The Green Bay Packers are in the midst of a philosophy change at wide receiver, as they have drastically shifted toward taller players.
He certainly got his wish as the Packers took the 6-foot-3 J’Mon Moore, the 6-foot-4 Marquez Valdes-Scantling and used a sixth-round pick on Equanimous St. Brown who measured at 6-foot-5 at the combine.
McCarthy did note he was not trying to dismiss smaller receivers who obviously have a place in today’s game.
Traditionally, smaller targets see more time in the slot where they can use elusiveness after the catch to gain extra yards. The Packers have Randall Cobb occupying the slot while new tight end Jimmy Graham should also see time there as well. However, judging by the Packers last two offseasons, height has become a point of emphasis.
“I think you’re always looking for bigger targets,” McCarthy said.” It makes sense, doesn’t it? Bigger catching radius- completion percentage. I think it’s just really a reflection of how we felt about them as players. I think any quarterback would prefer to throw to a bigger target.”
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Aaron Rodgers will have plenty to choose from looking at Green Bay’s current depth chart:
Davante Adams: 6-foot-1
Randall Cobb: 5-foot-10
Geronimo Allison: 6-foot-3
Michael Clark: 6-foot-6
Trevor Davis: 6-foot-1
Deangelo Yancy: 6-foot-1
General manager Brian Gutekunst actually tried to gloss over the height factor stating it was “just kind of the way it worked out.” The new GM can try to dismiss it all he wants, but there is an obvious advantage playing the ball downfield when it’s easier to win with greater length.
“It’s obviously appealing,” Gutekunst later said in his post-draft press conference.
Whether it was intentional or not, the Packers are looking to get bigger at a position that is not as secure as years past. With Jordy Nelson gone, Green Bay needs to find Rodgers another target on the outside opposite of Adams. Allison appears to be the most experienced player ready to take on that role, but it’s still up for grabs.
Outside of Adams and Cobb, the remaining receivers have a combined four starts and all of those belong to Allison. Their lack of experience is not a cause for concern yet, however, it should create urgency this summer. Green Bay needs a pass catcher to emerge as a legitimate threat for Rodgers to look for as another option. Adams, Graham, and Cobb will shoulder most of the load but that still leaves targets left on the table.
Someone is bound to step up in the preseason and become a front-runner for the third receiver opening. Regardless of who that is, the receiver position will be one of the most competitive battles at this year’s training camp.