Despite losing Greg Jennings, James Jones and Donald Driver over the past 2 years, the Packers still have one of the deepest receiving groups in the NFL.
They may not be as top heavy at the position as they were in 2011 when they had Jennings, Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb, all of whom could start on most teams in the league, but all 10 of the receivers on their current roster have a legitimate chance to stick in the NFL, with the Packers or another organization.
During this year’s draft, the Packers put an emphasis on replenishing their receiving corps, using 3 of their 9 picks on receivers.
The Packers currently have 10 receivers on their roster and I have ranked them in order by the following categories.
Impact Players – A potential Pro Bowler who opposing teams need to game plan for.
Solid Starters – An average to slightly above average starter.
Quality Backup/Role Players – A player who can start if needed and may also contribute on special teams. These players may also have some upside and untapped potential.
Not Guaranteed a Roster Spot – A player who may be fighting to make the final 53 man roster or the practice squad.
Here is how I currently rank the Packers’ wide receivers.
- Jordy Nelson – Nelson continues to be one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL. Rarely mentioned with the likes of AJ Green, Larry Fitzgerald or Brandon Marshall, Nelson has proven that he has the ability to put up similar numbers to the top tier receivers. With his contract due to expire after the 2014 season, look for the Packers to sign Nelson to an extension before the season starts.
- Randal Cobb – Since being selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft, Cobb has become one of the Packers most dynamic playmakers. His ability to line up outside, in the slot, or even in the backfield makes him a difficult matchup for defenders. Like Nelson, Cobb is scheduled to become a free agent after 2014, so a contract extension in the near future is a very realistic possibility.
- Jarrett Boykin – The Packers got a gift when the receiver needy Jacksonville Jaguars released Boykin just a few days after signing the undrafted free agent in 2012. Quickly signed by the Packers, Boykin made the Packers roster as a rookie, but did not contribute much. When Boykin got his chance to play in 2013 he delivered, catching 49 balls for 681 yards.
Quality Backup/Role Players
- Davante Adams – The Packers have a history in recent years of finding receiving gems in the 2nd round of the draft, and they hope Adams will be a continuation of this trend. Adams put up crazy numbers at Fresno State, catching 233 passes for 3,031 yards, and 38 touchdowns over his last 2 seasons. Adams won’t have the same workload with the Packers that he had with the Bulldogs, at least early on, but as the Packers’ likely 4th receiver, he should still see significant playing time as a rookie.
- Jared Abbrederis – There was much rejoicing around Wisconsin when the Packers selected Abbrederis, a Wisconsin native, in the 5th round of this year’s draft. Abbrederis doesn’t have great measurables, but at Wisconsin, he was always able to find a way to get open, even against top competition. Abrbrederis isn’t a lock to make the Packers’ final roster, but his ability to return kicks gives him the inside track to the 5th receiver spot.
Not Guaranteed a Roster Spot
- Chris Harper – In just one season in the NFL, Harper has already been with 3 teams. Drafted and placed on the practice squad by Seattle, Harper was claimed off the practice squad and released by the 49ers, before landing with the Packers. Harper was only active for 4 games last season and did not record a catch, but he has looked sharp so far in OTAs. Harper will need to continue to show improvement if he hopes to make the Packers’ roster this season.
- Jeff Janis –Based on Combine numbers alone, Janis may be the Packers most athletic receiver. But it wasn’t just his Combine numbers that got Janis noticed, he was also very productive at Saginaw Valley State, starting 35 games over his college career and catching 46 touchdown passes. Janis will have a lot of work to do to make the jump from a Division II school to the Pros, and the Packers could have a tough choice to make in August when they must decide whether to squeeze Janis on the roster, or expose him to the waiver wire and try to sneak him on to the practice squad.
- Kevin Dorsey – A 7th round pick last year, Dorsey was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury before the season started. Dorsey has an intriguing combination of size (6’1”,207) and speed (he ran a 4.47 40 at his pro day), but he has to show he can stay healthy if he wants a shot at making the Packers’ final roster, or even the practice squad.
- Myles White – Undrafted out of Louisiana Tech, White was on the Packers’ practice squad and was promoted to the active roster in October. White was active for 7 games and caught 9 passes before being placed on injured reserve in December. Despite his experience and 4.4 speed, I believe White is a long shot to make the Packers’ roster again this season.
- Alex Gillett – The Easter Michigan product started 30 games at quarterback in college before moving to wide receiver. Gillett was waived by the Packers in August of last year and was not signed to the practice squad until November. The Packers are just too deep at the receiver position for Gillett to have a realistic shot at making the roster.