GREEN BAY — By now, most Green Bay Packers fans know that Jordy Nelson isn’t around anymore, but most Packers fans also know the team is expecting to maintain a high performance passing game. So who’s going to catch the ball?
When the Packers won Super Bowl 45, they had an embarrassment of riches at the wide receiver position; Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Donald Driver were all major players — and they are all now gone.
The 2018 group is headlined by Davante Adams and Randall Cobb. Lower on the depth chart are five players who have yet to catch in the NFL, but who can make legitimate claims on a roster spot. That list includes three new draft choices, which means the organization has already made an investment in them.
J’Mon Moore, #82, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, #83 and Equanimeous St. Brown, #19, have all had their early ups and downs. The eye-opening performer early in camp is former UW-Whitewater wideout Jake Kumerow — a veteran of three teams’ practice squads.
Then there’s the largely forgotten DeAngelo Yancey, a fifth-round draft choice from Purdue a year ago who spent his rookie season on the practice squad.
FOX6’s Tim Van Vooren: “Have you changed your body this year?”
Yancey: “Oh yeah, I had to drop a few pounds, get my conditioning down — all the things you’ve got to do to become a good football player. When you drop a few pounds, first of all, you can see the difference and you can feel the difference which is the most important thing on the field – so it’s definitely a big difference.”
FOX6’s Tim Van Vooren: “So was that your choice or did they encourage you to do that?”
Yancey: “It was mine. I kind of knew going through that the weight I was at, I wasn’t really comfortable at it. I wasn’t able to sustain a drive. I felt myself getting tired and it shouldn’t be like that so I knew I had to lose a couple.”
Jamaal Williams recognizes that he was drafted only one round before Yancey in 2017, and he’s already had plenty of opportunity to sink or swim at running back while Yancey has effectively remained in dry dock.
“Yancey’s a great player. Yancey’s a great person. Works hard. Never complaining. Always doing whatever he can do to improve himself,” said Williams.
Improving his chances of sticking around in Green Bay is Yancey’s top priority.
“The way I look at it is it’s the nature of the league. Being a drafted guy, being an undrafted guy, you see Jake, Jake is having a really good camp. Guys come in and out of the league every single year, so the way I look at it is as long as I’m going to be in the league, I’m going to have to come and compete,” said Yancey.
The Packers know that however they arrive and however they earn their spot on the team, having a multitude of contributing receivers is a formula for success.