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From Driver to Jennings to Nelson to Adams to Who?

Aaron Rodgers has always had at least one superb receiver to catch his passes. With Davante Adams traded to the Raiders, the Packers might have the worst group in the NFL.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Every year, especially after a game in which the Green Bay Packers struggle offensively, it’s noted that Aaron Rodgers has never thrown a touchdown pass to a first-round receiver.

That ignores the fact Rodgers has always had at least one really good, absolutely proven receiver to throw to during his 15 seasons as Green Bay’s starting quarterback.

That won’t be the case in 2022 following Thursday’s trade of Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Allen Lazard is a high-quality role player. Randall Cobb has got some tread on the tire. The team remains high on last year’s third-round pick, Amari Rodgers. There’s little doubt general manager Brian Gutekunst will supplement that trio with a veteran – perhaps re-signing Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

But what the Packers don’t have is a true No. 1 receiver, someone that Rodgers can count on to get open not just on first-and-10 to start the season but on third-and-10 in a huge game late in the season.

The Packers haven’t done enough to fortify the position, and it might bite them in the derrière in 2022. It’s not that Rodgers has relied too heavily on Adams, though that may be true. It’s that the team has relied too heavily on Adams.

In the six drafts from 2006 through 2011, the late Ted Thompson used second-round picks on Greg Jennings in 2006, Jordy Nelson in 2008 and Randall Cobb in 2011, plus a third-round choice on James Jones in 2007. Those four picks were home runs.

Contrast that to the previous six drafts. A five-year streak without a receiver picked in the opening three rounds ended last year with Amari Rodgers, who was shoved to the back burner with the return of Cobb.

So, it’s not just that losing Adams is a big, big deal. It’s that there’s no obvious star waiting in the pipeline. It will be a unique position for Rodgers to be in, and it puts the pressure on Gutekunst to find an instant playmaker (or two) in the draft.

Here’s a look at the proven playmakers Rodgers lined up with on a year-to-year basis.