Green Bay fans where ecstatic a few years back, when Packers General Manager Ted Thompson dipped into the local talent pool and selected Wisconsin Badger alumni, Jared Abbrederis in the 5th round of the 2014 draft.
After watching him consistently shred rival defenses in the Big Ten, the Packers faithful had high hopes for the young wide receiver as he prepared to trade in the “Red and White” for the “Green and Gold.”
Those hopes dimmed a bit after his rookie season was lost to injury, and Packers fan waited anxiously for him to get a chance in his second season. As expected, those hopes flared up again momentarily his sophomore year until he was hurt again.
Just when it seemed hope was gone…
Fans started murmuring that Abby probably wouldn’t even make the roster, until ironically, another injury may just saved his chances to remain a Packer.
When Green Bay star, Jordy Nelson, tore an ACL, the Packers needed all the receivers they could get. All of a sudden Abbrederis’ future looked bright, until he managed only 9 receptions, for 111 yards all season.
Just when it seemed hope was gone, the Packers wide receiver group wore thin again due to injuries in the playoff game against the Cardinals, and Rodgers was forced to target Abby 12 times. Even though the young receiver was only able to snag 4 of those passes, each one of them went for a first down, and Abbrederis finally got some national attention.
With Nelson coming back healthy this season, and the Packers drafting another receiver in the 2016 draft, it looked once again like Abbrederis was about to become the odd man out on a roster loaded with receiving talent.
Then training camp started and after watching a couple of others guys show off their stuff in the first few days, the third year pro decided it was his turn to steal the show.
During an 11 on 11 period, Rodgers hit Abbrederis with a slant pass that he snagged and finished off with a solid run.
There’s always something you can improve on.
When the practice moved to red-zone drills, an area the Packers offense struggled with last season, Abbrederis hauled in multiple touchdowns, including a spectacular catch to save a potentially bad throw from Rodgers.
When asked about his day, the receiver responded with his trademarked humility.
“It was an OK day,” Abbrederis said. “I left one out there, so as a competitor, that’s what you think of. You don’t really think of all the good plays, but you think of what you can do more. There’s always something you can improve on.”
After the luck he’s had so far in his young career, that is the perfect mentality to have, for a guy who’s knows at this point he’s not even guaranteed a roster spot.
However, if he keeps putting in work, he will definitely win over the hearts of his coaching staff and quarterback the same way he did with his many fans years ago.
If that happens, defensive backs all over the league would be wise to take notice…
that the magic show is about to begin.