Cory's Corner: Tough Decisions For Wide Receivers

With a dynamic class of wideouts, I'll take seven. 

A pivotal position group this summer in Green Bay is the wide receivers. 

And the reason is because there are so many capable wideouts in camp right now. Which is why I would opt for the Packers to keep seven wideouts. 

Obviously, there’s Davante Adams, in my opinion, the best wide receiver in football right now. You could say DeAndre Hopkins, but Adams has a higher catch percentage and more receiving touchdowns over the last two years. 

Then you’ve got Marquez Valdes-Scantling. He isn’t a fan favorite among many, but he has cleaned up his catch consistency in camp and is a constant deep threat. Allen Lazard is another lock that has a great rapport with Aaron Rodgers. And if you’ve got a solid relationship with your future Hall of Fame quarterback, what else do you need? 

Devin Funchess has really shined so far. I was very impressed with him on Saturday night, especially because he hasn’t played since the 2019 season opener. And there’s no way that the Packers are cutting Randall Cobb. The Packers engineered a trade for Cobb on July 28. It only cost the Packers a sixth rounder for one of the better receivers in the Rodgers’ era. 

That’s five guys right there. You’re also not cutting Amari Rodgers, who was drafted in the third round to be Green Bay’s future slot receiver. 

Then you have Malik Taylor. He was an undrafted free agent in 2019, spent that entire season on the practice squad and now he’s making an impact on special teams. Then there’s Juwann Winfree, a sixth round pick by the Broncos in 2019. His shoulder injury isn’t exactly helping, but he has shown that he can be relied upon to make the tough play. 

That’s eight guys. I don’t see a spot for Equanimeous St. Brown. He has been given a lot of chances, but hasn’t really capitalized on them. 

The biggest competition is going to come down to Taylor and Winfree. Funchess could also push for a spot among the top three wideouts, but that’s a tall order given that he didn’t play last year. 

I would rather keep seven over six because that group of receivers is solid. And because it isn’t a guarantee that Taylor or Winfree would make it to the practice squad. 

This unit is much better than last year. Remember, the players with the second-most and third-most receptions last year were a tight end and a running back. 

This dynamic unit will make the Packers’ offense even scarier. Might as well keep as much athleticism as possible. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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6 points

Comments (53)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
NickPerry's picture

August 17, 2021 at 06:37 am

HOPEFULLY an injury doesn't make the Packers choices easier but 7 is going to be a tough sell considering the MLF scheme seems to use of TE's and the Packers number of good TE's on the roster.

I'm keeping Sternberger over Malik Taylor. I know some are or have already given up on Sternberger but I haven't. The Packers don't have another TE like Sternberger, not really. He's the fastest of the TE's I believe and as long as he continues to progress this preseason I'm giving him a chance.

IF this was McCarthy's offense then maybe I keep 7 WR's. BUT it's not so as long there's no injuries I'd keep Adams, MVS, Lazard, Cobb, Rodgers, and Funchess.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 17, 2021 at 07:23 am

Keep in mind that Sternberger is suspended for the first 2 games. Could be a way to keep that 7th WR for a couple of games.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 17, 2021 at 07:27 am

Good point, this is the NFL. There is a high chance someone gets hurt.in the first two weeks.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 17, 2021 at 11:55 am

Very good chance.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 17, 2021 at 07:38 am

Right. After teams have their practice squad established, it might be easier to let a receiver go and clear waivers if it's in season.

I agree 7 is unlikely and if they keep 6 past week 2 it will because that player is also making major ST contributions, which would give Taylor and edge over Winfree.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 17, 2021 at 12:08 pm

Definitely. And like Jeremy said there could be an injury or something that changes things as well.

These last 2 games is going to be very interesting to see who battles for that last spot. Winfree was having a great camp until he got hurt. Taylor played well in the game. Taylor was a good special teams player for them. Maybe Winfree could be too?

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Matt Gonzales's picture

August 17, 2021 at 04:02 pm

Agreed on injuries, but 6 is already plenty deep for that on a team that typically only lines up 2-3 true receivers, and if there is a player that goes on IR you can always call up a PS player for insurance if needed.

Hate to say it, but unless the Packers don't feel good about Hill returning kicks Taylor is probably on the outside looking in.

