Detroit Lions, NFC North positional previews: Wide Receivers

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 23: Marvin Jones
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 23: Marvin Jones /
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(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Green Bay Packers

Key returning players: Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown

New additions: None

Key losses: Randall Cobb

In 2019, the Green Bay Packers will likely once again boast the finest receiver in the division in Davante Adams. His supporting cast though will consist of a talented though largely unproven group of young players with varying levels of experience.

Adams is coming off of his best season, and a second straight Pro Bowl selection. 2018 saw him eclipse 1,000 yards through the air for the first time, totaling 1,386, seventh best in the NFL. He has tremendous hands and body control, can line up all over the formation and he has developed some serious chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Expect more of the same in 2019.

Behind Adams is where it gets tricky. Though his production had waned in recent years, slot man Randall Cobb was a fixture in the Green Bay offense, and a trusted target for Rodgers. With him gone to the Dallas Cowboys, a host of young players will be looked upon for bigger contributions and quick development.

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Geronimo Allison was off to a good start in 2018, and looked ready for a breakout season. That ended with him landing on injured reserve after just five games thanks to a painful abdominal injury suffered in practice. A full return to health could give the 6-3 Allison the opportunity to fill a “big slot” role for new head coach Matt LaFleur.

Another tall aerial option, Marquez Valdes-Scantliing will be looking to build on a promising rookie season in which he appeared in all 16 games and saw his role increase after Allison’s injury. He offers excellent field stretching ability – ten of his 38 catches went for at least 15 yards. He showed a knack for making contested catches as well, making him a strong candidate to start on the outside opposite Adams.

Equanimeous St. Brown, also entering his second year in Green Bay, didn’t make the kind of impact that Valdes-Scantling did as a rookie. But the Packers love his size (6-5, 214), which could become a factor in the red zone.

Other holdovers include sophomore J’Mon Moore, who played sparingly as a rookie, and return specialist Trevor Davis, who has just eight career catches. These two likely face the longest roster odds; as for Moore, there likely isn’t room for three second year receivers in the unit, and Davis is coming off of an injury-plagued 2018.

Rodgers is notoriously hard on young receivers, and he and LaFleur will be under a significant amount of pressure in 2019 to get off to a good start with a difficult early schedule. They can depend on Adams having another standout campaign, but will need at least one of their second year pass-catchers to contribute.