Green Bay Packers Rookie Jeff Janis Proving That Speed Thrills


Who is Jeff Janis?

At 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds, he has the size of an elite wide receiver.

With numbers in his final year as a collegian of 83 receptions for 1,572 yards and 14 touchdowns, he has the numbers of an elite wide receiver.

With a time of 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine in February, a time of 6.64 seconds in the three-cone drill and 20 reps on the bench press—both of which led wide receivers—he appears to have many of the athletic skills of an elite wide receiver.

Live Feed

Packers DB's take on missed PI call will only infuriate Chiefs fans more
Packers DB's take on missed PI call will only infuriate Chiefs fans more /


  • Packers vs. Giants prediction, odds, spread, injuries, trends for NFL Week 14Lombardi Ave
  • Free agent running back hints he has signed with PackersLombardi Ave
  • What to Know: Packers reportedly sign RB Kenyan DrakeDairyland Express
  • Every NFL Team's Playoff Odds Following Week 13 (AFC Race Still Wide Open)Betsided
  • NFL Week 14 Survivor Pool Picks (Texans, Packers Among Top Predictions This Week)Betsided
  • So why are we asking … who is Jeff Janis?

    For starters, Tawas City, Mich., isn’t exactly a prime destination in the travels of big-time collegiate scouts. Located in the northeastern Lower Peninsula on the shores of Lake Huron, Tawas Area High School is roughly 180 miles north of Detroit.

    Janis was an all-conference wide receiver at Tawas Area before breaking his hand as a senior and having to move to running back.

    So rather than taking those elite skills with that elite frame and the elite athleticism to a place like Michigan or Ohio State or Alabama, Janis toiled away in relative obscurity at Division II Saginaw Valley State, a little more than 70 miles from Tawas City.

    He broke out as a sophomore in 2011, racking up 968 receiving yards on a gaudy 20.2-yard per catch average and earning honorable mention all-conference honors in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

    Again, not exactly the Big Ten … or the Mid-American Conference, even.

    As a junior, Janis caught 106 passes for 1,635 yards—both single-season records at SVSU—and scored 18 touchdowns, earning Division II All-America honors, a feat he repeated as a senior.

    After the combine, Janis was praised for his measurables and his leaping ability (he posted a 37.5-inch vertical leap in Indianapolis), but was knocked for his small hands.

    The Green Bay Packers rolled the dice on Janis, spending a seventh-round draft choice to get him.

    He arrived at training camp and flunked his physical, going on the non-football illness list with shingles.

    Since he’s gotten on the field, however, all Janis has done is turn heads.

    "“He continues to do something every day,” coach Mike McCarthy told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “That’s something that you look for.”"

    The expectation for Janis was that he would likely land on the practice squad this season.

    But after making plays like he made in Saturday’s preseason game at St. Louis, those expectations might be raising.

    St. Louis Rams safety Christian Bryant (26) thought he had an angle on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis in Saturday’s preseason game. Guess again. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

    In the third quarter, quarterback Matt Flynn dropped back and found his first option covered. He looked to Janis, who was running a simple drag route across the middle.

    Flynn flipped Janis the ball and Janis flipped on the jets. Two defenders for the Rams looked like they had solid angles on Janis.

    He outran both of them, turning a simple safety-valve pass into a 34-yard touchdown.

    "“Probably right now they’re not going to realize how fast I am, so I think that’s going to work out in my favor,” Janis said. “Hopefully it takes them a little while to realize that.”"

    Second-round pick Davonte Adams put it differently when referring to Janis’ speed.

    "“V12, like the engine,” Adams said. “You’ve got the V6, the Honda Accord. You’ve got the V8 Porsche. And then you’ve got the V12 (Lamborghini) and that’s him.”"

    With two weeks left in the preseason, the top four receiving spots are pretty much locked up—veterans Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin along with the rookie Adams.

    After fifth-round pick Jared Abbrederis went down with a season-ending ACL, the battle for the fifth receiver spot looked to be a scrum that would include Kevin Dorsey, Myles White, Alex Gillett, Chris Harper and recent addition Gerrard Sheppard, claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens.

    Janis, with his work in practice and his scintillating catch and sprint Saturday, may be at the top of that list now.

    "“He’s made a few plays,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after Saturday’s game. “He’s athletic. He’s fast. He ran his route, caught a ball and outran everybody today. When you’re playing against the first string, you have to run crisp routes and make the plays that are there, so plays like today help him out confidence-wise for sure.“He did it in practice last week. Coming back from his ailment, he did a nice job for us.”"

    Janis also did some punt returning on Saturday, lining up deep on four punts with no issues catching the ball. He had one return for nine yards, made a fair catch and watched two punts sail out of bounds.

    So what does he think about his chances to wind up on the active roster come September?

    "“There’s a lot more to be proven,” Janis said. “It was thrown my way only once and I made one play, so there’s a lot more to be done.”"

    But he’s been good in practice, despite the late start because of his illness. He showed tremendous speed, which means other teams saw that, too, so getting Janis through waivers at the end of August might be a tough task now.

    All of that means he might be still in the green and gold on game day on Sept. 4.