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Packers' Post Randall Cobb Slot Options

Randall Cobb is gone.  Most saw this coming, and ultimately it's the best thing for the team's future.  Significant investments were made in upgrading the talent level of the defense.  The $5.5M the Dallas Cowboys gave Cobb would've eaten up most if not all of Green Bay's remaning money, which would've made no sense.  

That won't make watching Cobb with a star on the side of his head any easier, that's for sure.

The reason that it was time to move on, is the depth of the receiver group in Green Bay.  The Packers may not be "loaded" at the position, but there are already six in-house options that have at least showed something in an NFL game.  Davante Adams is a superstar.  If you question that now you're just not watching.  Geronmio Allison is a solid if unspectacular option who was on pace to have a nice 2018 before an injury derailed his season.  Jake Kumerow is potentially the most unreasonably popular Packers player since Jeff Janis and the Packers drafted three athletic stars in the 2018 draft in Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown and J'Mon Moore.  

But can any of these guys play the slot?  That's the position that Randall Cobb manned since being drafted by the Packers in 2011.  It is not as important as some are making it out to be.  The Shanahan/LaFleur offense is not the exact same thing as the McVay offense.  McVay's offense is in 11 personnel almost exclusively.  Don't get me wrong, the slot has a place in the offence, but there are plenty of two back sets and two tight end sets in LaFleur's system.

So who plays in the slot? That's what we're going to try and find out today:

Jimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham?  The guy who everybody's mad at because he didn't produce last season and because he was soft in the run game?  Yes, that Jimmy Graham.

St. Brown's best position has always been as a big slot.  He's a good YAC guy, and presents a true matchup problem.  He's too fast for linebackers and safeties and he's too big for nickelbacks.  

I bet you didn't know Davante Adams was fifth in the NFL among qualified receivers in yards per route run from the slot.  That number is better than either Stefon Diggs' or Adam Thielen's, and is also better than Golden Tate's, Julian Edelman, Antonio Browns' and Keenan Allen's.

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Ross Uglem is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @RossUglem 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (33) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Dzehren's picture

Good analysis Ross. Still can't believe ESB lasted until the 6th round! What is your prediction on # of WR on the 53 man roster next year? Will be less than 7 with all the 2 & 3 WR sets MLF deploys.

Coldworld's picture

Think it was really 6 plus Davis as returner. I see 6 as conceivable with four TE/FB/HB with the resigning of Lewis. The returner could in reality have a nominal position as an additional CB/RB or WR because I don’t see Davis being that person.

On a different note, I think we are forgetting or writing off Moore too early. I think he has the physical potential to be a slot candidate as well. He is only entering his second year.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Agreed and have written about it.

haseo's picture

Great article, Ross! I admittedly got a little teary-eyed on the thanks to Cobb at the end. Will miss him!

Jonathan Spader's picture

Slot options - Graham, ESB, Kumero, draft pick.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

I'd like to see them cross-train all of them and force the defenses to adjust. I think Kumerow is a good big-slot prospect as well. I'm also hoping we add a fast, shifty type from the draft to act as a slot AND a punt returner. I'd love Isabella, but there are other good candidates.

Coldworld's picture

Not a knock on Kumerow as a slot prospect, but he seems to do most outside from what I have seen.

While cross training sounds good, I would prefer that we have a scheme that uses players in ways that don’t correspond to standard positional routes and not overburden our receivers till that is mastered. True cross training is a luxury with this amount of youth/inexperience. It made sense when we had a veteran WR chart, for now get them to master one position as prime and a second as depth. The same could be said in the secondary.

Packers2019's picture

Agree, Cold,

He may not be on the roster if MVS, ESB, and Moore take a jump in year two. Also remember, Kumerow is 27 years old already.

Lare's picture

Nice evaluation Ross, I also expect the Packers to pick up a WR in the draft who can also return kicks/punts.

Returner was a revolving door last year and actually cost the Packers at least one win. Time to end the Davis experiment and get a slot/return specialist that can fill both roles.

Coldworld's picture

Davis can’t get on the field and has no obvious WR upside. Too much of a risk. In an ideal world, I’d love an RB 3 as a returner. More durable body type and additional options in the backfield on game day if we are planning 2 RB sets as I hope.

Qoojo's picture

"The reason that it was time to move on, is the depth of the receiver group in Green Bay"

I wouldn't call it depth, more like potential. Enough potential that odds are someone steps up.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

"The best version of 11 personnel likely doesn't even have Jimmy Graham on the field, especially on early downs."

Coldworld's picture

interesting comment I agree. However it may in part be rooted in MM style thinking. The best big play set may not. The best move the chains set might well involve him. It was that type of usage that evaporated for TEs in GB.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I knew Graham and ESB could play slot but you've shown me MVS ans Adams can too. The Titans used 11 personnel the 6th least last season, so I expect MLF to use a lot less of it than MM did.

