May 21, 2022

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There is no better story than Rasul Douglas

6 min read
There is no better story than Rasul Douglas

Henry from Brown Deer, WI

What is the current composition of the team?

Mostly players. Some coaches. A few trainers. Red Batty.

Trevor from Milwaukee, WI

I’ve been waiting since last year! I like to make sure a player has a couple years left on the Packers before I get their jersey. When will I find out if I can get my No. 29 Douglas jersey?

As of 3 p.m. yesterday, you can safely hit the submit button on your order. There’s no better story than Rasul Douglas. He’s the very definition of the right player finding the right opportunity. It was great to see Douglas reach his potential in Joe Barry’s defense last season. You also gotta tip your cap to Brian Gutekunst, Russ Ball and the Packers’ front office for finding a way to keep both De’Vondre Campbell and Douglas. You cannot overstate how important those two men were to Green Bay’s success last season.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

Did the Davante Adams trade provide the most in return in league history for a WR? Randy Moss netted a fourth-round pick at 30 years old and the DeAndre Hopkins trade landed an oft-injured David Johnson and a second-round pick at age 27. While Moss wasn’t considered at the top of his game at the time of the trade, Hopkins was probably rated as a Top 3 WR.

The Adams’ trade is up there in the modern era, but not all-time. Paul Warfield was once traded from Cleveland to Miami for the third-overall pick in 1970. Keyshawn Johnson and Joey Galloway were each traded for two first-rounders in 2000. Even within the Packers’ organization, Green Bay once acquired John Jefferson from the Chargers for a 1983 first-rounder, two seconds (1982 and ’84) and a first-round swap in 1982.

Please help me Insiders: I’m BG, and I’m trying to avoid dropping the ball on drafting a receiver with a No. 1 pick: Justin Blackmon (No. 5, Jaguars); Tavon Austin (No. 8, Rams); Kevin White (No. 7, Bears); Laquon Treadwell (No. 23, Vikings); Corey Coleman (No. 15, Browns). How do I get it right?

You get it right by learning from the past and applying those lessons to today – in this organization and throughout the NFL. Brian Gutekunst was in the building when Ted Thompson drafted Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Adams. The Packers haven’t invested as many picks into the receiver position in recent years, but Gutekunst found Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the fifth round and signed Allen Lazard away from Jacksonville’s practice squad. So, there’s a blueprint established for what the Packers are looking for. It’s up to Gutekunst and Co. to find receivers who hit those markers.

Jennifer from Middleton, WI

Wes, first let me say I would love nothing to be flat-out wrong. But my stomach knots whenever I see people say we’ll be fine because we’ll draft a WR that can contribute immediately. Don’t you think that’s a bit starry-eyed considering it’s never happened with Rodgers at QB? Not even Tae. It’s always “It takes time to get in sync” and “There’s the offense on paper and then there’s how I run it.” No rookie WR has made a big impact in GB. Why should we expect differently?

“Big impact” is in the eye of the beholder. No, there hasn’t been a 1,000-yard rookie receiver during Aaron Rodgers’ 14 years as a starter but Adams, Valdes-Scantling and Cobb all made Year 1 contributions with ’12’ at QB. You have to keep expectations realistic because no single veteran or rookie can replace Davante Adams. The real question needs to be, “What do you offer that makes this offense better?”

Wes, not really a question, but please remind our readers that while we’re searching for the next Nelson, Driver, Jennings, Jones, and Adams, none of these prolific receivers started or made significant impact their first season. All the receivers took time to develop. It would behoove everyone to manage expectations for any receiver(s) drafted this year. I guess I do have a question, if a receiver is drafted in the first round, should we expect ‘instant’ returns this season?

Any contribution a receiver makes in Year 1 is a bonus. The offense ran through Nelson and Cobb in 2014 but Adams in the No. 3 role helped Green Bay win several games that year, including that huge victory over New England at Lambeau. As long as a prospect shows improvement from September to December, that’s what a team is looking for. To me, the challenge is more mental than physical – especially in this day and age with Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and DK Metcalf all making this look way easier than it is. Incoming rookies can set that as their goal, but it’s not the true litmus test of whether their rookie season is successful. The key is trusting their developmental process and focusing on making an impact for their individual team.

As Wes noted, a bunch of high-quality receivers with larger contracts are being traded for late-round picks. So, it’s a good haul for Davante. But also, it would make sense for the Packers to send a fifth- or sixth-rounder for someone like Brandin Cooks, who is wasting away on the Texans. Could they make a move like that work with their cap?

Anything can happen at any time. I’m sure Gutekunst and his personnel guys are surveying the NFL landscape for a potential veteran fit. But again, I think everything starts with Green Bay seeing what happens with MVS and then figuring it out the rest from there.

I noticed some fans asking about moving up in the draft. Please no. The draft is deep. If a player the Packers really like is getting close to where they’re picking, I could see trading a third-round pick or perhaps a couple in the later rounds. But I think management will find so much to choose from by staying put with their two first-round picks and two second-round picks. More swings at the plate, as I think the late Ted Thompson used to say.

“Reading Rainbow,” bro. Gutekunst can go anywhere. The past four years have proven that, especially on Day 1.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Which rookie or first-year Packers receiver has the best stats during Aaron Rodgers’ tenure?

MVS, depending on your definition of “best stats.” He had 38 catches for 581 yards and two TDs in 2018.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

All this talk about lack of receivers or how we only had Cobb under contract (before the tender to Allen Lazard), it seems like no one remembers we have Amari Rodgers. Sure, he had some struggles, but it doesn’t seem all that different from a few years ago when everyone thought some rookie named Adams was overwhelmed and didn’t belong. It’s a very rare WR that has material impact as a rookie. Shouldn’t we expect a big improvement with another offseason of work?

For as much as last year’s receiving corps centered on the four veterans, the Packers were vigilant about developing the younger receivers on their roster. Amari Rodgers, Malik Taylor and Juwann Winfree all saw the field last season. Obviously, Rodgers is the guy fans expect to take the biggest step in Year 2 and he has the best possible mentor in Cobb to help make that happen. My stance on Rodgers hasn’t changed from last summer. I still feel like he’s a good fit for Matt LaFleur’s offense and Green Bay’s jet motions.

With the re-signing of Robert Tonyan. I’d think having Tonyan, Josiah Deguara, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon all on the field could create some real problems for the opposing defense. Did we see this lineup last year much?

I don’t believe we saw that package last year since Deguara took on a greater role in the offense after Tonyan’s knee injury. I think the Jones and Dillon ‘Pony’ package will be an offensive staple next year. Without Adams, Jones becomes the Packers’ biggest offensive playmaker and Dillon made a quantum leap in Year 2. You need to get those two on the field as much as possible. Tonyan is a complete tight end. He can play inline and outside. Keeping Big Bob was huge for this offense.