Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers should consider drafting a WR early


 

The Green Bay Packers will have four draft picks within the first three rounds going into the NFL Draft, which starts this coming Thursday. The Packers have some glaring needs on defense, but I think they should use one of those four picks on a wide receiver.

Why a receiver, you ask?

It’s an overlooked need right now and Ted Thompson is pretty darn good in the early rounds when it comes to drafting at that position.

Thompson has only missed once on a receiver before the third round since taking over in 2005 as the general manager of the Green Bay Packers. In his first-ever draft he used a second round selection on Terrence Murphy out of Texas A&M.

For those who don’t remember, Murphy’s career was cut short by a spine injury in week three of his rookie year. It’s almost unfair to hold that against Thompson since it was an injury that forced Murphy to leave the game, not because he lacked talent.

greg-jennings

Since the selection of Murphy, Thompson has struck gold on every receiver taken before the fourth round. The year after the selection of Murphy, Thompson drafted Greg Jennings in the second round. You can say what you want about Jennings since he headed west to wear the purple, but he had a good run in Green Bay. Jennings left the Packers seventh all-time in receiving yards and fifth all-time in receiving touchdowns, in only 96 games.

Thompson drafted another recently-departed receiver the next season, James Jones. Jones was never considered one of the top two options on the Packers, but always saw significant playing time. Jones ended his career with the Packers finishing twelfth in all-time receiving yards and eleventh in all-time touchdowns. The loss of Jones is another reason why the Packers should think about drafting another receiver this year, which I will explain why further into the article.

In 2008, the Packers notoriously traded out of the first round and selected Jordy Nelson at the top of the second round. Nelson was a bit of an underachiever early on in his career, and many questioned the selection. Nelson started to catch fire in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. Nelson is one of the most underrated talents in the league – even Richard Sherman agrees. We all anticipate that Nelson will get a nice pay raise at some point this season, we just don’t know when.

Randall Cobb is a rising star for the Packers. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Randall Cobb is a rising star for the Packers. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

 

In 2011, Thompson jumped at the chance to select Randall Cobb in the second round of the draft.
Cobb quickly grew into a fan favorite and also a favorite for Aaron Rodgers. His versatility brought a whole new dynamic to the Packers, whether it was in the slot, in the backfield, or returning punts and kicks.

This year the Packers go into the 2014 season with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb being the top two receivers. Jarrett Boykin (who was a Jacksonville Jaguars undrafted free agent castaway) will see a much larger role for the Packers this season. But who will fill the void left by the departure of Jones? The same James

Jarrett Boykin tracks down a Scott Tolzien pass last November against the Philadelphia Eagles. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Jarrett Boykin tracks down a Scott Tolzien pass last November against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Jones who filled into the number one receiver spot when Nelson and Cobb were out with injuries last season.

I thought that Charles Johnson had a real shot at being a future project, but the Cleveland Browns gobbled him up off of the practice squad last season. Kevin Dorsey apparently impressed coaches during training camp, but injuries derailed his rookie campaign. Myles White saw some playing time, but his ceiling seems limited. None of the other receivers on the roster look like they will take that big step. The door is being left wide open for Thompson to make that next great selection.

The 2014 draft class is loaded at the wide receiver position. Whether it would be a guy in the first round like Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU or maybe Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State. Maybe the second round with guys like Jordan Matthews from Vanderbilt or Cody Latimer from Indiana. Even the third round with guys like Allen Robinson from Penn State or Jared Abbrederis from Wisconsin. The list could go on and on because the crop of talent is so deep at this position this year. There hasn’t been a year in recent history with a group of guys like this in the draft. So what makes this year so important?

Aaron Rodgers is just hitting his prime, and they always say not to waste a player’s prime years. The Packers have been trying to get over that playoff hump to get back to the promised land. Back to the Super Bowl. The Packers can’t waste the opportunity of a loaded draft.

So will Ted pull the trigger?

