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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

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In Sports Commentary

The Green Bay Packers bolstered their receiving corps by drafting Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis. (PHOTO: Packers.com)

Packers never rest when it comes to offense


It seems like forever ago when Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was drafted in the first round by the Green Bay Packers, doesn't it? Well, it was five days ago. But, the draft officially ended on Saturday, and then the Packers went about adding nearly another 20 names to their incoming "draft class" off the undrafted free agent wire (yes, those guys are part of this class – odds are several of them will make the opening week roster).

But, let's focus on the pass catchers, four of which were part of the nine picks that general manager Ted Thompson made over the three days of the draft.

He did what he needed to do in addressing some needs on defense, but let's be real – the Packers are the Packers because of Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy's offense.

Since McCarthy took over in 2006, the Packers have posted a top-five scoring offense five times and they've been in the top 10 each of the last seven years. It's no coincidence that the Packers winning percentage over those seasons is 66 percent and includes six playoff appearances.

Simply put, the more efficient your offense is, the better chance you have at playing in a Super Bowl.

It's why Thompson selected four pass catchers and signed another off the street in tight end Justin Perillo out of Maine.

Let's take a look at these new faces and what they bring to the table:

Davante Adams

College: Fresno State
Selected: No. 53 overall (second round)
Position: Wide receiver
Height: 6-feet
Weight: 212 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.56 seconds
An accomplished pass catcher, he led the nation in catches in 2013 with 131 and over two years, caught 233 balls. He also had a nose for the end zone with 38 TDs. A hair under 6-1, he's a threat in one-on-one matchups in the end zone because of a nearly 40-inch vertical jump. You may not see him lighting Lambeau Field on fire on fly patterns, but he's a good fit for the short passing game.

Richard Rodgers

College: University of California
Selected: No. 98 (third round)
Position: Tight end
Height: 6-4
Weight: 257
40-yard dash: 4.87
Rodgers could prove to be the gem of this group, as his college career was marred by coaching and position changes, as well as injury. A former high school receiver, he ballooned up to 275 pounds to play tight end, then dropped around 30 of those pounds. He's had shoulder, foot and thumb surgeries, too. Brandon Bostick and Andrew Quarless are really the only pass-catching tight ends on the roster (Jake Stoneburner, Ryan Taylor and Raymond Webber are also listed) so Rodgers will be given every opportunity to work his way into the rotation.

Jared Abbrederis

College: University of Wisconsin
Selected: No. 176 (fifth round)
Position: Wide receiver
Height: 6-1
Weight: 195
40-yard dash: 4.5
A fan favorite in Wisconsin for sure, and the Packers have to like his toughness after walking on as a quarterback and then developing as a wide receiver at a Big Ten program. He's a good route runner, and reliable when the ball is thrown to him, this is a depth-pick and a special teams player for the Packers if he makes the team. If everyone is healthy, he won't be anything more than the team's sixth or seventh option at receiver. No one can question his mental toughness, but a history of injury and concussions coming into the NFL are always red flags.

Jeff Janis

College: Saginaw Valley State
Selected: No. 236 (seventh round)
Position: Wide receiver
Height: 6-2
Weight: 219
40-yard dash: 4.42
Janis is a project coming out of an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division II) program, a high-upside pick that the Packers would love to sneak onto their practice squad to develop (if they can, or if he shows enough in camp). He's a big body but only three receivers ran a faster time than he did at the NFL combine. That combination was clearly enticing.

Justin Perillo

College: University of Maine
Selected: Undrafted free agent
Position: Tight end
Height: 6-3
Weight: 250
40-yard dash: 4.67
Another project, Perillo fits the mold of former basketball-playing tight ends that are popping up in the NFL, though he did not play hoops in college. He was Delaware's high school basketball player of the year in 2009 and also played baseball, which is why he wound up at Maine rather than a bigger football program. He developed his pass catching skills, but he was moved into the backfield at times as a blocking fullback.


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