Prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, there was much speculation as to how the organization planned to potentially draft Jordy Nelson’s replacement. Nelson recently turned 32 years old and has two seasons remaining on his contract, one of which is a team option. Nelson came back from an ACL tear beautifully with 1257 rec. yards and a NFL leading 14 touchdowns on his way to Comeback Player of the Year honors. Nelson showed that he can be very productive in the slot later in the season with a league leading 2.75 yards per route run in 2016, per Pro Football Focus.
Personally, I never really bought into the Packers drafting a wideout high in the draft. With Nelson, Cobb, and Adams on the roster, there is plenty of talent at that position. The front office must have seen the situation similarly to myself, because they waited until day 3 to grab a wideout. The Packers walked away from the draft adding two wideouts with 7th rounder Malachi Dupree, in addition to DeAngelo Yancey in round 5.
Yancey is the big physical receiver that the Packers were missing last season with the departure of James Jones. His size and physical testing is so close to that of James Jones coming out of San Jose State, it’s almost scary. In fact, his physical traits match Jones’s 91.9% according to mockdraftable.com. Rest assured, Yancey is a much better of an athlete than the James Jones we saw in 2015.
Yancey played on one of worst teams in the Big-10 in his 4 year Career at Purdue. The Boilermakers won only 9 games in Yancey’s time at Purdue. His team’s lack of success caused him to slide under the radar in my opinion. He was a notable snub from the Scouting Combine, which also hurt his draft stock. He started 5 games as a freshman and 7 as a sophomore before becoming a full time starter as a junior. Yancey led Purdue in yards, receptions, and touchdowns in his final two college seasons. Yancey caped off his college career with 49 receptions for 951 yards and 10 touchdowns. He flashed his big play ability with his 19.4 yards per catch average.
DeAngelo Yancey stands at 6’2″ 201 Lbs. While his 40 time of 4.53 seconds isn’t blazing fast, it is adequate for a receiver of his size. Yancey did not get invited to the combine, he did however post some decent numbers at his pro day. A 35.5 inch vertical, 6.84 second 3 cone time, and 21 reps in bench press. He was primarily used as a deep threat at Purdue. He will likely have to develop a better ability to get open underneath because of a lack of breakaway speed.
Yancey has NFL size and uses physicality well. Adequate run blocker. Showed big play ability last season with a 19.4 yards per catch average. Creates separation late on vertical routes using arms. Shows the ability to highpoint the ball and win 50/50 balls. Not often jammed at the line of scrimmage. Can create yards after the catch.
He needs to show that he is more than just a deep threat at the next level. Will try to run down the field before completing the catch, resulting in drops. Didn’t run a great variety of routes at Purdue. Short stepper. Not going to beat many defensive backs with speed. Route running needs work.
I like this pick, but don’t love it. The Packers organization were smart to look to acquire a deep threat style receiver after what happened in 2015. Yancey is a developmental type guy, but this team does not need a guy who can step in right away. One knock I have on this pick is that Yancey is similar in athleticism to the rest of the wideouts on the roster, the team could have looked to add a quicker guy or a player at a different position. His draft stock was up in the air. Some evidence suggests that he may have gone undrafted, but there’s no way to confirm that. Playing at Purdue, in addition to not being invited to the combine really hurt Yancey’s draft stock. He is far too good of a player to not have gotten drafted in my opinion. This is an above average pick, so it gets a B- in my book.
How He Fits in Green Bay
Yancey is in no way a roster lock for this season, even as a 5th round pick. He will be competing with Geronimo Allison, Jeff Janis, Trevor Davis, and fellow Rookie Malachi Dupree for the fourth spot on the depth chart. I fully expect the Packers to keep 7 wideouts on the 53 man roster this season. Like many others I’ve seen, I tend to think Jeff Janis will be the odd man out when the final roster is announced. Yancey has the tools to be an immediate contributor, but it remains to be seen what hes capable of as an NFL receiver. Because he is a part of a very crowded group of wideouts, don’t expect him to see the field too much as a rookie.
Back to the James Jones comparison, I’d like to dive a little further into just how similar the two were as prospects. As previously mentioned, DeAngelo Yancey (6’2″ 201 lbs) ran a 4.53 40 time, 6.84 3-Cone time, had a 35.5 inch vertical, and posted 21 reps in the bench press. Prior to the draft in 2007, James Jones (6’1″ 207 lbs) posted a 4.57 40 time, 7.06 3-Cone time, a 35 inch vertical, and 21 bench press reps. The numbers are almost identical, although Yancey does show a slight edge in athleticism. Jones was a more polished receiver coming out of San Jose State, that’s why he was drafted in the 3rd round. If DeAngelo Yancey has a career similar to Jones’s, I’m confident that the front office will be thrilled with the draft pick.
Thoughts on Yancey? The roster battle at receiver? James Jones? Let us know in the comment section or tweet at us @PTTF_Podcast. You can also interact with me directly @TrackOnPack. And be sure to check out all of our content on PackToTheFuture.com. Thanks for reading!