Let’s take a look at another great route from Abbrederis that isn’t rewarded in the form of a completion, and the blame definitely goes to Stave for this blatantly missed opportunity. Abbrederis’s performance against Penn State was almost as impressive as his demolition of Roby, and he had two excellent routes in the first half of the game end up in incompletions due to two awful throws into no-man’s land from his struggling QB. Check out the deft double-move on this play that allows him to gain some ridiculous separation at the end of the “go” route. He doesn’t have the speed to separate by running straight forward, but most WRs don’t anyway. No, Abbrederis burns his man by faking a cut back inside on a nasty stutter-step, and very few corners have the agility to recover when their beat by an expertly delivered double-move, which is Abbrederis’s version of a Weisswurst from Bayern.
Not bad for a fifth-round pick, huh?
Ultimately, I think the concerns about Abbrederis’s ability to beat physical corners are overblown, as evidenced by his standout performance against Roby, even if the OSU corner wasn’t able to press as much. He’s such a good route-runner- especially when he cuts sharply on a comeback or curl route- that he can beat any type of coverage, but it’s flat-out suicide to play off of Abbrederis. Why? Check out the route below.
Thus, the best defense when matching up against Abbrederis is to try to press him at the line of scrimmage, but that still leaves you vulnerable to over-aggression, which Abbrederis clearly feeds off of when he cuts. It’s so difficult to beat someone as quick and savvy as him, and that’s far more important than his lack of physical tools. The trick to success in the NFL is to get open, especially near the end of a route. Abbrederis excels at this, and he has enough physical tools. My biggest worry with him in tight coverage are drops, because he needs to do a better job of catching passes away from his body. But does he lack physicality? If you watch his solid run blocking closely, then you’ll see that it’s hard to believe that he can’t play tough.
I think the Green Bay Packers snagged a flat-out steal in the fifth-round of the draft when they plucked Abbrederis, and he was actually my tenth-ranked receiver in the class because of his elite route-running. It’s the most important trait for NFL success, and he’ll be a polished weapon in the slot (and on the outside in certain situations) as a rookie for Rodgers. He won’t play too much due to the amount of pass-catching talent, but Rodgers should be able to augment Abbrederis’s skills while mitigating his weakness. The best quarterback in the NFL for the past three seasons, Rodgers is better than anyone at making his WRs look better (just ask Jarrett Boykin and Greg Jennings, who have talent but certainly benefited from usage and their QB). Any concerns regarding Abbrderis will be weakened by his surroundings, his quarterback, and his role in the offense as a rookie, so he should be able to make a significant impact when he gets on the field. Due to his polish, I think he’ll get plenty of opportunities to show his stuff in the regular season, and I’m sure many Packers fans are well-aware of what the former Wisconsin star can do to DBs.