd year QB Jordan Love was looking Funchess' way. Funchess was beating the defending CBs consistently. Even on two plays where he was not able to haul in a pass that was over his head, Funchess ran great routes. Funchess was not able to play in the second preseason game due to a hamstring injury.
In the early rounds of training camp, Juwann Winfree has been turning a lot of heads. Winfree was a 2019 6th-round pick by the Denver Broncos. Winfree however did not play in the first two preseason games which certainly does not help his case. Certainly, the two other WRs to not forget about are Malik Taylor and Reggie Begelton. Taylor and Begelton are both players that have potential. Both WRs have been making an impact on special teams and beyond. These under-the-radar WRs really have made a positive impact on the team overall as well. Taylor was able to have a decent first game against the Texans where he was able to catch 5 balls for 50 yards. For Begelton, he had a quiet evening with 1 catch for 14 receiving yards.
Against the New York Jets in the second preseason game, both Taylor and Begelton were able to make plays for Green Bay. Taylor caught 4 balls for 66 receiving yards and Begelton caught 2 balls for 15 receiving yards in addition to 35 punt return yards. The deciding factor for these two of course will be how they play in the last preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.
If Taylor, Begelton, and Winfree do not do enough to make the final 53-man roster, then there is a possibility that both could land on the practice squad.
An early guess is that the Packers will roll with 7 WRs to start the regular season against the New Orleans Saints. The 7 WRs that I am predicting to make the final roster are Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, Devin Funchess, and Equanimous St. Brown.
One final thought to keep in mind is what Rodgers will recommend to the Packers when it comes to the WR room. Now that Rodgers was able to get Cobb to Green Bay, we cannot rule out the possibility that he has somewhat of a say. Certainly, expect the Packers' GM Brian Gutekunst to ask for Rodgers' input because of the drama that unfolded in the offseason.