In Day 6 of our Green Bay Packers draft preview, here is a look at the wide receivers.
Packers depth chart
Once considered arguably the best receiver corps in the NFL, Green Bay enters this draft short-handed with Greg Jennings’ departure to Minnesota and Donald Driver’s retirement. Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb make a quality starting point, but at this point they’re counting on Jarrett Boykin (five catches) and Jeremy Ross (zero catches) to take big steps forward to become reliable contributors. That’s certainly possible but the Packers are flirting with offensive disaster if they’re counting on that duo to pick up a big piece of the slack.
It’s worth noting that Driver (seven) and Jennings (three) combined for 10 1,000-yard seasons. Nelson has the only 1,000-yard season among the current Packers’ pass catchers.
Packers draft outlook
It’s a certainty that Green Bay will draft at least one receiver and bring in another three or four undrafted free agents. The question is, how soon will the Packers dive into this year’s class? “I agree with you that they need one but with the holes on the defense, I can’t see them taking one in the first round and I’d be surprised if they did in the second,” a scout said. For Green Bay, it’s imperative to remember the Packers’ thinking. Until selecting Randall Cobb (5-foot-10 1/4), general manager Ted Thompson had drafted seven receivers: Jordy Nelson (6-3), James Jones (6-1). Terrence Murphy (6-1), Brett Swain (6-0), Cory Rodgers (6-0), Craig Bragg (6-1) and Greg Jennings (5-11). That’s a proven track record of valuing size.
Strength of draft class
As long as you’re not hoping to find a game-breaker in the first 10 picks, this is an outstanding receiver class. The Packers should have a few worthy targets staring at them in the first round, the second round and onward through the next two or three rounds. The Packers, remember, made a killing with second-round receivers Jennings, Nelson and Cobb. Nelson, at No. 36 of the 2008 draft, is the earliest receiver selected by Thompson.
Bottom of the first (round)
The only certainty is Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson will be long gone by the time the Packers are up at No. 26. Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton and USC’s Robert Woods have garnered comparisons to Jennings, Cal’s Keenan Allen has been compared to Nelson and Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins to Roddy White and Hakeem Nicks. All would be excellent fits.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.