Section I: Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood
To say that 2017 was a down year for the Green Bay Packers would be a sore understatement. Since Head Coach Mike McCarthy took over in 2006, here’s how the Packers seasons have played out with their Post-Season results in parenthesis.
2006: 8-8 (Missed Playoffs)
2007: 13-3 (Lost Conference Championship)
2008: 6-10 (Missed Playoffs)
2009: 11-5 (Lost Wild Card)
2010: 10-6 (Won Super Bowl)
2011: 15-1 (Lost Divisional Round)
2012: 11-5 (Lost Divisional Round)
2013: 8-7-1 (Lost Wild Card)
2014: 12-4 (Lost Conference Championship)
2015: 10-6 (Lost Divisional Round)
2016: 10-6 (Lost Conference Championship)
2017: 7-9 (Missed Playoffs)
Whether you realized it or not, The Green Bay Packers have been a nearly guaranteed playoff team throughout Aaron Rodgers career, and 2017 broke an 8-year playoff streak for the cheese heads.
This, of course, happened because the future Hall of Famer wasn’t on the field. Rodgers started only 7 games in 2017 before suffering a collarbone injury. Brett Hundley found himself filling extremely over sized shoes and failed to lead the team to anything beyond mediocrity.
Fast forward to the 2018 offseason. Aaron Rodgers is healthy, but the 2018 offseason appears to have not been a good one for the former MVP. Tensions have been heating up between Rodgers and the Packers Front Office team, which seems to boil down to a couple substantial moves; The dismissal of former Quarterback Coach Alex Van Pelt, and the release of veteran receiving threat Jordy Nelson. Rodgers has stated that he was not consulted in either of these decisions, which is understandably frustrating.
These tensions may seem like traditional offseason noise, but this could end ugly for The Pack. Aaron Rodgers is only under contract for two more seasons, with his deal expiring at the end of the 2019 season. Much like the Patriots have managed to do with Tom Brady, the Packers are certainly lobbying for Rodgers to take a team-friendly contract extension with the promise of higher quality personnel around him and increased chances at championships.
Herein lies the problem. The only way that deal gets done is if Rodgers is happy. After seeing the interest, money, and guarantees that Kirk Cousins received on the open market, Rodgers could easily be tempted to test the waters for himself. I don’t think you need me to tell you that he would be the biggest player to ever hit the market.
The 2018 timeline also supports my wild conspiracy theory. There were reports around the beginning of March that the Packers and Rodgers were close to finalizing his contract extension. Since Kirk Cousins finally inked his deal on March 13th, there’s been almost no news surrounding Rodgers’ extension. Leading this individual to question if
The Packers have time to get the deal done, but this is something to consider when buying assets in the Green Bay offense. For nearly a decade we have been mindlessly buying assets in Green Bay because Aaron Rodgers can turn even fat slobs like Eddie Lacy into stars. Like we saw last year, when he’s not there it’s a whole different ball game.
Section II: Hello, Neighbor!
Even if Rodgers is wearing different colors in 2020, don’t expect his last two seasons in Green Bay to be any less prolific because of it. If Rodgers stays on the field, The Packers will be an elite offense, a playoff lock, and a Super Bowl contender.
With Jordy Nelson now calling Oakland his home, there’s a big opportunity in the Green Bay offense for the player who has the balls to claim it. In 2016, Rodgers led Nelson and Adams to 14 (1st) and 12 (T-2nd) touchdowns respectively.
Before you completely cream your pants about these Rookie Receivers I’m about to mention, we should all bear in mind that Jimmy Graham was brought in during the offseason and offers a lot more receiving ability than anybody else Rodgers has worked with at the position. He looks to be a big threat, especially in the end zone. There is also a possibility that the spot in the starting lineup that appears available could be taken by “running back” Ty Montgomery. He was initially drafted as a wide receiver and doesn’t seem to be durable enough to make it as an NFL running back. If Montgomery doesn’t switch positions, then The Packers would be foolish not to utilize him in the passing game as a third down back or a slot option.
