Abbrederis More Than 'Great Route-Runner'

Jared Abbrederis' full repertoire was on display in what his collegiate position coach called a "signature game" against Ohio State first-round pick Bradley Roby. Chris Beatty discusses that performance, Abbrederis' athleticism and an understated reason for his success.

Wisconsin receivers coach Chris Beatty agreed with the line of questioning but wanted to make a point.

Yes, Jared Abbrederis is an excellent route runner. Yes, Abbrederis has an innate ability to play the game. And, yes, his intelligence played a role in his record-setting production for the Badgers.

"I would (say that)," Beatty said, "but I think he's underrated athletically. He's more athletic than people think, so maybe that's part of it, too. Some guys underestimate his athleticism."

Abbrederis, selected by the Green Bay Packers with the second of their fifth-round picks, isn't big at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds. He's not particularly athletic with a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash and a 30.5-inch vertical jump. And with four reps on the 225-pound bench press at the Scouting Combine, he's certainly not strong.

What Abbrederis was was productive. He tied the school record with 202 career receptions and finished second with 3,140 receiving yards. As a senior, his 78 catches set the UW record and he recorded only the fourth 1,000-yard receiving season in school annals.

How was he so good in a top-tier league, despite lacking elite measurables?

"He's a great route-runner," Beatty said. "He's deceptive as far as his speed but he's also deceptive as far as his wiggle. He's really loose at the top (of his route). He's got great head and shoulder fakes and he's got great things in his route to create separation. He's one of those guys that everything you teach him in the classroom, he takes it to the field. He doesn't need a bunch of reps to try to perfect those things."

The crown jewel, of course, was his dismantling of Ohio State's Bradley Roby early in 2013. Abbrederis caught 10 passes for 207 yards, mostly at the expense of Roby, who went 31st overall to Denver.

"We knew what Jared was but that was letting everybody else see it, too," Beatty said. "I'm down here with some Ohio State coaches and they were saying, ‘Man, that guy's a really good player. He might have been the best in the league.' Everybody thought he was really good but when it was one-on-one with the best corner in the league, he showed that he's right there with anybody. Roby was a first-round pick and Jared kind of had his way with him. I think that was a signature game for him."

Beatty could sense that Abbrederis was keyed in for the matchup.

"The whole week, we kind of had a feeling that he was going to get locked up on Roby," Beatty said. "They did a little bit more than they had done in previous weeks and I think they did that because Jared was so good and they thought that they could take away our run game. We kind of had a feeling that, ‘Hey, you're going to get a lot of matchups with Roby. Let's make a name for yourself.' Not that everyone didn't already know how good Jared was but that was an opportunity to go one-on-one with the best cornerback in the league and one of the best corners in the country and, ‘Let's go do what we do.' He was excited about it the whole week and, obviously, it showed on game day."

Abbrederis capped his career at the Senior Bowl, where it was more of the same. While he sat out the game with an injured hamstring, he had a big week as arguably the best receiver on the practice fields.

"I like Jared," said Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, a former NFL general manager. "I think he's very instinctive. He really understands how to set up routes. I know people were really critical of the four (reps on the) bench press but I didn't notice that it really showed up in games. As a role player, as a dependable, know-where-he'll-be target, I think he can fit in well."

It's not a bad climb for a player who walked on at Wisconsin after being an all-state quarterback and two-time state hurdles champion at Wautoma (Wis.) High School.

Packers receiver Randall Cobb has talked countless times about how his quarterback background has helped him see the big picture at wide receiver.

Is that true for Abbrederis?

"I don't know. I've always liked quarterbacks as far as playing other positions because I think they see the field differently," Beatty said. "I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you. I think there's something to playing that spot that translates to when you play other positions. I've also heard people say I'm overthinking it, too, so I don't know."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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