A former Detroit Lions draft pick will be joining Green Bay’s receiver competition this summer.
According to reports from both NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Rob Demovksy , the Packers claimed second-year wideout Travis Fulgham off the waivers on Monday just one day after the Lions cut him loose. The 2019 sixth-round pick out of Old Dominion was primarily a practice-squad player during his rookie season in Detroit and was active for just three games, getting targetted three times but making no receptions.
The Packers have claimed WR Travis Fulgham, per a source.
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) August 10, 2020
The Packers were expected to acquire upgrades for their receiver room during the past offseason, but they remained surprisingly frugal with free-agent Devin Funchess marking their only significant addition at the position. Matters were made more complicated, though, when Funchess opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Fulgham now on board, the Packers have 10 wide receivers on their roster heading into next Saturday’s first practice of 2020 training camp. Davante Adams is the given No. 1, but the rest of the depth chart remains largely undetermined with returnees such as Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown among the favorites to earn some of the top spots.
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Fulgham Went Off as a Senior in 2018
Fulgham was a steady contributor during his first three seasons at Old Dominion with an eight-touchdown sophomore year, but his breakout moment came in 2018 as a senior when he caught 63 passes for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 17.2 yards per reception.
Thanks to his massive finish, Fulgham began appearing on scouting radars ahead the 2019 NFL draft with analysts crediting him for his size (6-foot-2, 215 pounds), ball skills and dedication to being a proficient run-blocker — something Packers head coach Matt LaFleur values in his receiving corps.
A route by new Packers WR Travis Fulgham, who they just picked up off the waiver wire.
— GBP Daily (@GBPdaily) August 10, 2020
Here’s how Joe Marino of The Draft Network described Fulgham as a prospect:
Fulgham went from walk-on to 1,000-yard receiver and NFL prospects, which speaks to his work ethic and football character. His commitment to getting his work done as a blocker also speaks to the type of competitor he is and he should be a quality special teams contributor. As a receiver, Fulgham has some appeal in terms of his size, ball skills and body control. With that said, his athletic profile, hands and separation quickness do present some restrictions. In many ways, Fulgham is exactly what teams are looking for in a fourth/fifth receiver on the roster.
Who Will Earn Packers’ No. 2 Spot?
Fulgham will make for a fine addition even if he only serves to drive up competition during camp, but one of the biggest questions on the minds of fans is who among the group will step up and provide Aaron Rodgers with a second option in the passing game.
Lazard would seem to have the strongest claim to that role following his miniature breakout in 2019. He went from getting left off the initial 53-man roster to becoming the Packers’ second-most productive receiver in only his second NFL season, earning the trust of not only Rodgers but head coach Matt LaFleur.
“He attacks it the right way,” LaFleur said Sunday in a Zoom call with reporters . “He’s got a great mindset. We showed a lot of clips to the team just of the effort that he gives, not only on the offensive side of the ball, but on special teams, as well. His mindset, his mentality is so contagious, I think it rubs off on other guys. He brings great work ethic on a daily basis, and I think it translated to his play and he made some really critical plays for us.”
LaFleur’s strong words don’t guarantee the job to Lazard, though. Valdes-Scantling finished just 25 yards behind him last season with nine fewer receptions and gained nearly all of that production in the first eight games before mysteriously dropping off. If he bounces back and resumes pace, his speed could keep him busy in 2020.
The Packers are also looking forward to the return of St. Brown, a 2019 training camp favorite who suffered a year-ending injury during the preseason.