The Green Bay Packers face a lot of questions this offseason, such as who will they sign, who will they let go and who will they draft?
But while those questions are important, some of the most difficult questions that need answering have to do with player development. And one of the questions I found myself asking recently is about Geronimo Allison.
Allison, the rookie free agent from Illinois, who caught 12 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown in 2016, is one of the players being touted as up-and-coming for Green Bay. And while he certainly had a surprisingly productive season, the questions is can he build on that for 2017?
The answer would seem to be yes. After all, Allison should improve from his first season to his second. Yet, as logical as that seems, it doesn’t always happen.
Look at Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. The Packers definitely counted on them taking step forward in their development when they allowed Casey Hayward to leave via free agency. The idea was that Randall and Rollins would both be better. But in fact, each regressed.
Davante Adams had a stellar third season with the Packers, but during his second year, he left much to be desired. And over the years, there have been some other unheralded receivers that made an early impact, only to see their careers fade to nothing.
One such case was Jarrett Boykin. Like Allison, Boykin went undrafted and during the 2013 season, his first full year in the NFL, he burst onto the scene with 49 receptions for 681 yards and three touchdowns.
Boykin was thought to be a fixture at receiver for the next few years after that. However, by the next season, he was at the bottom of the depth chart and just one year after breaking out, he was no longer a Green Bay Packer.
Boykin is maybe the most relevant example. But others such as Ruvell Martin, Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis, have flashed potential, but were unable to build on it.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Allison won’t keep getting better. He certainly appears to have the talent and work ethic to succeed and be a top-four wide out in Green Bay for years to come.
Yet, the Packers should be cautious. If they end up making a move with Randall Cobb, they can’t be complacent and rely on Allison to grab hold of the third or fourth receiver spot next season. They need to add even more talent at the position and if he can best it, so be it.
But for a team that has relied too much on young players and not signed enough veterans over the years, it’s a mistake that gets made often and if Green Bay wants Aaron Rodgers to keep rolling, it’s not one that can continue to be made.
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