With his third straight selection to the Pro Bowl, Packers Wide Receiver Davante Adams continues to win over fans all across the NFL. In the 2019 season, Adams caught 83 passes for 997 yards and 5 touchdowns. While those numbers may be impressive, it could be argued that Adams underachieved in 2019 when taken into account his 2018 season where he caught 111 passes for 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns. This is where raw statistics can be misleading at times when taken into context. The Packers over the years have been a pass-based offense led by future Hall of Fame Quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With Rodgers turning 36 this past season, the Packers made a clear point of running a more balanced offense under first year Head Coach Matt LeFleur. These changes allowed the Packers to capture the NFC North title with a record of 13-3 and a trip to the NFC Championship Game.
While his numbers may have seen a dip, Davante’s impact did not go unnoticed. “He’s got great hands, and just knows what his quarterback wants,” said Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay. The question to be bared is where does Adams rank among the top receivers in football. When comparing him to other star talents, he may just be higher than many may previously conceive.
What is unique about Davante Adams which can’t be said about all of the top receivers, is he doesn’t seem to have a point of weakness to his game. He has elite size, speed and catching ability who can also line up out wide and in the slot.
When comparing Adams to other top receivers in the NFL, it illustrates how effective having no weaknesses can be to an offense which is predicated on its ability to have a balanced attack. New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas is widely considered the best in the game after leading the league in both receptions and receiving yards. While there is no disputing the greatness of Michael Thomas who clearly should be considered the best at the position, Adams shares similarities to him which are glaring. Thomas shares the “no weakness” trait which Adams has. Thomas however, has a slight size advantage while also playing over half of his season indoors, which is considered ideal for a passing attack. Adams plays his home games in the oftentimes Wisconsin winter, which can hinder a passing attack. Green Bay made it a point this season to elevate running back Aaron Jones to a larger role than the Packers have traditionally given a rusher. With a few hindering factors, it makes it even more impressive being able to mention Adams in the upper echelon of great receivers in the NFL next to Thomas.
Another star receiver who draws interesting comparisons is Houston Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins. Like Adams, Hopkins had a less impressive statistical season with the Texans as he had less yards, touchdowns and yards per catch than he had the previous two seasons. Likewise to Adams, the dip in individual numbers may have inadvertently translated to a higher degree of team success. The Texnas were able to win their first Playoff game under 3rd-year Quarterback Deshaun Watson. Hopkins and Adams are almost identical in size both coming in at 6 feet 1 inches tall, and both roughly 215 pounds. However, it could be argued Adams’ degree of difficulty is much higher than Hopkins’. Similar to Michael Thomas, Hopkins has the luxury of playing half of his games indoors. Hopkins also has the luxury of a second star receiver to line up on the other side. When healthy, Texans receiver Will Fuller V has shown to be an elite deep threat which spreads out opposing defenses which frees up more space for DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson to tear up opposing defenses. Houston also traded for another receiver in Kenny Stills from Miami, which created a triple threat passing attack. It was a clear struggle for the Packers in 2019 to find a consistent second weapon for the passing game. Adams held a major load offensively considering the lack of depth at the receiver position. With the greatness of both Adams and Rodgers, the Packer offense was able to mask this issue for most of the season on their trip to a division title. Adams’ poise when every opposing secondary was keying in on him can’t be overstated.
The last receiver Adams impressively is compared to is Atlanta Falcons’ Julio Jones. Unlike the other two, Jones’ success is heavily predicated on his size and athletic ability. The 31 year old has been widely considered among the 5 best receivers in football for nearly a decade now and is showing no signs of slowing down, trailing only Michael Thomas for receiving yards in 2019. Jones was just selected to his 6th straight Pro Bowl while posting back to back First Team All-Pro mentions in 2015 and 2016. Adams still has much to prove if he wants to be discussed on the all-time list with Julio, but he is most definitely well on his way. Jones shares a couple of the same luxuries as Thomas and Hopkins do, being having half his season played in a dome and an established second star receiver alongside him. Jones has not relished in team success over the past few seasons the way the other star receivers have largely due to the lack of defensive talent Atlanta has displayed in recent years. One glaring difference which can separate Adams and Jones in the all around game. Jones is primarily used out wide because of his size and speed which pulls the defense away from the middle of the field. What makes Adams’ so impressive is he can line up anywhere and adjust accordingly for his quarterback.
Adams will be entering his 7th season in 2020, looking to once again elevate the Packers to new heights. With the offseason and NFL draft approaching, the Packers look to add to what is shaping up to be a probable contender this season. Look for the legacy of Davante Adams to take a major leap forward in 2020 as the Green Bay Packers are on the rise.