Geronimo Allison also looks to be in the mix. He signed a one year deal this offseason as a restricted free agent and has shown big play ability Week 3 of 2017 and in 2016. However, when his big performances are taken into consideration along with his athletic profile and pre-NFL career, his successful games seem much more like outliers than an indication of future success. If Green Bay had confidence in Allison, why use three draft picks on the wide receiver position?
Here’s the picks that Green Bay used on receiver in the 2018 Draft.
Round 4 Pick 33 – J’Mon Moore, WR-Missouri
Round 5 Pick 37 – Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR-USF
Round 6 Pick 33 – Equanimeous St. Brown, WR-Notre Dame
Let’s look at each of Green Bay’s newest toys. Starting with their first selection.
2017 Stats: 60 Rec/1017 yds/10 TDs
2016 Stats: 62 Rec/1012 yds/8 TDs
All three of these guys are Size/Speed Demons, but J’Mon Moore seems to pocess the least juice out of the three. What he lacks in long speed, however, he makes up for with quickness, explosiveness, and strength. He’s a very fluid route runner, and flashes big play ability both at the catch point and after the catch. He’s tremendous at tracking the deep ball and has elite vertical ball skills. He posted the fourth best Vertical Jump at the combine, and has shown he can make spectacular plays at the college level. After the catch, J’Mon Moore possesses both strength, and incredible agility as a ball runner.
All things said, he does have a lot of room to grow. His game could use refinement, and most would say he’s a very raw prospect. Moore also struggled with focus drops and there are questions about his maturity as a competitor. This guy was one of my favorite prospects entering the draft, and it’s hard not to like him a little more as Green Bay’s first receiver selection.
2017 Stats: 53 Rec/879 yds/6 TDs
2016 Stats: 22 Rec/415 yds/5 TDs
Perhaps one of the most intriguing players in this draft class, Valdes-Scantling brings a unique skill set to the table. He had the ideal size for the position with his 6’4” height and 206 lbs., but he also ran a mouthwatering 4.37 time at the combine. I’m sure the Packers coaching staff are sure the sky is the limit if they can refine some more elements of MVS’ game. Admittedly, the QB play at USF was terrible and Valdes-Scantling could become a lethal combo with Rodgers supplying him the deep ball.
There are some glaring shortcomings in Valdes-Scantling’s game that can’t be ignored. The biggest issue for me is his frequent use of body catching. This along with his small hands and less than stellar tracking skills results in a fair number of drops. He also fails to work back to the ball and doesn’t have much “twitch” in his routes to fool opposing corners. I think if Green Bay is looking for immediate wideout help, they probably won’t get it from MVS.
Equanimeous St. Brown
2017 Stats: 33 Rec/515 yds/4 TDs
2016 Stats: 58 Rec/961 yds/9 TDs
Equanimeous St. Brown was a much loved wideout prospect by most of the Dynasty Football community before the draft. Many thought that he would be a late 2nd or early 3rd round selection, but were certainly shocked when he almost fell into the seventh round. St. Brown’s biggest strength, much like MVS, is his size/speed combo. After standing in at 6’5” and clocking a 4.48 40-yard dash at the 2018 combine, many fell in love with his upside and the potential mismatch he could create. I initially was optimistic about how he would transition to the pros, but after deeper research I started to hate him as a prospect.
St. Browns positives are obvious. Tall, Long limbs, fast, quick feet, and dependable hands. The negatives to his game are more subtle, but big once you spot them. The biggest issue is that he struggles mightily against tough man/press coverage. He’s easily pushed off his routes and struggles to create separation because of his sloppy route running is sloppy. He also makes very little use of his size, and almost never leaves his feet for a ball. You will not see me drafting Equanimeous Trenton Imhotep St. Brown in any of my leagues, and I’d advise you do the same.
To recap, I think the Packers took the receivers in the proper order. I’d target J’Mon Moore in my rookie drafts and look to avoid St. Brown at all costs. Valdes-Scantling has a lot of upside and could make a great flier selection in your third or fourth round.
Be sure to listen to the latest episode of Jet Set Dynasty Football for more reactions to the landing spots of our 2018 NFL Draft Class.