Position Series: Receivers

The deepest and best group in the league is led by Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson and their combined 24 touchdown receptions.


The Green Bay Packers have the league's best group of wide receivers.

It starts with the star power at the top of the depth chart in Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, and continues to depth ranging from proud old pro Donald Driver to young lions Randall Cobb, Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel. Based on at least 25 percent playing time and the numbers at ProFootballFocus.com, Cobb (second, 80.6 percent), Nelson (seventh, 73.7 percent), James Jones (12th, 70.4 percent), Jennings (14th, 69.8 percent) and Driver (17th, 68.5) ranked in the top 17 among receivers in catch percentage. That's all five receivers; New Orleans is the only other team with two receivers on that list.

Unless the Packers go the highly unorthodox route of keeping seven receivers, which seems unlikely because of the limited special teams value, the competition at camp will be tremendous.


Greg Jennings (5-11, 198; seventh year): In 13 games, Jennings caught 67 passes for 949 yards and nine touchdowns. Before a knee injury shut him down for the end of the regular season, he ranked among the league leaders in all three categories. His 14.2-yard average, however, was his worst since his rookie season and his 4.6 yards after the catch per reception ranked fourth among the team's receivers.

Jordy Nelson (6-3, 217; fifth year): Nelson had one career 100-yard game until posting five last year. He cut his drop total from 11 (in 20 games) to three (in 17 games). The quarterbacks had a league-high 150.2 rating on passes to Nelson. Nelson ranked second in the NFL with 18.6 yards per reception (Victor Cruz, 18.7) and 15 touchdowns (Calvin Johnson, 16).

Donald Driver (6-0, 194; 14th year): With 735 receptions for 10,060 yards, Driver not only holds the franchise records but ranks 32nd and 35th, respectively, in those categories in NFL history. His 10,277 yards from scrimmage trail only Ahman Green's 11,048 in team history. However, his 12.0-yard average and 3.8 YAC per reception show that no even Driver can outrun Father Time.

James Jones (6-1, 208; sixth year): Retained in free agency in 2011, Jones responded with 38 catches for 635 yards and seven touchdowns. He drops too many passes (six last season) but quietly has scored 17 touchdowns over the last three years. Among receivers with at least 35 catches, Jones ranked third in the NFL with 7.7 YAC per reception.

Randall Cobb (5-10, 192; second year): Cobb was drafted to provide a jolt to the special teams and eventually replace Driver as the slot receiver. The lineup switch should start this year. Cobb broke six tackles on 25 catches compared to one in 37 grabs for Driver. Had he reached our 35-catch threshold, he would have led the NFL with a catch percentage of 80.6 and ranked third in YAC per catch (7.7). On special teams, Cobb was one of only three returners with a touchdown return on punts and kickoffs, and the Packers ranked fourth with an average starting point of the 24.3-yard line following kickoffs.

Tori Gurley (6-4, 232; first year): Gurley led the team with nine receptions last preseason. He played AAU basketball with NBA star Stephon Curry for a team coached by Dell Curry, and originally committed to playing football and basketball for North Carolina.

Diondre Borel (6-0, 199; first year): Borel, a three-year starting quarterback at Utah State, caught two passes and returned one kickoff (32 yards) and one punt (23 yards) in the preseason. Coach Mike McCarthy singled out Borel a couple times as a player making a big leap during the offseason.

Shaky Smithson (5-11, 202; second year): Smithson was signed as an undrafted free agent last year based largely on his NCAA-high 19.2-yard average on punt returns at Utah. He spent last year on IR (shoulder).

Dale Moss (6-3, 213; UDFA): After four years on South Dakota State's basketball team, Moss gave football a shot. His height and athletic ability (4.39 in 40; 41 1/2-inch vertical) make him an intriguing prospect.

Jarrett Boykin (6-2, 217; UDFA): Boykin set Virginia Tech's career records with 184 receptions for 2,884 yards. He's a big target with huge hands but ran just 4.72 at the Combine.

Curenski Gilleylen (5-11, 213; UDFA): Gilleylen is a major long shot. After putting up modest numbers at receiver for his first three years at Nebraska, he was moved to running back and never got the ball.

Total: 11. On 2011 opening roster: 5.

Final prediction (6): Jennings, Nelson, Driver, Jones, Cobb and Gurley.

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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.

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