Packer Report caught up with receiver Jordy Nelson recently during the final stop of the annual Tailgate Tour. Nelson, the Packers' Hall of Fame selection as rookie of the year, caught 33 passes for 366 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Nelson was the 36th overall selection and the third receiver off the board. His receptions total finished fifth in the NFL among rookie receivers. Denver's Eddie Royal (second round; No. 42) led the way with 91 catches for 980 yards and five touchdowns. Next was Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson (second round; No. 49) with 62 catches, 912 yards and two touchdowns, followed by Miami's Davone Bess (undrafted) with 54 catches, 554 yards and three touchdowns and St. Louis' Donnie Avery (second round; No. 33) with 53 catches, 674 yards and three touchdowns.
After being shut out in the season opener against Minnesota, Nelson caught at least one pass in the final 15 games. His first career reception was a 29-yard touchdown in Week 2 at Detroit.
Packer Report: What have you been doing for fun this offseason?
Nelson: (Laughs) Playing some golf. Once we get back, I'll hang out and relax and get ready to hit it hard for OTAs.
Packer Report: Are you any good?
Nelson: No. Just started last year and play every once in awhile. I'm slowly improving. Just out there to have fun, that's all. I'm not worried about what I score. Just out to swing as hard as possible and see where the ball goes.
Packer Report: Are you enjoying the Tailgate Tour?
Nelson: It's been a lot of fun. It's been a good four days, meeting the fans and telling them thank you for everything they've done for us. It gives them an opportunity to see us just as regular people. We've been stopping in at schools, talking to the kids a little bit and we even played kickball and dodgeball at one school. So, it's just been fun.
Packer Report: Now that you've had some time to reflect, what are your thoughts on your rookie season?
Nelson: I think it went well. I think I steadily improved throughout the year, started to get more and more comfortable with the system and how the NFL is going to go. I think I set a good foundation, and hopefully I can build off of that.
Packer Report: You've been with the team for 12 months now. How much better are you now than a year ago?
Nelson: I think I'm a lot better. It's just little things, like continue to improve my routes. I've played receiver for four years, so there's improvement yet to do. I look forward to OTAs to continue to improve. (Note: Nelson arrived at Kansas State as a walk-on safety.)
Packer Report: Did you follow the draft at all?
Nelson: I went to the draft party at the stadium and did some autograph signing. I think I saw pretty much every pick that we made. It was fun to be on the other end of it. You're with a team, so you're interested to see what's going on.
Packer Report: What did you think when Michael Crabtree, the top receiver in the draft, was available?
Nelson: I wasn't too worried about it, honestly. I think we pretty much had a confident feeling about what the organization was going to do. As receivers, we talked about it actually a couple of days before the draft. If Crabtree was going to be there, we said if he was going to be the best player on the board that we wanted, then it would be great to have another good receiver. Obviously, he's a great athlete. Then we could have six good ones out on the field at one time (laughs).
Packer Report: Yeah, the Big Six formation. That would be great! Last question for you: How's your former Kansas State quarterback, Buccaneers first-round pick Josh Freeman, going to do?
Nelson: I think it will be interesting what they do with him. I'm hoping that he gets to sit out for a while, kind of get treatment like Aaron (Rodgers) did. Obviously, he won't have the person to learn from (like Brett Favre), but when he came to K-State, he kind of got thrown into the fire his true freshman year, which is kind of what he wanted and that's why he came to K-State. But, I'm hoping he can sit back a little bit and learn the game instead of trying to learn on the run. So, hopefully he gets to sit back. He'll have a good running game down there, so that will help him. I think he should have a good career.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.