With an already-crowded receiver corps of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Davante Adams and Jared Abbrederis, the Green Bay Packers used a late seventh-round pick to take a flier on Jeff Janis. Janis, a raw but athletic receiver, could turn out to be one of the best picks of the draft.
Late-round picks don't even ensure you the ability to see the roster in your rookie season. Green Bay drafted two receivers in the seventh round last year who never got a ball thrown their way. In some ways, this can be seen as a high-risk, high-reward pick.
Bleacher Report's own Ryan McCrystal viewed him very much in the same way.
Janis' measurables and combine performance are hard to ignore, but he's far from a finished product. He wasn't tested at the DII level, and it showed during his week at the Senior Bowl. His physical tools give him a high ceiling, but he is very much a developmental prospect and will struggle to get on the field early in his career.
Draft Projection: 7th Round-UDFA
At Saginaw Valley State, he was put in a position where he didn't have to do many of the things NFL teams ask of receivers. He's not as fast on the screen as he was at the combine, either. Did he improve his athleticism in the time between the season and his time in Indianapolis, or is there untapped potential there?
Ted Thompson is hoping it's the latter and he hits on a receiver Mockdraftable.com compares him to: Javon Walker, a former Green Bay Packer.
The "futures" fantasy football community has also rallied behind Janis recently. RotoViz's Davis Mattek even went as far into the measurements to compare him to Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons. He added:
If Jeff Janis had gone to an SEC or Big 12 school, the conversation about him would be undoubtedly different. Either he would be talked about as a first round pick because his incredible performance and measurables would have transferred over to a harsher level of competition, or he would be in the Martavis Bryant category as a physical project who had the tools but needed to be taught the position.
Now Bryant ended up being a fourth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but even if Janis is that, Thompson stole him by taking him three rounds later.
The best-case scenario, at least without injuries to those above him, is that he wins out a spot as the sixth wide receiver on the roster in 2014 and stays active on game days due to his special teams ability. In 2015, all bets are off. The three veteran receivers are slated to leave, leaving the rookies—Adams, Abbrederis, and Janis—as the top receivers on the roster.
While that's not likely the situation the Packers want to find themselves in, with the Janis pick, they can at least guarantee themselves that as the floor to their receiving corps in 2015.