Packers wide receiver proving why he belongs on the final roster
By Tyler Job
Jake Kumerow has proved himself time and time again throughout his entire career that he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster.
It all started when he played football at South Elgin High School in Bartlett, Ill., a Northwest suburb of Chicago. While at South Elgin, Kumerow earned all-conference.
After high school, he took his skills to the University of Illinois as a walk-on redshirt freshman in 2011. Kumerow struggled in his short stint with the Fighting Illini, as his best performance came against the Minnesota Golden Gophers where he caught just three passes for 15 yards.
The following year, Kumerow transferred to UW-Whitewater and never looked back. From his sophomore campaign until the day he graduated, he won back-to-back national championships against the University of Mount Union in 2013 and 2014. And he played a major impact in both title games by having over 100 yards receiving in each while also scoring three touchdowns.
He also set single-season UW-Whitewater records in his junior year with 1,331 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.
Kumerow first joined the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2015, and then signed with the New England Patriots a couple years later. For the most part, however, he remained on their practice squads and struggled to find a team to prove himself.
The 27-year-old joined the Packers’ practice squad in December 2017 and signed a reserve/future contract the following month.
Kumerow shined throughout the first two games of the 2018 preseason at Lambeau Field by catching long touchdown passes in each contest [52 yards against the Titans, and 82 yards against the Steelers].
But a shoulder injury suffered from an awkward landing against Pittsburgh prevented Kumerow from making any more impressions until December, where he was finally promoted to the 53-man roster.
Many Packers fans recall his best game of the season against the New York Jets just days before Christmas, where he hauled in a 49-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers in the second quarter.
Kumerow finished 2018 with eight catches for 103 yards, even though he was on the 53-man roster for only a month.
Now we are in August 2019, and Kumerow has earned praise from Rodgers, head coach Matt LaFleur, cornerback Jaire Alexander, and the rest of the Green Bay faithful. Back in June, Rodgers recalled Kumerow as being “an intelligent guy” who “does the little things.” He has even been called “Whitewater Jesus” several times on Twitter.
It seems as if Kumerow has been proving Rodgers’ own words throughout the preseason so far. He has been playing with the starters in practices by running impressive routes, catching the ball in whichever spot it is thrown to him and scoring touchdowns.
In Green Bay’s two preseason games, Kumerow caught five passes for a total of 79 yards on seven targets, all for first downs. Against the Ravens, he beat 2017 first-round pick Marlon Humphrey in one-on-one coverage for an 18-yard catch. One of his targets came on a low throw that bounced on the grass from Tim Boyle. The other was his only drop.
He is for sure going to participate in Green Bay’s next contest against the Oakland Raiders, and whether or not Rodgers plays, Kumerow will be targeted several times and probably catch the ball, too.
When he has been asked to step up, Kumerow has shown over and over his value to the team. At this point, it is almost a lock that number 16 will make the 53-man roster once again. I would be perplexed if he does not.
And if Kumerow makes the cut, he has done so by proving himself so many times why he belongs on the Packers.