The Green Bay Packers went 13-3 last season, won the NFC North and reached the NFC Championship Game. San Francisco routed the Packers, though, 37-20, in the conference title game and Green Bay enters the 2020 season with several questions.
The Packers are hoping to begin training camp in late July.
Between now and the start of camp, I will count down the ‘30 Most Important Packers’ heading into the 2020 campaign.
Wide receiver Devin Funchess checks in at No. 20. The other players that have been revealed in the top-30 are listed at the bottom of the story.
WR, Devin Funchess
Last season: Funchess played in just one game for Indianapolis after breaking his collarbone. Funchess was designated for return from injured reserve in mid-November and began practicing with the Colts. Indianapolis chose not to activate him, though, at the end of his three-week practice window. Funchess then spent the rest of the year on the injured reserve list.
On April 2, the Packers signed Funchess to a one-year deal with a $1.2 million base salary and a $1 million signing bonus. With bonuses and incentives, though, Funchess could earn up to $6.25 million this season.
Career to date: Funchess (6-4, 225) possesses the size and strength the Packers like from their receivers, but has always lacked top-end speed.
Funchess left Michigan with one year of eligibility remaining and Carolina selected him in the second round of the 2015 draft. Funchess, who played tight end and wide receiver with the Wolverines, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.70 seconds at the 2015 NFL Combine, then ran it in 4.48 seconds at his pro day one month later.
After two mediocre seasons in Carolina, Funchess had his best year in 2017 when he caught 63 passes for 840 yards (13.3 average) and eight touchdowns. He followed that up with a so-so season in 2018 (44-549-4), then signed a whopping one-year, $13 million free agent deal with Indianapolis.
After Funchess lost nearly the entire 2019 season to a broken collarbone, the Colts made little effort to bring him back in 2020.
Outlook: Funchess figures to battle Allen Lazard for the Packers’ No. 2 wide receiver job.
The players are similar in many ways. Lazard is 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, while Funchess is 6-4, 225. Lazard ran the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds at the 2018 NFL Combine, just a hair faster than Funchess (4.70) three years earlier.
Funchess has more NFL experience, but Lazard has been in Green Bay’s offense longer. This positional battle should be one of the highlights of training camp later this summer.
“Very excited to have Funchess on our team, and very excited to get to know him and see what he can bring. Right now it’s kind of hard to say. He’s been in the league for a lot of years, and I’ve known of him and seen him, but I think until I get the opportunity to truly meet him, I haven’t even gotten to meet him yet, due to the situation (with COVID). As we move forward, once we all get together, I think that’s when we’re going to find out where he’s going to fit. But excited to have him here.” Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on Funchess
“It’ll be fun to see where he’s at physically. From his football IQ we’ve had some really good conversations, him and I.” — Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Funchess
“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 and I’ve been impressed by.” — Packers coach Matt LaFleur on Funchess
“When I watch his tape, what I see is a big man who is really athletic. I like to talk about having route-running skill, this combination of having good feet, good instincts and good body control, and then what sometimes we refer to as body quickness…it helps you separate at the top of routes, it helps you get off versus press coverage. And Devin has all of that. And he’s got really good feet.” — Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich in March, 2019, after his team signed Funchess
THE TOP 30
• No. 30 — WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
• No. 29 — TE-FB Josiah Deguara
• No. 28 — RB Jamaal Williams
• No. 27 — DE Kingsley Keke
• No. 26 — TE Jace Sternberger
• No. 25 — RB A.J. Dillon
• No. 24 — QB Jordan Love
• No. 23 — CB Chandon Sullivan
• No. 22 — OL Billy Turner
• No. 21 — Lane Taylor