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dobber's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:33 am

This is an important point because unlike IR (if you want to recall a player later), a player on the suspended list does not have to appear on the roster prior to being moved to the list. So if the Packers decide to only keep 3 TEs until Sternberger is eligible, someone like Funchess--who can play that same kind of move/non-blocking TE role, easily slides into that roster spot.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 17, 2021 at 12:36 pm

Exactly.

This gives them some flexibility with the roster. Maybe not exactly what they want to do, but it does give them an extra spot to use at WR or another position.

Funchess has to be one of the front runners to making the 53.

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ImaPayne's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:39 am

I gave up on SB because of his injury proness. The guy was oft injured (concussions) at Wisc and thus far hasnt shown the toughness to handle Pro ball. He probably stays only because the rest of the tight ends are old and or poor blockers.

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dobber's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:57 am

You must be thinking of a different concussion-prone Sternberger who played at WI, because this one played at TAMU.

"only because the rest of the tight ends are old "

Lewis is Methuselah old. Nobody else in the TE room is old.

5 points
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Duneslick's picture

August 17, 2021 at 01:47 pm

They have to keep sternberger as Tonyan is a free agent next year and they will have a problem resigning anyone as they are 500 mill over the cap

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stockholder's picture

August 17, 2021 at 07:20 am

Does it matter? No. Bringing back Funchess, Cobb, and drafting Rodgers. Says they've seen enough of the wanta bees. 6 wrs- Keeping - Adams, MVS, Rodgers, Cobb, Funchess, Lazard. Next year expect another 2 WRS drafted.

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Stroh's picture

August 17, 2021 at 03:40 pm

None of those WR are playing ST. #6 OR 7 WR must be good on ST to make the roster. It's called roster building, not just keep the best!!

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 17, 2021 at 07:21 am

Right now I think they keep 6. I could see them go with 5 or 7. But I think they will keep 6.

First 5 are locks. Adams, Lazard, MVS, Cobb, Rodgers. After that Funchess, EQ, Taylor, Winfree appear to be battling for 1-2 spots. Funchess and Taylor both performed well in the first game. Winfree has had a good camp, but missed this last game. I am looking forward to seeing him compete. EQ also missed this last game and he has had a good camp.

I would not be surprised if they would look to trade one of the WR's for a late round pick to try and recoup a pick they gave away for Cobb.

I think ultimately they keep 6 WR's. Which one of the 6 make it, I have no idea. Special teams will factor in, and the best 2 there would be Winfree and Taylor. Keep an eye out for those guys in the next preseason game.
If they did end up keeping 7, I think they would choose 1 between EQ and Funchess, and 1 between Winfree and Taylor.

I don't know who they will keep, but it should be fun to see who does emerge.

5 points
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Stroh's picture

August 17, 2021 at 03:28 pm

I agree 6 WR, is likely the number. It would be nice to trade Funchess, since IMO, he won't make the cut. #6 or lower must be ST guys. Funchess has legit NFL WR resume and doesn't contribute on ST.

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Guam's picture

August 17, 2021 at 07:25 am

Seven? Ah, no. There will also be difficult choices at OL, RB and TE. I suspect they will keep six and that is only because of Cobb and the contract situation next year at WR. Otherwise I would have guessed five. MLF's offense likes TEs and fullbacks/H-backs too much to keep seven WRs. Also, Funchess is big enough to play a dual role of WR and move TE. Adams, MVS, Cobb, Rodgers, Lazard and Funchess on the 53. Winfree, Taylor and Begelton to the practice squad.

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stockholder's picture

August 17, 2021 at 07:34 am

I'm seeing 6 wrs and 4 TEs. And the way that OL played. 9 OL.

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dobber's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:52 am

If Bakhtiari comes off the PUP prior to the end of camp, they might be forced to keep 10 OL, just to hedge their bets.

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Coldworld's picture

August 17, 2021 at 08:46 am

I agree with the caveat that Taylor has a chance to be their due to his ST role. Winfree is a Cobb casualty. With missing time his chances of getting on the PS increase though. I think it’s largely over for EQ. Winfree earlier and Taylor now look much more ready to play reliably and EQ has yet again been unable to get on the field.

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dobber's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:37 am

I agree: every team has those couple players who really don't figure much into the offensive/defensive depth chart except in a pinch (Bush, Janis, etc.) but are there strictly for special teams prowess.

If it's someone like Taylor, it probably puts a pinch on a guy like Dafney or Summers to make the final cut.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 17, 2021 at 07:43 am

I believe they may put Winfree on the PUP list (not sure) or IR after placing him on 53 and the rest of the WR can be put on PS or released. If Packers release ESB, Detroit will pick him up immediately and he will join his bro Amon...

