Tough decisions await at receiver

With two draft picks joining the ‘Fab Five' of Driver, Jennings, Jones, Robinson and Martin, the Packers are overloaded at a position that takes up 13 spots on the roster.

In case you were counting, the Packers have 13 wide receivers on the roster.

That crowded group includes holdovers Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Ruvell Martin and Koren Robinson, along with second-round pick Jordy Nelson and seventh-round pick Brett Swain.

Then there's the familiar names, like Chris Francies and Shaun Bodiford. Throw in first-year player Johnny Quinn, who was signed in February, and undrafted rookies Taj Smith, Jake Allen and Rod Harper, and you've got receivers filling 16.3 percent of the 80-player-maximum roster.

The Packers kept six receivers last season — Driver, Jennings, Jones, Martin, Robinson and Bodiford. But that was when the Packers had the luxury of keeping just two quarterbacks. They'll have to keep three quarterbacks this season given the health history of Aaron Rodgers, so the Packers might be able to keep only five receivers on the final 53-man roster.

So, chances are, Packers general manager Ted Thompson will have to make a move at some point to avoid outright releasing someone with talent. Thompson, however, said no moves are imminent, even though such a bursting roster is going to limit the opportunities for the young receivers.

"We're still kind of working through our roster," Thompson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We're not letting anybody go. We'll see how it works itself out."

Obviously, Driver and Jennings aren't going to be traded, and the same is almost certainly true for Nelson. Jones, a third-round pick in 2007, probably is secure on the Packers' roster. Thompson has a long history with Robinson, who provides extra impact as a kickoff returner. That could make the 6-foot-4 Martin the odd man out in the Packers' "Fab Five," but Martin and Rodgers developed a good chemistry running the No. 2 offense in practice.

The problem — if having too much talent is a problem — deepens if Swain or a guy like Syracuse's Smith burst onto the scene at training camp.

With that much talent, a tough decision or two awaits at a strong position that Thompson fortified during the draft.

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com


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