Training camp preview: Wide receivers

Donald Driver and Greg Jennings lead pack of playmaking receivers.

The top unit in gaining yards after the catch in 2007, the Green Bay Packers' wide receivers should be able to pick up where they left off in 2008. With the addition of Jordy Nelson, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have a number of targets capable of getting the maximum out of each reception.

Veteran Pro Bowler Donald Driver, the second oldest player on the team's roster at 33 (unless Brett Favre, 38, shows up in training camp) heads the group. He is coming off two of the best seasons in his career and fourth straight 1,000-yard season, a team record. He had 82 catches last year and only two touchdowns, but his 90-yard catch-and-run touchdown against the New York Giants in the NFC championship game gave the Packers an early lead.

Greg Jennings, who led the team in big plays in 2007, is on the cusp of turning into a Pro Bowl regular. He had 53 catches last year in the regular season, but seven 40-plus-yard receptions and finished with 12 touchdowns, fourth most in the NFL. His 17.4 yards per catch averaged ranked third in the league.

After Driver and Jennings, the competition in training camp for the No. 3 spot will be intense between second-year pro James Jones and Nelson, a second-round pick. If Jones bounces back from a mediocre second half of last season, he should be able to retain the No. 3 spot. But Jones cooled off with the weather after an impressive start, finishing with 47 catches. Though he had three catches against the Seahawks in a divisional playoff game, the California native was nowhere to be found in the NFC championship game.

Jones added about 6 pounds of muscle to his 218-pound frame this offseason and is effective after making a catch.

Nelson, however, is a big, strong receiver who will push Jones for the No. 3 spot, possibly as soon as the start of the season. Nelson has good speed and is very good at catching the ball in traffic, thanks to his leaping ability.

If Nelson falls short of the Packers' expectations, Ruvell Martin has proven he is a capable backup. At 6-foot-4, Martin is a good possession receiver, blocker and has filled in as a starter in a pinch.

Of course, with coach Mike McCarthy's "Big 5" formation that was introduced in Week 10 last year, the Packers will need at least five good receivers at Rodgers' disposal this season.

Keep an eye on seventh-round pick Brett Swain and free agent Johnny Quinn. Swain made a number of big plays while at San Diego State. Quinn has size to go along with his leaping ability. Quinn's best chance of making the team is by making the eight-man the practice squad soon after final cut.

Others trying to make the roster or practice squad include veteran Shaun Bodiford, Chris Francies, Jake Allen and Taj Smith. Bodiford and Francis have been with the Packers since 2006. Allen and Smith were undrafted free agents. Quinn signed with the Packers earlier this offseason.

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