Green Bay Packers wide receiverJordy Nelson
* – denotes starter(s)
As usual, there is plenty of talent at wide receiver for Green Bay, so much so that it is impossible to keep it all. They have options on all levels: top-tier talent (Nelson/Cobb), draft picks (Adams/Abbrederis/Janis), castoffs (Boykin) and other intriguing talents (Harper/Dorsey/Gillett/White). A quarterback of Rodgers’ caliber may be able to make anyone look great catching passes, but it helps him greatly to have receivers with upside and talent like this group.
Nelson and Cobb are locks, with Nelson recently signing an extension and Cobb being set to earn his own sometime before he reaches free agency next year. The coaching staff has done nothing but rave about the performance of Boykin since the end of last season, so he is good to go, too. Adams was picked high in this past draft, meaning he too is basically a lock, and that’s before some of his recent strong showings during training camp.
After those four, the spots are a bit tougher to come by. Depending on how the rest of the roster shakes out Green Bay could decide to keep five or six on the team, so whomever makes it from here better be able to make a good impact. The way I believe it will shake out has the Packers keeping five this year, so exactly one of the six remaining players can make it.
For that last spot, I expect Abbrederis to be the one who steps up and takes it. Not only does he bring receiving skills to the table, but he can be someone who takes over duties at either punt and/or kick returner. The team has stated it doesn’t want to use Cobb as a returner anymore if possible (and if he stays as the starter at safety, the same is possibly true for Micah Hyde as well), so even if he is unable to make a major impact in the passing game this year, he can (and, I believe, will) secure that final receiver slot through his play in the return game.
If he stayed healthy, Janis’s talent would seem to make it a much tougher decision as to whether Green Bay would keep more than five receivers; alas, his health hasn’t allowed him to stay on the field (he just made his first appearance in training camp yesterday) so that might seal a trip to the practice squad for him.
Dorsey and Harper are both players that Green Bay has interest in, so much so that they kept them around despite injuries that struck them last year. Harper looks like a better bet than Dorsey, but not enough to push open a sixth WR spot. White, with his time spent playing last year, could also be a good option if they do go with six WRs. Gillett’s name has popped up a few times in the offseason, but in nothing of note.