There will be other tough decision at RB, TE, OL, DL, LB, CB, S position. It is always tough when you do not have clear distinction between players and you have to decide in which player you have the most trust for development. But that is the GM or Personnel department job and I'm happy that I do not need to be involved in that kind of decisions...

I know that many of us see some players as busts, but I believe fans estimation are more connected with one or few mistakes fans believe they are crucial, than those estimations are related with players overall performances. I can give some names to explain this - Kevin King, Dean Lowry, MVS, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Oren Burks etc. Also there is fans' favorites. Fans' favorites can not make bad play or wrong decision and if that mistake are crucial, there will be huge number of reasons why it happens, or blame others for the mistakes done by fans' favorites. Examples? Aaron Rodgers, Jaire Alexander, Aaron Jones, Davante Adams, Big Bob, Lazard etc. Of course I'm not excluding myself of similar views on players. I also have my favorite players and my busts player, but knowing what I said, I try not to evaluate players, but just plays they did excellent or terrible...

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dobber's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:40 am

Remember that PUP is only for players who have not practiced, yet. It would be IR for Winfree, and if they put him there before the end of camp, he can't be recalled in 2021. So the Packers would have to carry Winfree past the final cutdown to IR him with the ability to recall him.

"If Packers release ESB, Detroit will pick him up immediately and he will join his bro Amon..."

Keep the guys who make you better, sign the guys you like to the PS, cut the rest and don't look back.

6 points
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croatpackfan's picture

August 17, 2021 at 01:33 pm

Regarding ESB I agree with you. He is 9th or 10th receiver in line today. But who knows what brings tomorrow.

Well, yes I was not sure with PUP rules. But they can keep Winfree and cut him for placing on PS when Jace comes back. Or place him on IR if he will not be ready before season starts.

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ImaPayne's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:51 am

The pack have a tendency to keep the bust players like King and those guys kill you down the line. Like last years playoff game we had in the bag.
Other teams have all the film from last year and know who the busts are too. that is the problem. Josh Jones, King, others.

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murf7777's picture

August 17, 2021 at 12:51 pm

Hard to blame King for that play, he was put on an Island against one the of fastest players in the NFL. Most CB’s would have a tough time defending that play. I put the blame squarely on the coaches and/or the safety for not covering the deep route.

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nostradanus's picture

August 17, 2021 at 07:57 am

Six -
Adams - MVS - Lazard - Top 3
Cobb - Funchess - Rodgers- tier 2

Winfrey and Taylor - PS

6 points
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murf7777's picture

August 17, 2021 at 08:25 am

Depending on how many receivers they will keep and/or MLF feelings about Winfrey or Taylor I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they trade Funchess. His value had to shoot up substantially in the league. He’s under a very favorable contract and could be some teams #2 or 3 WR. I could see a 4 -5th rounder or a DL or ILB in return.

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scullyitsme's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:19 am

I would keep fuchness and trade mvs or Lazard if possible. Fuchness is so much better talent wise. But keep six and trade one I’d agree with. TGR speculated on another post that MVS might be worth a 3rd rounder. I highly doubt that but if we even came close to that I say sell high.

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flackcatcher's picture

August 17, 2021 at 12:38 pm

(sigh…) MVS is the no.2 WR in this offense. There is nobody else who blows off the top of defenses, and last year drew double coverage in the last half of the season. He plays hurt and has developed into a reliable blocker. The Packers have no one else like him on their roster. He's earned his position as a starter for this team.

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murf7777's picture

August 17, 2021 at 12:43 pm

Flack, I agree with you on MVS, Funchess would provide us decent trade value. MVS upside is high. If and that’s a big if, he can learn more of the route tree and be effective at it, watch out you have a potential #1 receiver. Certainly, the coaches have a much better handle on MVS’s learning curve and abilities.

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flackcatcher's picture

August 17, 2021 at 02:14 pm

Murph, the one thing which stood out was MVS ability to play injured. He played the last half of the 2019 season with an high ankle sprain, which he should have been IR for. But the WR group was a mess and simply did not have the numbers. MLF before the NFCC champ game praised him for his willingness to play on what was one leg. Even in the NFL that kind of toughness is hard to come by. The one thing which stood out for me was he constantly outran Rodger's long ball. To have a WR who has to gear down on a skinny post of an Aaron Rodgers Moon shot, that tells you how quick and fast he really is.

