No. 17 minus No. 87 means Davante Adams equals Packers' No. 1 WR

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Davante Adams couldn't remember when he started jumping over people, which explains why he didn't view it as a big deal when he leapfrogged one of the referees who stood near the Ray Nitschke Field sideline during organized team activities this week.

But there was the Green Bay Packers receiver, who didn't practice because of a hamstring injury he described as minor, using his 39.5-inch vertical to sky over 85-year-old Larry Van Alstine, a retired local who has officiated practice for years.

"That's just to show people who see me standing on the sideline, I don't want them getting scared," Adams said. "If I'm jumping over people things are going to be OK."

It was last season when Adams leapfrogged Jordy Nelson and became, as coach Mike McCarthy put it, the Packers' "best perimeter player." That's when teams began matching their best cornerback on Adams more than Nelson. The Vikings did it with Xavier Rhodes, and the Saints did it with Marshon Lattimore.

"It's been a lot of the same for the last ... pretty much full year," Adams said. "So it won't really change."

Even with the added attention as teams shifted their defensive focus from Nelson, Adams finished tied for second in the NFL with 10 touchdowns even though he missed the final two games because of his second concussion of the season. He still hasn't put up a 1,000-yard season -- he missed by a measly 3 yards in 2016 -- or been voted into the Pro Bowl (he made it as an alternate last season), but those don't seem far off.

It's no wonder the Packers don't think much will change for Adams this season even though Nelson is gone -- they cut him in March -- and Adams moved into the top 10 on the receiver pay scale with the four-year, $58 million contract extension he signed in December.

"I don't really see any [changes]," Packers receivers coach David Raih said this week. "My whole focus -- whether it's Davante or any of the guys in the room -- is really just to find any way I can to help them improve. So changes for Davante, I mean, I really haven't even thought of any other than every day trying to find a way for him to be an even better player than he already is."

If anything, Adams and Randall Cobb must provide more leadership -- the kind they received from the likes of Nelson and James Jones early in their careers. Adams, 25, is entering his fifth NFL season and Cobb, 27, his eighth. They're the elder statesmen of the Packers' receiver room, which saw the addition of three draft picks this year: fourth-round pick J'Mon Moore, fifth-rounder Marquez Valdes-Scantling and sixth-rounder Equanimeous St. Brown. The de facto No. 3 receiver at this point, Geronimo Allison, is just 24 and entering his third season. Fellow returning receivers Trevor Davis (24 and entering his third season) and Michael Clark (22 and entering his second season) don't have much experience.

"I embrace it 100 percent," Adams said. "I love any opportunity, I think more so, when I first started this thing off, I felt like I had a lot to offer people. But it's more of like stepping on toes and a respect factor, especially around here. You just kind of buy into that. It wasn't a problem I had ... it's not like I was like, ‘Dang, I really want to be do this or do that.' You just kind of fall in line and do it the way it's supposed to be.

"Now, I'm the second-oldest guy in the room with a guy who has been here for eight [years], and it doesn't feel like it's been eight for him and it definitely doesn't feel like it's been five for me. But we've been together for going on five years now so we have that shared mindset of how we're going to tackle the room."

It was during training camp last summer when Adams first showed off his ability to jump over people. One day, he rocketed over the head of an unsuspecting Alonzo Highsmith, a then-Packers scout who was watching practice.

"I don't even remember doing that," Adams said. "Y'all keep saying it. I don't even know if I did that. ... I don't know [when] the first time I jumped over a person was."

That Adams wasn't on the field when OTAs opened this week might have alarmed some, particularly considering his concussion history. But the Packers completed his extension even as he missed the final two games of 2017 following the controversial Thomas Davis hit, so clearly they were not concerned about his long-term availability. Neither was Adams, whose agent told ESPN earlier this offseason that his client was cleared by multiple neurologists before the deal was finalized.

"Davante is a tremendous student of the game," McCarthy said. "He watches a ton of film. The communication between himself and David Raih, Randall Cobb -- those guys have really taken an extremely active, forefront approach to leadership in the receiver room and even more so on the perimeter. Unfortunately, he's battling a couple things so he's in a limited state right now as far as practice, but I really like what he's offered to the younger guys, because there's been some change. There's been change for everybody and it's no different for the receiver position."