Why the Green Bay Packers need to look at WR in Draft


Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Jordan Matthews (87) could be a great catch for the Packers in this year’s NFL Draft. Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Defense, defense, and more defense … that’s the popular consensus as the Green Bay Packers head into the 2014 NFL Draft.

It’s true. I’m not going to argue with that notion. The Packers need to focus on filling some significant holes on the defensive side of the ball – namely safety, linebacker and defensive line. Heck, they could even throw in a cornerback into the mix and I think everyone would be very pleased.

However, we can’t forget about the offensive side of the ball.

The Packers have needs there, too.

Most likely, Green Bay is going to lose two key cogs in the offensive juggernaut led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Most likely gone will be wide receiver James

James Jones, though a valuable Packer, might be allowed to walk in free agency.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Jones and tight end Jermichael Finley. While the Packers are sitting on nearly $34 million in salary cap room, it’s not out of the question that they use some of that to sign their own. A chunk of it will likely go to cornerback Sam Shields, to start, and whether the Packers consider signing defensive linemen B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett that will determine how much of the money will be left in the coffers.

More importantly, the Packers have to look at the receiver position – both wide receiver and tight end. That’s why the Packers must look to the draft to help solidify those positions. I am confident that somewhere along the draft road GM Ted Thompson is going to pick up a tight end and because the depth of talent is so great in the wide receiver field, expect him to peg at least one of those, too.

He should.

We all know this is an offensive league and most notably a passing league. With the league’s most efficient quarterback locked in for the next six years the Packers have got to replenish the ammunition for Aaron Rodgers. Yes, the Packers have Jarrett Boykin for the next couple of years, but when you look at both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, one wonders if the Packers will have the dollars to sign them both before their contracts come up at the end of 2014. We hope they do, but we know that keeping your own is becoming increasingly difficult in the NFL.

Because of that, it’s important that the Packers look at some fresh legs to bring into camp – and there are plenty of them that should be available between the second and sixth rounds, if not beyond, in this spring’s draft.

Thompson could certainly look at guys like Jeff Janis of Saginaw Valley State, Jared Abbrederis of Wisconsin, Jordan Matthews or his teammate, Chris Boyd – both of Vanderbilt – as guys with size and speed who could fill the void that is bound to come about at the position at some point in the future.

Just take a look at the talent listed below … there’s plenty to go around and plenty that should still be on the board through the middle rounds of the coming draft.

Yes, the Packers need to bring their defense up to speed, but TT can’t afford to fall behind in the division on the offensive side of the ball … take a look around at the size and speed lining up for division rivals – Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Chicago; Calvin Johnson in Detroit; and that Cordarrelle Patterson  in Minnesota. If those teams go out and draft more talent from this pool, they will surely only add to the firepower on the offensive side of the ball that could be enough to challenge the Packers for the division title.

Yes, the Packers need to counter those big receivers with tough and athletic defensive players, but the team also in its own right has to have to firepower to win high-scoring games – a fact that’s become a reality in today’s NFL. They’ve got Rodgers, but he needs the receivers to make it happen.

Come May, it will be interesting to see how Thompson addresses this issue.

FirstLastSchoolHeightWeightHand SizeOfficial 40
DavanteAdamsFresno State6’121294.56
KelvinBenjaminFlorida State6’524010.1/44.61
CoreyBrownOhio State5’111789.3/84.51
JohnBrownPittsburgh St. (KS)5’101798.1/24.34
IsaiahBurseFresno State5’101888.3/84.58
MikeCampanaroWake Forest5’91929.3/44.46
BrandinCooksOregon State5’101899.5/84.33
BruceEllingtonSouth Carolina5’91979.5/84.45
MikeEvansTexas A&M6’52319.5/84.53
BennieFowlerMichigan State6’12179.1/24.52
AustinFranklinNew Mexico State5’11189104.56
MattHazelCoastal Carolina6’11989.1/84.5
JoshHuffOregon State5’112069.3/84.51
JeffJanisSaginaw Valley St6’321994.42
T.J.JonesNotre Dame6’0188104.48
MarqiseLeeUSC5’11 3/41929.1/24.52
WaltPowellMurray State5’111899.1/24.63
AllenRobinsonPenn State6’22209.1/24.6
WillieSneadBall State5’1119510.1/44.62
JoshStewartOklahoma State5’101789.3/84.69
SammyWatkinsClemson6’0 3/42119.5/84.43
AlbertWilsonGeorgia State5’92029.1/84.43