The Return of Devin Funchess Might Benefit Multiple Parties

WR Devin Funchess began his NFL career on a Panthers team that went 15-1 in the 2015 regular season only to lose in the Super Bowl. Now, as a member of the Green Bay Packers, Funchess needs to yield results before his time is up in the NFL.

After posting 733 yards and 4 touchdowns in his third and final season at Michigan, the Carolina Panthers selected him with the 41st overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. In his first 4 seasons in Charlotte, Funchess caught 161 passes for 2,233 yards and 21 touchdowns, becoming a solid target for star QB Cam Newton and the stacked Panthers squad.

Following his success in Carolina, the 6-foot-4 receiver ceased production, going 3-for-5 in Indianapolis for 32 yards. This might not necessarily mean that his professional football career is over, but it does need some revitalization for it to become relevant once again.

After opting out of the 2020 NFL season as a member of the Green Bay Packers, Funchess is looking for a spark to get his career back on track. Sure, maybe having a reigning MVP quarterback in Aaron Rodgers will help, but even that might not work out, pending the star’s holdout status with the organization.

The status of where Devin Funchess will slide into last year’s #1 ranked offense is still in question. There are plenty of tall and lengthy receivers on the active roster, most notably Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Both had flashes of productivity last season, and Valdes-Scantling finished the season leading the league with 20.9 yards/reception (min. 30 receptions). In addition, TE Robert Tonyan proved himself to be a budding star in his own right, so the Packers have the size box checked off in their roster.

One way that Funchess could be used is as a receiving tight end. At Michigan, Funchess was listed as a 6-foot-5 TE, receiving more passes for more yards in 2013 than he did in 2014. This might not only benefit the Packers, but the entire NFL, as the league is so short on valuable tight ends that teams have transitioned players such as Tim Tebow and Kelvin Benjamin from quarterback and wide receiver, respectively.

Whether he transitions into a receiving or blocking tight end, becomes a backup wide receiver behind MVS and Lazard, or even returns to his former glory of Carolina, he will surely benefit the Green Bay Packers if he maintains health. He will also help his career, so he might be able to finish it off on the right foot.

Whichever direction head coach Matt LaFleur decides to go with Funchess, the former second-round pick must be able to show his use in training camp. For now, that means showing off individual talent without their star quarterback.

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