The Green Bay Packers are one of the luckiest teams in the NFL. They have continued to find key players to continue to keep the Packers competitive in the NFL. That is partly due to good draft picks, but also part of having a good draft is luck. They were lucky that Aaron Rodgers fell to the 24th pick, who gives Packers back to back Hall of Fame quarterbacks. If that is not the definition of luck I don’t know what is. One area of the team that the Packers have consistently put high-level talent on the field is wide receiver. Over the last 25 years, the Packers have drafted Antonio Freeman, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb. All of these players have been drafted in the second round, except Driver who was a steal in the seventh round and Antonio Freeman who was a 3rd round pick. They have combined for 18 1,000 yard seasons and a total of 38,451 receiving yards. The Packers have continued to find receivers who, when paired up with the Hall of Fame quarterbacks, are able to become top receivers in the league and ignite the offense.
The Packers have yet again found a franchise player in the second round, who just so happens to play wide receiver. Davante Adams was drafted in the 2nd round in 2014 to join a team with two pro-bowl wide receivers in Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. Adams started his career off slow as the 3rd receiver on the team, but in 2016 he took advantage of opportunities that came from injuries and a declining Randall Cobb. He broke out and more than doubled his yardage from 2015 (483 yards to 997 yards). He continued that production in 2017, but in 2018, which was the first year without Jordy Nelson, Adams become the star receiver the Packers expected him to be. Adams finally broke the 1,000-yard mark, bringing in 1386 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Davante Adams has cemented himself as a top receiver in the NFL, but he is now in the position to cement himself as one of the best receivers in Green Bay Packers history. I know some people are going to say that I am or jumping the gun or it was only one great season, but let’s look at the opportunity that he has in front of him. Adams is coming off a season where he had the 2nd most targets out of any wide receiver for the Packers over the last 20 years with 169 targets. The only player to have more is Donald Driver who was targeted 173 times in 2006. One would think that after being targeted 169 times (only being beaten by Julio Jones) in 2018, with a new head coach, and up and coming receivers, that Rodgers would look to spread the ball out more in 2019, WRONG. On June 6th, Rodgers told the Associated Press that he’d “like to throw to Davante more. He’s that open.” Fans should get used to hearing about Rodgers connecting to Adams this coming season.
Davante Adams is also coming into this season in a new revitalized offense. The Packers offense in 2018 was dull and predictable, which is what led to McCarthy being fired midseason. Even under those conditions, Adams was able to have a career year. Now insert a modern NFL offensive scheme, and his production should increase next season. The Packers will look to have more of a balanced offensive attack this offseason, and if the Packers can solidify their run game, it will open up the passing game unlike seasons past. The Packers’ new system will only make Adams flourish for years to come.
Looking at the top receivers for the Packers I mentioned earlier, Freeman, Driver, Jennings, Nelson, and Cobb, Davante Adams is following closely in their footsteps. The first 1,000 yard seasons came in their 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 4th, and 4th seasons respectively. Adams just had his first 1,000-yard season during his fifth year of his career, but came three yards short in 2016 (his 3rd season). As mentioned before, he has the second most targets in a single season out of that list of receivers. Adams is going to have more opportunities, in a new offense, than any receiver for the Packers have had before. Davante Adams is also in the era of the NFL where quarterbacks and receivers have never been more valued or protected on the field. If Adams capitalizes on these advantages, he will solidify himself not only as a top receiver in the NFL, but as one of the best to ever play for Green Bay. He has the footwork, hands, I.Q, and not to mention quarterback, to make this a reality.