A Lightning-Fast Answer At Receiver, Returner

This top receiver prospect brings the same high-octane skill-set as the Eagles' DeSean Jackson. He could be just what the Packers need as a game-breaking wide receiver and kick returner.

The Green Bay Packers' receiving corps is one giant question mark behind Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. Their kick return game is one giant exclamation mark in its ineptitude.

One draft pick could be a solution to both problems.

Boise State's electric Titus Young could be a target for the Packers. Pick No. 32 at the end of the first round might be too early and he might not last to pick No. 64 at the end of the second, but some wheeling and dealing — like in 2008, when the Packers traded back to get Nelson — could land a game-breaker the likes of which haven't been seen here since James Lofton.

Young is coming off a phenomenal senior season in which he caught 71 passes for 1,215 yards (17.1 average) and nine touchdowns. While he wasn't quite the terror as a kickoff returner as he was in 2009, when he averaged 26.9 yards with two touchdowns, his 23.5-yard average was still solid.

Young (5-foot-11 7/8) trained with former Olympic-champion sprinter Maurice Greene but still ran "only" a 4.43 in his 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine. No matter. There's plenty of tape of Young running past defenders, whether it was at Boise or at the Senior Bowl, where he had a superb week. He was particularly smooth during position drills at the Combine.

''I'm looking forward to bringing a lot of excitement to the NFL," Young said at the Scouting Combine. "I know DeSean Jackson, coming out of college, he did a lot of exciting things for the NFL these past couple of years. I look forward to kind of following his footsteps on the field, and find a good veteran wide receiver to look up to, and follow his ways, as well.''


Titus Young
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The Packers' need at receiver is obvious, even after Aaron Rodgers dissected the vaunted Steelers defense in the Super Bowl. Donald Driver turned 36 just before the Super Bowl, James Jones is perhaps on his way out the door whenever free agency begins and Brett Swain has shown nothing to make anyone believe he can be a major part of the receiver rotation. And on special teams, the Packers ranked a woeful 26th in kickoff returns, with their 20.1-yard average meaning consistently longer fields for the offense to navigate.

So, it's almost a given that Green Bay will take a receiver early in the draft — potentially in the first round but almost certainly in Day 2 (second and third round) if there is value on the board.

Question is, would they want a power guy who might be more effective on a bad field in December or a game-breaker? At 174 pounds, Young was the lightest receiver at the Combine. Then again, Jackson entered the NFL at 5-foot-10 and 169 pounds but has been plenty effective in Philadelphia, regardless of whether it's September or January.

"(The Lord) blessed me with a lot of things he didn't bless, say, someone else with," Young said. "He's blessed a lot of other people that he hasn't blessed me with. I'm just really greatful. I really don't say nothing to that. I'm just living day by day and greatful for my health and strength right now.''

Young should enter the league about as NFL-ready as any receiver. Boise State ran a pro-style offense under coach Chris Peterson. Young says he needs to work on his route-running and blocking, but few players in this draft are as explosive, whether it's going deep or beating press coverage right at the line of scrimmage.

"I know one of the things I really want to focus on," Young said, "is getting to minicamp really early, and getting in that playbook, and knowing what I have, so when I'm performaing out there, I don't have to think, I'm just reacting and playing at full speed."

That won't happen without a new collective bargaining agreement, but when Young is at full speed, watch out.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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