For the first time in Ted Thompson's tenure as Green Bay Packers general manager, a former Wisconsin Badger will now call Lambeau Field home. The Packers selected former UW wide receiver Jared Abbrederis with the last pick in the fifth round Saturday, No. 176 overall. All together, Abbrederis was one of five Badgers selected.
In a group of receivers featuring Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, where does Abbrederis fit? Will he have to fight for playing time, or could we see him on the field early? For answers, we turned to our friends at Acme Packing Company, SB Nation's Packers site. Jason Hirschhorn (on Twitter @JBHirschhorn) was kind enough to take time out of a busy Saturday to fill in the blanks.
1. What was your initial reaction to the Packers taking Jared Abbrederis? Was he a player you were expecting to land there, especially once that second fifth-round pick rolled around?
My thought process entering the draft was Jared Abbrederis was off the Packers' draft board. As with most NFL teams, they've shied away from prospects with concussion concerns. Obviously that didn't turn out to be the case with Abbrederis, who becomes the first Wisconsin player Ted Thompson has drafted since becoming the Packers' general manager in 2005.
2. Where would you slot Abbrederis' right now on the Packers' wide receiver depth chart?
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Starting out, Abbrederis sits squarely behind the top three returning receivers -- Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin -- as well as second-round selection Davante Adams. He'll be competing with a trio of second-year players in Kevin Dorsey, Myles White and Chris Harper.
3. In your eyes, what does he need to do to push for playing time?
If he can carve out a role as a slot receiver, he'll get on the field as a rookie. Nelson, Boykin and likely Adams will play the vast majority of their snaps on the boundary, leaving only Cobb to handle slot duties. Abbrederis' quickness (6.80-second 3-cone time) could make him very successful there.
4. Do you see him being a slot receiver in Green Bay? That seemed to be the most common pre-draft prediction for him.
I don't think that's all he is, but that's where he'll compete for playing time early on.
5. Overall, how would you grade this pick for the Packers? How well does Abbrederis fit into Mike McCarthy's offense?
It wasn't a need pick based on the Packers' current roster (neither was Adams), but looking in the future it makes a lot of sense. Nelson and Cobb become unrestricted free agents after 2014 while Boykin becomes a restricted free agent. All three are expected to receive extensions, but the Packers bought themselves insurance (and leverage in the contact negotiations) with their receiver selections. As for fit, Abbrederis' elite route-running makes him a great fit for Mike McCarthy's offense. If he stays healthy, he should become a fixture in the Packers' passing game.