Jonathan Spader's picture

The Titan's WR core was/is awful. There's a LOT more to work with in GB. Mariota was injured and even healthy doesn't compare to Rodgers.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

GB ran 11 personnel 65% of the time last season which was 5th most. I don't think MLF is going to do that based on his comments on being multiple and not tipping.his hand with formations.

jannes bjornson's picture

The circus has pulled its stakes and left town. The quick slot WR/KR is on the wish list for Gutekunst. Moore and Kemerow will have to fight it out for a spot. TE will be brought on board. Better TEs than Wrs in this draft.

Coldworld's picture

Not so sure for two reasons.

Firstly I think that wherever we draft a WR, it will be our perceived BPA, rather than body type

Secondly, slot is more about short area than pure speed: beat the defender to get yards after the catch. The problem with smaller slot types is that they tend to be one dimensional. Once in the field that’s the role they fill because they typically struggle on the perimeter. Cobb at his peak could do many things, but he typically didn’t do well when lined up as a perimeter receiver. If the new offense seeks misdirection, players like EQ or MVS may offer more from the slot.

Madfan's picture

Interesting topic and very nice presentation.

I'm not sure what you are saying about Allison beyond solid but unspectacular. Are any of the others better than solid and unspectacular?

I see value in moving Adams around, including some plays in the slot. I tend to agree that MVS adds more on the outside. I wish I had more of an idea of how St. Brown performed with his large catch radius. I've seen nothing so far that indicates Moore is the answer in the slot.

PatrickGB's picture

Thanks Ross. Cobb was a great WR and was respected by this team it’s too bad that the cap hit and injuries took their tool. I will miss him.

RickInCali's picture

We’ve had other WR’s who started slowly and/or badly that turned out very well for us - Driver, James Jones, and others. Jamon may yet be a player and Allison has a place even though I think his ceiling is relatively low. No need to invest heavily except for someone with a super-human trait. You could go Hakeem Butler or Marquise Brown and try for home run at 44, but safer to get a safety, OL or a corner there, depending on how the first two picks fall. If we go TE early, I prefer Hockenson, but could see Fant doing everything in those videos, and more.

Coldworld's picture

Any receiver that can get a thousand yards plus from a position other than your number one is an asset. Allison hasn’t done that, and I never expected him to show the potential to do so, honestly. Then in the first four games last year he put up numbers against healthy defenses which suggested it is a credible possibility.

1000 yards is not JAG. It might have been an anomaly, but sometimes players just are better than their testing. If he can get it done, who cares how? I do think he earned the right to be given a little more respect this year and that the team already sees that. If he continues to rack up yards when on the field, I will take that.

Adorabelle's picture

Mr. Allison was on pace for over 1100 yards in his first four games. Now it was just that - four games - but it was enough to get him back in town to see if he can keep that up for a season. Both he and Mr. Kumerow have that "the quarterback likes them" thing that the 2nd year players need to get. I thought a veteran "cheap" slot receiver was going to come to Green Bay but I guess that just depends if you thought someone like Cole Beasley, Adam Humphries or Jamison Crowder were cheap.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

With Fant's athletic capabilities and sub 4.5 speed he is one of the players in this draft that really allows for crazy mismatches. Move him outside and inside and defense is in trouble matching up. I have been saying for awhile Adam's will be playing more slot as he is made for it. Very talented where ever put and allows other WR talent such as MVS and EQ to be on field.

Not sure there is another offensive player who would have more of an immediate impact for Packers than Fant. More and more mock drafts show him to Packers.

fthisJack's picture

Allison's ceiling is higher than most people give him credit for. if not injured early last year, he was on pace for 60 catches for 900 yards. those are not low ceiling numbers.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Agree!

I have always seen Geronimo as a better player than most. Somehow he just seems to get open even without the superior athletic testing capabilities. Depending on what they do with the slot he will be interchangeable with MVS and EQ. Good player!

Don Guske's picture

The most important position is the OLine. Give AR enough time and I could be the WR or RB

Don Guske's picture

Do you remeber the 1962- 1967 packers OL ?
Thats why Bart Star is in the hall of fame.

Spock's picture

I always enjoy your articles, Ross. I really loved the choice of using that picture of Aaron hugging Cobb at the end of the article; kind of brings a tear to your eye as an appropriate farewell image for Cobb leaving GB.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Great great photo and shows many of these players have an emotional side to them. Cobb loved GB and the Packers and it showed. Always hard to lose quality players and individuals like Cobb and Clay.

Time doesn't stop....

Barazinho's picture

Also noted in the tweets - Buster Skrine isn't very good. The bears definitely downgraded their secondary this year (Callahan > Skrine, Amos > HHCD).

4zone's picture

Hey Ross, how did you upload only 72 players on your big board to Fanspeak's On The Clock?

Ross Uglem's picture

I have nothing to do with that. They have my original big board over there and I submitted 275 players to them. If only 72 are showing up that's not on me.

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