Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams might not have claimed the top spot on ESPN’s ranking of the best wide receivers entering 2020, but there is at least one NFL cornerback who would rather cover anyone else in the league.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler recently polled more than 50 league executives, scouts, coaches and players to determine the top 10 players of each position group ahead of the new season. In his findings — which ranked Adams as the No. 7 wide receiver — Fowler found that one anonymous veteran cornerback has strong feelings about matching up against Adams.
“I hate going against him more than any other receiver,” the anonymous cornerback told Fowler.
Which wide receiver would you want on your team? 🤔
— ESPN (@espn) July 10, 2020
The 27-year-old Packers wide receiver didn’t just receive praise from some of the competitors he has burned on the field. One veteran coach described Adams as “insanely talented” with a game defined by his movements, jukes and feel. Though, the same coach also criticized Adams as an imperfect receiver for depending more on instincts than refined route running.
Still, more quarterbacks than just Packers veteran Aaron Rodgers recognize the value of having Adams in an NFL offense. Fowler also included a quote from another NFL quarterback who left no room for doubt about how he viewed the three-time Pro Bowler.
“You drop Adams on any team and he’s successful,” the anonymous quarterback told Fowler. “Big, fast, skill.”
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At Least One Voter Considers Adams to be No. 1
One of the first insights made in Fowler’s article was how close Adams was in a race with No. 5 Tyreek Hill and No. 6 Mike Evans, noting many consider him to be a top-three receiver. But there was also one unnamed voter who picked Adams as the top receiver in the league.
Adams finished just three yards shy of a 1,000-yard season for the second time in his career during the 2019 season, but he would have easily surpassed past the mark if not for a turf toe injury that caused him to miss four games. He proved as much in the playoffs with 17 catches for 298 yards and two touchdowns across two performances.
Davante Adams route running is ice cold 🥶 pic.twitter.com/Q4iN532WUK
— Jarad Evans (@PFF_Jarad) July 8, 2020
Some look at Adams’ career numbers and nitpick details that, out of context, would seem to justify pushing the Packers star out of a top-10 conversation. He finished with fewer than 500 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons, and his resume features just one actual 1,000-yard season despite a pair of near-misses.
There was also a decline in touchdown receptions from Adams in 2019, making just five after putting up double-digits in each of the three previous years.
For Adams’ career, though, context has been everything. Names like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb took priority with Rodgers during his first few seasons with the Packers, while he didn’t truly step into the No. 1 receiver role until the 2018 season — in which he hauled in a career-high 111 passes for 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Adams has the potential to exceed his career-best production in 2020 if he manages to stay healthy for the entire year, but the bigger question for the Packers will be whether Adams gets significant help from the rest of their receiving group. A reliable No. 2 didn’t emerge by the end of the 2019 season, but a few candidates — Devin Funchess, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling — stand out heading into training camp at the end of the month.