Randall Cobb is surely a big part of the Green Bay Packers' 2014 season. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Green Bay Packers drafting of three WRs: Changing of the guard?

Don’t get me wrong – I love Green Bay Packers wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb as much as the next person.

But the drafting of three young wide receivers caught me off guard last week and was a bit puzzled about the move.

That’s why I’ve thought a bit about the issue. Bear with me here as I attempt to answer my own questions.

Yes, Aaron Rodgers cannot have enough high quality pass catchers on the end of every toss. We all understand this. Mike McCarthy understands this. Ted Thompson understands this.

Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb understand this.

But is there more behind the decision to bring in three wide receivers through the draft?

With 30 percent of their total picks being wide receivers, one can hardly not ask and answer the questions about the future of those already in-house.

Nelson and Cobb are in contract seasons. Both have earned big paydays. Both will be paid tens of millions of dollars to catch passes and while the Packers do still have between $12 and $15 million in cap space to use toward re-signing both of these players, one has to wonder what’s taking so long? And with so much focus being paid to the immediate needs on the defensive side of the ball, why did the Packers pour so much into the wide receiver position?

If you read between my lines here, you might think I’m advocating a changing of the guard at wide receiver. Why not draft young guys and let the elder statesmen earn their tens of millions elsewhere?

Jordy Nelson - the Packers are surely saving up to re-sign their veteran wide receiver. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Jordy Nelson – the Packers are surely saving up to re-sign their veteran wide receiver.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

I’m not saying that at all. I’ve been advocating for months that the Packers’ best move is to re-sign both Nelson and Cobb.

But that’s not the message I thought I heard from Green Bay this past week. Even head coach Mike McCarthy said yesterday that this is a “young man’s league.” Was he looking right at Nelson and Cobb when uttering those words? My hope is not.

Who’s to know if rookies Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis or Jeff Janis pan out? After all, they haven’t caught a single pass from Aaron Rodgers yet. We know how valuable and important both Nelson and Cobb are to the Packers’ offense.

The guard will change someday, but my gut feeling is that these young receivers are picks with the future in mind. Yes, the Packers will eventually re-sign Nelson and Cobb to long-term contracts. They deserve at least three- or four-year deals. But we all also understand the volatility of this game. Be it injuries or declining skills, changes come about quickly for football players and those who manage football teams have to be constantly reminded to do something about it – and to do it before anyone thinks it’s time.

I’m convinced this is the case with the Packers. Ted Thompson is securing the future of the franchise and that for Aaron Rodgers. The opportunity to nab players of the quality of Adams, Abbrederis and Janis doesn’t come about every day, so Thompson jumped on the opportunity and in three fell swoops solidified the team’s future at wide receiver for at least the next three to five years.

Next on his list? Re-signing both Nelson and Cobb to once again give the team a stable filled with thoroughbreds that will move the chains and score touchdowns.

There is a changing of the guard and it includes some young guys and some older guys in Green Bay.

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