GREEN BAY, Wis. – In a tradition that stretches more than a decade, here is our annual ranking of the 90 players on the Green Bay Packers’ roster. This isn’t merely a look at the best players. Rather, it’s a formula that combines talent, salary, importance of the position, depth at the position and, for young players, draft positioning. More than the ranking, we hope you learn a little something about every player on the roster.
No. 31: WR Devin Funchess (6-4, 225, sixth season, Michigan)
“There’s nothing wrong with Aaron Rodgers that a couple of receivers can’t fix.”
That’s what a scout told Packer Central in March. A week later, general manager Brian Gutekunst signed receiver Devin Funchess.
Can Funchess help fix Rodgers after a few subpar seasons? And can Rodgers help fix Funchess’ career?
The key to both questions will be Funchess’ hands. In 2018, he had six drops and a drop rate of 12.0 percent, according to Pro Football Focus. Of 100 receivers to be targeted at least 40 times, that drop rate ranked 87th. In 2016, he had six drops and ranked 95th of 97 receivers with a drop rate of 20.7 percent. As a rookie in 2015, he had eight drops and ranked 94th of 97 receivers with a drop rate of 20.5 percent. The outlier was his impressive 2017, when he had three drops and finished 17th out of 95 receivers with a drop rate of 4.5 percent.
From 2015 through 2019 – he missed most of last season in Indianapolis with a broken collarbone – 149 receivers were targeted at least 100 times. According to Pro Football Reference, Funchess’ career catch rate of 51.9 percent ranked 130th during that span. Some of that falls on his former quarterback, Cam Newton, an excellent player when he’s on his game but not always the most accurate passer, and some of that falls on Funchess for failing to take advantage of his opportunities.
He’s not been a long-ball threat, catching 13-of-55 passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield. That 23.6 percent catch rate lags well behind Rodgers’ mark of 33.3 percent from last season. Moreover, despite his enormous frame, he has a career catch rate of less than 40 percent in contested-catch situations.
“It’ll be fun to see where he’s at physically,” Rodgers said. “And, from his football IQ, we’ve had some really good conversations.”
With Rodgers, Funchess has the quarterback he’s never had in his career. After four seasons with the Newton-led Panthers, Funchess signed a one-year, $10 million deal with Indianapolis last offseason with the expectation of playing with Andrew Luck. Luck, however, retired and Funchess missed the final 15 games with a broken collarbone. Now, he’s got a chance to resurrect his career alongside Rodgers. Funchess needs Rodgers to get his career on track, just like Rodgers needs Funchess to help win a Super Bowl.
Why he’s got a chance: Green Bay’s receiver corps is long on length. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Funchess fits the bill in giving the Packers a fifth receiver who stands at least 6-foot-4. He’s, quite literally, the lone big addition to a unit that wasn’t good enough last season. The lack of offseason practices won’t help but at least he’s been around the block. “You add a guy like Devin Funchess, who I can’t wait to start to work with, because here’s a big, physical receiver that is extremely talented,” coach Matt LaFleur said.
90 TO 1 ROSTER COUNTDOWN
No. 32: CB Josh Jackson (coming later)