We all know the story of Jared Abbrederis. A walk-on, scout-team quarterback known for his track prowess more than his football skills, the Wautoma, Wisconsin, native became the main receiving threat in the Badgers' offense and ultimately left UW tied for the program's all-time receptions record.
Now, as a fifth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers, Abbrederis has Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback. With his underrated athleticism, polished route-running and advanced football IQ, Abbrederis has the ability to become the most productive wide receiver from Wisconsin in the past decade. Having receivers like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb also takes some immediate pressure off Abbrederis, allowing him to bulk up and earn his NFL reps, possibly as a solid receiver.
|WISCONSIN RECEIVERS IN THE NFL|
|PLAYER||ROUND / TEAM||NFL SEASONS / NOTABLE STAT||NOTES|
|Nick Toon||4th, 2012 / New Orleans Saints||2 seasons / 4 receptions 68 yards||3 career starts in 2013 after being injured all of 2012; only UW WR on active NFL roster|
|David Gilreath||Undrafted||1 season / 0 receptions (8 punt-return yards)||Bounced between 6 NFL teams in 2+ seasons|
|Paul Hubbard||6th, 2008 / Cleveland Browns||2 seasons / 1 reception 8 yards||Recovering from injury|
|Jonathan Orr||6th, 2006 / Tennessee Titans||1 season / 0 receptions||Played for Titans and Raiders over 2 seasons|
|Brandon Williams||3rd, 2006 / San Francisco 49ers||2 seasons / 0 reception (888 career kickoff return yards)||23 career games; injuries cut short career|
|Lee Evans||1st, 2004 / Buffalo Bills||8 seasons / 381 receptions, 6,008 yards, 43 TDs|
Lee Evans was arguably the last from a "golden age" of Wisconsin receivers that made impacts in the NFL, including Donald Hayes (144 career receptions) and Chris Chambers (540 career receptions, 58 touchdowns). Nick Toon dealt with a foot injury that ultimately landed him on injured reserve his first year and was limited to eight games in 2013 for the Saints.
Various pre-draft scouting reports considered Abbrederis between a No. 2 and No. 4 receiver in the NFL. Abbrederis ran the 40-yard dash in a solid 4.5 seconds at the NFL Combine in February and has shown the ability to get open in front of superior talent (see: Bradley Roby vs. Ohio State). Andrew thinks he fits the mold of one Derrick Mason, who carved out a 15-year career in the NFL.
In the modern NFL where multiple receiving options are essential, one does not need to be a No. 1 receiver or main target to make an impact. James Jones led the NFL in touchdown receptions in 2012 with 14 as a No. 2/3 receiver behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb for the Packers. Peyton Manning's offense in 2013 revolved around Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker, who combined for 252 catches (in fact, five Denver Broncos had 60 or more catches in 2013).
Abbrederis also has punt-return experience, so he could make an early impact on both offense and special teams. He could easily be the most productive Wisconsin wide receiver since Evans if he stays healthy and is given the opportunity to show his abilities like he did at Wisconsin.
McCarthy says that they did draft Abbrederis with idea of him helping out in return game. "Don't just draft a returner. Position then return— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) May 10, 2014