Will he draft another future star wide receiver?

The answer should be yes.

Tags: Green Bay Packers NFL Draft

  • http://twitter.com/kumerle Kenneth Kumerle

    Completely agree I.e. Cooks, Beckham, Lee, Robinson or Benjamin!

    • Phillip

      Drafting a WR in the 1st with a solid #1 and #2 already would make absolutely no sense unless intentions are for 1 of them to be gone next season, which is highly unlikely, but if not in a year where we desperately need a defensive playmaker or 2, we shouldn’t draft 1 before round 3 if even that early. Do you not remember the reason we’ve struggled to win in the playoffs or vs SF??? I’ll remind you that it wasn’t offense as the reason why.

      • David Hofstedt

        I agree that the Packers need defensive help, but the Packers have lost a lot of talent at the skill positions the last 2 years. Gone are Finley, Jennings, and Jones. That leaves the cupboard bare as hell if Cobb or Nelson gets nicked up even for a game. In the loss to the 49ers in the playoffs, Boykin and Quarless combined for 1 catch for 8 yards. Quarless is getting better, but I have to wonder if he’s reached his ceiling. Boykin is ok but nothing special. One guy I wanna watch is Donte Moncrief. He’s 6’2″ 220 Lbs and runs a 4.40 40. He played in the SEC. Love to see Ted take either Mosley or Shazier in 1st, Ward or Buchanan in 2nd, and maybe move back into the 2nd round and grab Moncrief. Still having his Comp. pick for Jennings Ted could draft a TE in the bottom of the 3rd. That would be a hell of a draft.

        • Phillip

          I could go for that, 1 guy i’d like to see is Martavis Bryant from Clemson, 6’4 211 and a 4.42 40, he’s a guy we could possibly slide up to the top of the 3rd and get. There’s a really lot of solid option around the 2nd and 3rd, i wouldn’t even mind seeing us trade a couple picks from next year to add an extra pick this year, we’ll likely end up with a 3 and 5 again next year for EDS and Jones, possibly could even end up with 3 comp picks next year if some of the other guys we lost can produce. Picks could bring a lot more value this year than next too. I think it’s important to get the best defensive talent we can though, Mosley or Shazier if 1 of em are available in the 1st and than get 1 of the 5 Safeties in the 2nd, that’d add some major talent to our defense. Jeff Janis later in the draft could be a very strong 2014 developmental WR, contribute as a kick returner his rookie year and work as a 5th, but i would love to see us move n get a top WR or TE too.

          • David Hofstedt

            Absolutely love the Bryant thought. He’s a guy that would have been a number 1 receiver for most teams, but because of Watkins he took a backseat. Could you imagine a draft with either Shazier or Mosley, a Safety like Ward, Buchanan, or Brooks, and still get a receiver like Bryant and a big tall TE like the kid from Iowa. Talk about some Red Zone targets. The thing is, because this draft is so deep it’s totally possible that TT pulls off something close to that.

  • Kyle Thompson

    Good article Coatler, this is very surprising coming from a guy like you who preaches nothing but defense. I have been saying this for a while. A TE or WR in the first round isn’t crazy and something that might actually be a real possibility. I would love Amaro, Ebron, Matthews, Beckham Jr., or Cooks. But yes the Pack does need some upgrades on defense. No argument here.

  • Jack_Gallant

    It’s too early to say if Kevin Dorsey or Myles White will get on the field very much. I don’t see the Packers taking a receiver in the first round. The second round tends to be the time they look for receivers. I see possible receiver picks for the Pack to be Donte Moncrief from Ole Miss, Davante Adams out of Fresno State or Jordan Mathews, the prolific Vanderbilt receiver. In the third, they could possibly draft Jarvis Landry, the hard running receiver out of LSU. It’s a great draft for receivers and the Packers should really take advantage of the opportunity and replenish the talent in their receiving corps and ensure they have depth at the position in case of more injuries.