Former Wisconsin Badger and now-Green Bay Packer Jared Abbrederis is living his dream. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Abbrederis walked on with the Badgers, became their number one receiver and then had his life turned upside down once again last weekend when the Packers called his name in the 2014 NFL Draft.
This week, he’s in Titletown with his newest teammates and a nice, tidy four-year, $2.364 million deal in hand.
Everything’s looking up for Abbrederis, who is also been described as a value pickup for the Packers.
But it’s going to be a long climb up that ladder of success for the receiver who will join a corps of pass catchers that was perilously thin prior to the draft. With the addition of Davante Adams, Abbrederis and Jeff Janis, suddenly the Packers have depth they haven’t seen at the position in years. One would have to go back a couple of seasons when the Packers had Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Greg Jennings and James Jones running routes to find a deeper group.
So, it’s not going to be easy for Abbrederis. The competition at the position is going to be fierce in training camp and it will be up to Abbrederis to do things to help him stand out. One of the ways he will be able to do that is through special teams. If Abbrederis can carve a niche in the return game, he will have a leg up in making the team.
But that will all come …
At this point, we have to let the guy have his moment before he gets to work. And we will celebrate with him.
Here’s what he had to say about being drafted by the Packers and potential pressure he will face in making the team:
“I don’t really have too much pressure. I’ll do my best and let God do the rest.” – Jared Abbrederis
— John Paul Peckham (@johnpaulpeckham) May 11, 2014
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’s quickness (6.80-second 3-cone time) could make him very successful there.
Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported highlights of Abbrderis’s interview with reporters just after he was drafted:
• His game against Ohio State, help prepare for the NFL? “That was big game for me. Confidence-wise, playing against a guy that went first round. That gave me a lot of confidence that I can play at this level.”
• How does it feel to be a Packer? “It’s crazy right now. I found out probably 15 minutes ago. Just being a walk-on at Wisconsin, and then realizing my dream to play in the NFL, and on the Packers, which is my team, growing up. That’s who I rooted for. I’m excited; I can’t really explain it. A lot of emotions.”
• Returner here? “I haven’t had a lot of conversations yet, but I’ll do whatever they ask.”
• Look at the depth chart here, lost WRs in recent years, is there opportunity here? “Yeah I think its a great fit. They’ve got a lot of great wide receivers there right now. I’m excited to be a part of that group. They do a great job of building up receivers.”
• Will you ask to wear No. 4? “No (laughs) that conversation didn’t happen.”
He was at home, in Wautoma, with his family at the cabin for the draft. “It was definitely a stressful weekend, with a great ending, that’s for sure.”
• Pressure of being a hometown product? “No I don’t really have too much pressure. … At the end of the day, I only do the best I can.”
• Celebrate now? “I’ve got a lot of work to do. I will hang out with the family for the rest of the day.”
• Do you need to add strength? “Definitely. That’s something I can keep working on, keep improving. I will be in the weight room, whatever it takes to make myself a better athlete.”
• Last time he was at Lambeau: “High school, his sophomore year. I was there for a game.”
• Aaron Rodgers: “That’s definitely going to be exciting, catching from one of the best quaterbacks in the league … ”
• Having Scott Tolzien here: “He can give me pointers, that can help out a lot.”