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. 54: WR Reggie Begelton (6-0, 200, first year, Lamar)
When Begelton signed a reserve/futures contract with the Packers on Jan. 3, it was the highlight of a remarkable story.
Begelton wasn’t recruited by any Division I programs coming out of West Brook High School in Beaumont, Texas, and wound up walking on at Lamar.
“I came here to get a degree in chemical engineering, as this school is very good for engineering,” he told the school Web site in 2019. “I played football just to play it. As far as playing, it was tough. It started off rough at first because I didn’t get any scholarships coming out of high school, so I had to walk on my first year.
“I was a walk-on for two years, and at that point my dad was paying out of pocket for me to go here because I couldn’t get financial aid. I had to make a choice whether to quit football or at least ask the coach for a partial scholarship. If I couldn’t get that, I was going to have to quit football or a few classes.”
He got a half-scholarship, which he turned into a school-record 227 receptions in four seasons. He went undrafted and unsigned. With no NFL prospects following two failed tryouts, he retired.
A taste of the real world got Begelton back in the game. Signing with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, he caught 22 passes in 2017 and 25 passes in 2018 – both seasons derailed by injuries – before grabbing 102 passes for 1,444 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.
“Honestly, I’m awestruck for words,” he told the team Web site late last season. It’s been a long ride. I finally got the opportunity and I took advantage of it.”
By taking advantage, he got himself on NFL radars. He had a series of tryouts after the CFL season, including one with Green Bay on Dec. 31. A few days later, he signed a futures deal with the team.
“I went through all these workouts and I’m not getting any real positive feedback and I’m kind of panicking,” Begelton told the Athletic. “I’m finally getting this opportunity and I’m not getting what I wanna hear, so you can only imagine what’s going through my head at this point that I’m heading to the Packers.”
The Packers entered the offseason with what appeared to be a glaring need at receiver. Instead, the team signed Begelton in January, Devin Funchess in free agency and Darrell Stewart in undrafted free agency. That’s it. That makes the door wide open.
“The one thing that you notice about Reggie when he plays the game, he’s definitely not afraid to catch the ball in traffic,” Stampeders receivers coach Pete Costanza told the Beaumont Enterprise. “He’s got very good hand-eye coordination. The one thing I thought his game really improved on this past season was his ability to catch the ball, understand the situation and help us move the chains.”
Begelton finished third in the CFL in yards after the catch. YAC has long been a staple of Green Bay’s offenses; Aaron Rodgers ranked eighth in average YAC per completion last season.
“His YAC right now, man, is just stupid,” Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said last year. “Whether he’s breaking a tackle, making one guy miss with one move to get upfield, he’s working, understanding what we’re doing and doing it well.”
Why he’s got a chance: The depth chart makes it clear. Other than Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, there might not be another lock at receiver on the roster.
“The one thing that really stands out is you can tell he is super-invested,” coach Matt LaFleur said during an offseason Zoom call. “He’s done a great job at picking up everything that we’ve thrown at him. He does a great job. We’ve been quizzing these guys quite a bit, and he is repeatedly at the top. I’m excited to see him and see what he’s got to offer on the field.”