It’s training camp month! So let’s take a look ahead to see how many wide receivers could make the Green Bay Packers final 53-man roster.
As the Green Bay Packers’ offense becomes more of what Matt LaFleur envisions it will be, that means we are going to be seeing less of those four, and five wide receiver sets that we’ve grown accustomed to over the years. Instead, we will be seeing much more 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends, two receivers), and 21 personnel (two running backs, one tight end, two receivers).
So with only the addition of Devin Funchess this offseason and knowing that there will be fewer receivers on the field at one time in 2020, how many receivers will the Packers keep on the roster this season?
Well, if we look back at the last few seasons, Green Bay is really all over the place. In 2019 they would keep six, although it was almost like seven because shortly after cutting Allen Lazard – yes that happened – they re-signed him. Then in 2018, they would keep eight, in 2017 just five, and in 2016 there would be seven receivers on the initial 53-man roster.
Looking at this year’s group, I would say that there are five locks to make the roster. This would include Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Devin Funchess, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown. And truthfully, the Packers offense could work quite well with this group.
Add in Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Josiah Deguara, Jace Sternberger, and Robert Tonyan as receiving options as well and the Green Bay Packers certainly aren’t lacking pass-catching options. With only five receivers, this would then free up an additional roster spot or two that could be used elsewhere such as on the offensive line, at cornerback, or in the defensive front-seven.
While in this scenario there would only be five true receivers on the roster, given how LaFleur wants to run his offense, there are going to be 10 pass-catchers who are seeing regular playing time this season. And that doesn’t include second-round pick, A.J. Dillon, either.
Behind this first group of receivers are several who will be battling for a roster spot. This group is headlined by Jake Kumerow who has flashed big-play potential and has QB1 in his corner. Then there is CFL star Reggie Begelton and Darrius Shepherd who saw some action in 2019 but did disappoint after putting together a nice preseason.
Lastly, is Malik Taylor and undrafted rookie Darrell Stewart who could provide the Green Bay Packers with a true slot receiver. Something that they were lacking last season.
Kumerow already has a leg up on the competition just given the time he has already spent in Green Bay and the plays that he’s made, but if any of them is able to really impress this summer, then the Packers probably role with six receivers this season.
So if I were to rank the likelihood of how many receivers the Packers keep, in first I would put six. As I said, that group of five is locked in and from the second group, I expect someone to make some noise this summer and earn a roster spot.
After that, carrying five receivers is the next likely option given the number of total pass-catchers this offense has. And I’ll say there is a very little possibility, perhaps even none, of the Packers carrying seven or more receivers this season.
Now, something worth mentioning is that just because the Packers will be running with two and three wide receivers more often, that doesn’t mean that receivers four, five, and possibly six on the depth chart don’t see the field. They are still going to. When it comes to LaFleur’s offense, we are going to see plenty of mixing and matching at the receiver position with of course Adams being the constant.
With all of that said, the play on the field from this receiving corps this summer is ultimately going to determine how many receivers the Packers keep. They’ll make the roster numbers work if they truly believe someone is worth hanging on to. However, I’m still expecting there to be fewer receivers than more on the 53-man roster in 2020.