3 points
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scullyitsme's picture

August 18, 2021 at 03:13 am

Sadly your right, he was the number 2….thats not a good thing.

2 points
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mnbadger's picture

August 17, 2021 at 12:42 pm

I'd trade sternberger - hopefully 5/6th rounder. then move funchess into the slot position. He's a veteran so I'm sure he knows that he has to block from the receiver position. Funchess provides the size and speed needed for the role plus adds versatility to play outside if injuries occur. I move JS out. I 2nd year player suspended for recreational drug use is too red of a flag for me considering he's done virtually nothing on the field. I feel bad about his concusssion, and wish him the best as he heads down the road. GPG!

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jont's picture

August 17, 2021 at 08:38 am

This review of the receiver candidates is good and sensible. It's just one side of the equation, however-- if GB keeps a 7th receiver then somebody at another position gets cut.
For my vote, I'd like to see the team keep one a guy who can be a regular contributor on special teams and fill in somewhere on D as needed rather than a 7th WR who gets maybe 8 or 9 catches in 14-15 game appearances (numbers slightly better than EQ had last year).

5 points
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Since'61's picture

August 17, 2021 at 09:43 am

I'm thinking that the Packers will keep 6. More than that will impact the number of OLs, TEs, or RBs kept. It's a matter of priorities. OLs are higher priority for depth than WRs, TEs or RBs. I think that the Packers will go with 9 OLs since they have versatile OLs. We know that we're probably going to keep 3 RBs plus Deguara. Deguara can be defined as either an RB or TE. Funchess can also be defined as a TE or a WR.

There will be some difficult decisions but they may stash a few players on PUP, IR and PS. Difficult decisions is a good problem to have. Thanks, Since '61

6 points
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flackcatcher's picture

August 17, 2021 at 12:46 pm

I agree '61. I think it also depends on how MLF sees the roles within his offense this season. We all saw how the lost of Evrin at the slot and that rotating group at F-Back effected the offense. I could see MLF pushing for two at each position to cover himself this year. Tough calls abound. But as you say, it's a good problem to have.

2 points
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NJMagic's picture

August 17, 2021 at 09:48 am

I hope they keep 6, and ,6 is Funchness, even without ST. They absolutely need someone to play the big slot to make the catch on 3rd down when Davante is covered by 11 guys (see:NFCNCG) and they don't have anyone else like him in the WR group.

Taylor seems like a JAG.

3 points
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4thandinches's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:12 am

It seems we have a lot of players with similar talent levels; even if they have different skill sets. I'm not sure to what extent MLF can utilize the different skills. In the past, it seems he just likes the big, tall receivers who can block (Lazard, MVS, Funchess) and a fast motion guy (Ervin, Rodgers). With MLF just using 2 or sometimes 3 receivers at a time, I don't really know that we need 6 or 7. I'll take the top 5 and leave it at that unless we can swing a trade for any WR not named Adams.

Also, I don't see any special teams demons in the WR group. Has Cobb been tried at PR or KR in practice at all? I don't remember hearing that but think that would be a great way to get the ball in his hands a few extra times a game. He is extremely reliable and my confidence is slightly shaken in Amari Rodger's hands/decision making after a couple of poor PR plays from him against the Texans. I know it's just one game and hopefully he can improve but I like Cobb as an option this year while Amari continues to get reps in the preseason and at practice, with the hope he can take over in 2022.

2 points
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dobber's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:42 am

I thought there was a report that Cobb has received a few punts in practice.

4 points
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ImaPayne's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:47 am

I hear ya but here we go again, another guy (rodgers) who cant step in and do the job on day one. This team has a penchant for picking these types.
Are they not skilled enough or is it in the brain area where they just dont learn fast and need a lot of help with the play book?
I can see a 6th rounder needing time to develop but not a third.

-6 points
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dobber's picture

August 17, 2021 at 11:16 am

My IQ drops about 3 points every time I read one of your posts.

6 points
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ImaPayne's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:43 am

St Brown should have been cut last year. He has done nothing. MVS can stretch the field so he is going nowhere. Adams and Rodgers are locks. Cobb has to make the team. Lazard is better then average even though he dropped off a bit last year he is going nowhere. You dont need any more then the above if you have good tight ends and running backs who can also catch the ball.

