NFL

Swing for Odell, take a shot on Jameson – how Packers can fill Davante Adams void

By Sports Desk March 19, 2022

One of the NFL's most prolific quarterback and wide receiver duos saw their time together come to an end on Thursday as Davante Adams was traded by the Green Bay Packers to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Adams' departure ends his association with MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the apparent telepathy between that duo helping keep the Packers at the forefront of the NFC over the past three seasons.

Since Adams was drafted in 2014, Rodgers had found him for 68 receiving touchdowns. Since 1991, when Stats Perform started collecting data, they are seventh in that category among quarterback and receiver duos.

Arguably the league's premier wide receiver, Adams' impact will be near-impossible to replace, but the Packers do have avenues via which they can attempt to fill the void, especially in a draft where the Packers now have picks 22 and 28 in the first round.

Here, Stats Perform looks at some of the potential additions the Packers could make to minimise the pain of Adams' exit.

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Jarvis Landry

Released by the Cleveland Browns having previously been given permission to seek a trade, Landry is coming off a season in which he played only 12 games and produced career lows in receiving yards (570) and touchdowns (two).

However, the advanced numbers suggest he still has plenty in the tank as a wideout who can operate on the outside and in the slot.

According to Stats Perform data, Landry finished the 2021 season with an open percentage of 40, well above the league average of 32.58. His combined open percentage against man and zone coverage was 38.3.

Odell Beckham Jr.

The most high-profile receiver still on the free-agent market is the one the Packers were reportedly interested in before he signed with the Los Angeles Rams following his release from the Browns.

Beckham appeared to voice his displeasure on social media after news of Adams' historic contract with the Raiders emerged, the former New York Giant having also seen the Rams agree to a contract with Allen Robinson in free agency.

His torn ACL suffered in the Rams' Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals may be complicating matters for the defending champions, and there could be an opportunity for the Packers to take advantage and lure him to Lambeau Field.

With five touchdowns in his final seven regular-season games in 2021 and two in the Rams' triumphant postseason, Beckham showed plenty to suggest he can still be an elite NFL wide receiver; his open percentage against man of 46.97 was 10th among receivers with at least 100 matchups.

Will Fuller

Staying on the field has been a career-long battle for Fuller, who featured in just two games in his lone season with the Miami Dolphins last year.

Yet he could prove an affordable option and give the Packers a speedy downfield weapon if they do not re-sign Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Among wideouts with at least 50 targets, Fuller was fifth in burn rate – which measures how often a receiver wins his matchup on a play where he is targeted – in 2020, recording a burn on 73.3 per cent of his targets.

He was also fifth in burn yards per target (14.08) and tied 10th in big-play rate (39 per cent).

DRAFT

Chris Olave – Ohio State

There isn't a Davante Adams in this year's draft, but it's still an extremely deep receiver class, in which Olave is near the top.

Possessing an extremely intriguing blend of speed and refined route-running ability, Olave is frequently linked with the Packers in mock drafts.

A big-play threat who can be a significant weapon in the red zone, only DeVonta Smith (37) scored more receiving touchdowns in the FBS than Olave (32) between 2019 and 2021.

Treylon Burks – Arkansas

At 6ft 3in and 225 pounds, Burks would bring significant size to the receiver position for the Packers, as well as plenty of versatility.

Burks was not used in a conventional sense for a receiver of his frame by the Razorbacks, frequently receiving the ball on screens and carries out of the backfield.

Just 169 of his 1,104 receiving yards came at the catch point in 2021, illustrating his prowess after the catch in the open field. Despite not being used as regularly downfield as some might expect, he was still second in the SEC to Jameson Williams (24) with 20 receiving plays of 20 yards or more.

With his experience operating out of the backfield and the potential to use him as a 'power slot' given his size, Burks could add an intriguing different dimension to the Green Bay passing game.

Jameson Williams – Alabama

Speaking of Williams, it will be fascinating to see how far he falls in the draft after his season ended with him suffering a torn ACL in the National Championship Game loss to Georgia in January.

The Packers should at least give thought to using their second pick in the first round on the former Crimson Tide burner, whose devastating combination of track star speed, foot quickness and route-running savvy made him a nightmare for defenders across college football.

It is not clear when Williams would be ready to start building a rapport with Rodgers, but there is no doubt over how potent they could be together.

Williams averaged 19.9 yards per reception last year, while no player in the FBS had more than his nine catches of at least 50 yards, making him a likely ideal match for one of the best deep ball throwers in the NFL.

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