Inside the Champions: Wide Receivers

After being interrupted by the Scouting Combine, we continue our positional look at the Packers' offseason roster with a receiver group in flux. Behind underrated Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, their are major questions with this group.

Wide receivers

Starters: Greg Jennings, Donald Driver. Backups: Jordy Nelson, James Jones (unrestricted free agent), Brett Swain (exclusive-rights free agent), Chastin West (practice squad), Antonio Robinson (practice squad).

Comment: Jennings caught 14 passes in the first five games, a dismal start that was erased in spectacular fashion. The Packers' go-to threat after Jermichael Finley's season-ending knee injury in Week 5, Jennings caught 62 passes for 1,082 yards and nine touchdowns in his final 11 games. His 98.4 receiving yards per game during that stretch led the NFL. He was dominant in the playoffs, too. After being limited to one catch at Philadelphia, he caught eight passes against both Atlanta and Chicago. He scored twice in the Super Bowl, showing amazing toughness and concentration on his first score as well as the huge third-down catch in the fourth quarter. Somehow, Jennings' name isn't mentioned among the game's elite deep threats, even though he leads the NFL with 17 catches of 50-plus yards and five touchdowns of 75-plus yards during the last four seasons.

When teams loaded up against Jennings, the others made them pay. Driver (51), Jones (50) and Nelson (45) combined to give the Packers four 40-reception receivers for the first time in franchise history. In the playoff romp at Atlanta, Jennings (101 yards), Nelson (79), Driver (76) and Jones (75) became the first foursome in NFL history to have 75-yard games in a postseason game. Jones might be maddeningly inconsistent but he gets open and makes things happen after the catch, leading the receivers with 6.1 yards after the catch per reception.

Regardless of who's back, West will push Swain for that final roster spot.

What's interesting: A position of strength is sort of a house of cards. Driver turned 36 before the Super Bowl and was slowed by injuries all season. He averaged a paltry 3.7 yards after the catch, with almost nothing to speak of other than his all-time catch-and-run touchdown against San Francisco. It had to happen at some point. Driver, who's under contract through 2012, is due $5.0 million in salary and bonuses in 2011 ($4.1 million in base salary).

Still, he figures to be back because Jones is at least a decent bet to sign elsewhere as a free agent. Officially, according to STATS, Jones dropped six passes in the regular season. Maybe it only seems like more because most of those drops would have resulted in touchdowns. Still, he gets open — despite slightly more snaps than Nelson, Jones was targeted 23 more times (87 to 64) — and makes things happen after the catch.

Thus, the only sure thing to join Jennings will be Nelson. He dropped three passes in the Super Bowl but four during the season. Among the Packers' receivers, Nelson caught a team-high 70.3 percent of the passes thrown his way and averaged a career-high 5.9 yards after the catch (better than Jennings' 5.7). Still, it's a matter of debate whether Nelson is a long-term starter or more of a No. 3 or No. 4. So, Green Bay really needs to add a premium draft pick to this group.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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