A futures signing in January could have netted the Detroit Lions a quality veteran player and possible hidden gem at wide receiver in 2017.
Wisconsin isn’t exactly known as a wide receiver powerhouse. So it isn’t at all surprising a walk-on player like Jared Abbrederis went under the radar in the 2014 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-1, 195 pound former track star who was named Gatorade track athlete of the year his senior year of high school didn’t get drafted until the fifth round.
That’s despite Abbrederis recording 78 receptions for 1,081 yards and nine total touchdowns in 13 games during his final year at Wisconsin. But the late round selection landed in a great situation with the Green Bay Packers.
Unfortunately, an ACL injury Abbrederis suffered in training camp ended the young receiver’s rookie season with the Packers before it even began. The following year, a concussion resulted in him missing most of training camp and he ended up on Green Bay’s practice squad.
Although Abbrederis was promoted to the Packers’ active roster in October, a rib injury limited him to just 10 games in 2015. That didn’t stop quarterback Aaron Rodgers from pleading Green Bay’s coaching staff to grant the second-year wide out more playing time.
That season, Abbrederis ironically had his best game as a pro against the Detroit Lions. In a Week Ten matchup at Lambeau Field, the now 26-year old veteran posted four receptions for 57-yards and a fumble in the Detroit win.
In the Packers’ 2015 playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the divisional round, Abbrederis was targeted a whopping 12 times. But he ended the day with only four catches for 55 yards.
Unfortunately, the injury bug struck again and Abbrederis was placed on Injured Reserve in October due to a thigh injury. The Lions snatched him up in January and so far it’s looking like the fourth-year receiver is picking up right where he left off last offseason.
"“Been a nice spring for Abbrederis,” Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter told MLive.com this week. “I think he runs routes the way you kind of want him to, as a coordinator. He really talks to the quarterback with his body language. He gets open in a way that the quarterback’s able to deliver him an accurate ball. It’s not something you can take for granted at this level.”"
Although you just never know what will transpire in the offseason, Abbrederis looks to be the favorite to win the fourth wide receiver role behind Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay on the Lions’ depth chart. And if Abbrederis can stay healthy, don’t be surprised if he emerges as quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s security blanket at some point during the season.