3 points
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dobber's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:50 am

Lazard had core muscle surgery mid season, and I don't think he looked right after that. I think he's close to a lock, but stranger things have happened.

Cobb is as close to a lock as it gets. The only reason he wouldn't make the final roster cut is if he continued to show up management or if he ran afoul of the law.

6 points
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SanLobo's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:48 am

The LaFleur offense supports 6 at most. I like Funchess, and after the this last game there are probably a lot of teams liking him. We are suffering from an excess of very good receivers. A nice problem to have. There are other teams with a shortage of quality receivers but depth where we have issues. Time to look for a trade while the iron is still hot.

3 points
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dobber's picture

August 17, 2021 at 10:59 am

I don't think anything happens until after the Jets game when more of the regulars at WR get some game snaps in, but I doubt that Cobb, Adams, or MVS play more than a couple series--if that much. Especially if Love doesn't play (but I think he will).

3 points
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HarryHodag's picture

August 17, 2021 at 11:17 am

Funchess must be kept. He provides a veteran presence. In the likelihood that Adams leaves next year(salary cap) you will need another veteran to pick up the slack. He's the prototype possession receiver.
The idea of keeping 7 receivers is not smart as there are other position groups that need backups(like the offensive line). If Lazard goes down(likely) during the season, Funchess has that role.

Winfree could go to the practice squad and be ready should injuries happen. Cobb will likely go next year if(when) Rodgers leaves. I don't know if Taylor has more practice squad eligibility but he could return there.

Adams, MVS, Lazard, Cobb, Rodgers, Funchess this year.

4 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

August 17, 2021 at 11:24 am

I see little chance the Packers keep 7 WRs. Matt's offense mostly plays with only 2 or even 1 WR on most plays.

He seems to be increasing his use of 12 (1 RB and 2 TEs) and 22 (2 RBs and 2 TEs) personnel groups and relies on them heavily during the passing game.

If Sternberger is slated to join the 53 after his two game suspension, I can see keeping 6 WRs to start and cutting one to make room for Jace.

5 WRs, for this O, would be plenty. MM used 3, 4, even 5 wide at times and dared defenses to stop the pass (they eventually did) while he ran only a third of the time. Matt will want a roster with more run assets who can also help in pass game...OL, RBs, TEs...and fewer WRs.

4 points
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Packers0808's picture

August 17, 2021 at 11:46 am

I know it won't happen but I would like to see Begelton make the 53, he has experience altho be North but he has some big time numbers! My guess is 6 and will include in wide receivers Funchess unless the goofy racism thing makes him run afoul of making the team!

1 points
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HarryHodag's picture

August 17, 2021 at 04:40 pm

I agree. Begelton led the CFL in receiving one year. It might be a numbers problem for him. He hasn't jumped out as I thought he would.

1 points
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saltandpeppers's picture

August 17, 2021 at 11:57 am

Give me DA, MVS, Lazard, Cobb, Rodgers, Funchess. Stash Winfree on IR, pray you can get Taylor to the PS, and thank EQ for the memories.

3 points
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GatorJason's picture

August 17, 2021 at 07:35 pm

Adams: 14 TD, 1300 yards, 110 catches
MVS: 6 TD, 850 yards, 45 catches
Lazard: 5 TD, 500 yards, 40 catches
Funchess: 4 TD, 500 yards, 40 catches
Cobb: 5 TD, 500 yards, 40 catches
Rodgers: 3 TD, 250 yards, 25 catches
-------------------------------------------------
PS Call Ups:
Winfree: 2 TD, 150 yards, 10 catches
Taylor: 0 TD, 75 yards, 5 catches

WR Corps
39 TD, 4125 yards, 315 catches

1 points
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4thand10's picture

August 19, 2021 at 06:35 pm

Funchess is not going to play special teams . He catches footballs. I think Cobb they will use sparingly…he does get dinged from time to time . EQ, Winfrey, and Taylor are probably gone well..EQ anyway, Winfrey, Taylor will be P.S. They just need those guys through preseason to give the Back up QBs reps without injuring the core WRs. I wouldn’t necessarily say MVS is a lock. Cobb would not have been even necessary had they drafted slot 2-3 yrs ago. He is there as a safety valve and to bring Amari along.IMHO.

Adams
Funchess /Cobb
Lazard/ MVS
Amari

Going in with 6 WR is pretty normal NFL stuff . Lazard MVS and Amari will have the special teams reps.

0 points
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