GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When general manager Ted Thompson drafted Fresno State receiver Davante Adams in the second round this year, there were instant comparisons to former Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones -- another California kid with similar size and physical attributes.
Adams and Jones even worked out together before the draft this spring.
A little more than a week into training camp, however, the 6-foot-1 and 215-pound Adams has looked more like another, more productive former Packers' receiver.
The way Adams cuts in and out of his breaks with ease has reminded the Packers of a young Greg Jennings, who was perhaps the best route runner this team has had in the last decade or more. Because of that, Adams is making a strong push for the No. 3 receiver spot behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
"We noticed that the first day he got here," Cobb said after Tuesday's practice. "He's really smooth."
That was on display in Saturday's Family Night practice at Lambeau Field. With 67,336 people looking on, Adams made the best catch of the night on an out route from backup quarterback Matt Flynn. Adams had to extend to haul in the pass toward the left sideline against tight coverage.
Adams got off to a slow start in the offseason practices, making Jarrett Boykin look like a lock for the No. 3 spot. But with every training camp practice, it looks more like Adams will push and perhaps overtake Boykin, who has had an ordinary camp.
"I feel like I've made a pretty big jump," Adams said. "I was having some trouble at first just getting here for OTAs and getting adjusted. I was playing well, but it was a matter of just making sure I got all the concepts down. It's starting to be more fluid, and I feel better."
There may have been a good reason it took Adams' abilities a little longer to show up, and it is not solely because he missed the first week of OTAs while attending the NFL Players Association Rookie Premier event in Los Angeles. He said Tuesday that he was bothered by a hamstring injury this offseason. It did not keep him out of any practices, but he believes it impacted his ability to catch the ball.
"I'm a lot healthier now," he said. "Now, I'm rolling on two wheels so it's easier to catch up to the ball."
Receivers coach Edgar Bennett used the terms "explosive" and "quick" to describe Adams despite his 4.56 second 40-yard dash time at the combine. If Adams doesn't have blow-by-you speed, he uses his athleticism (his vertical jump of 39.5 inches was tied for third among the receivers at the combine) and precise route running to make up for it. He led the nation in receptions with 131 last season for a reason.
"He's not going to wow you with speed," Packers cornerback Davon House said. "But he's very quick off the line. Him and Boykin probably give me the most trouble off the line, and he's a big target who can catch."
The Packers are not necessarily down on Boykin, who caught 49 passes for 681 yards last season, but a bad drop like he had in Monday night's practice has further opened the door for Adams.
No Packers rookie receiver has caught more than 40 passes since Jennings had 45 and Jones 47 in consecutive seasons (2006 and 2007, respectively). Jones played seven solid years in Green Bay but caught more than 50 passes only twice and never had a 1,000-yard season, while Jennings went to a pair of Pro Bowls and had three straight 1,000-yard season before signing with the Minnesota Vikings in 2013.
"He adds another dimension to our team," Cobb said of Adams. "You can see that he has that playmaking ability, so I'm excited for him."