The 2010 Green Bay Packers crop of wide receivers were a special one for Mike McCarthy‘s West Coast offense. Aaron Rodgers had almost an unlimited amount of options at his disposal for the team’s aerial attack, including wide receivers Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Donald Driver and tight end Jermichael Finley. At any one time during the 2011 Super Bowl XLV run, one of Rodgers’ receiving options could emerge as the top target for any particular playoff game, whether it was in the Wild Card or the team’s victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers to clinch the franchise’s 13th NFL title.
However, the game of football is largely a business, and decisions have to made for the betterment of the franchise and organization as a whole to put a formidable team on the field each and every week. That’s a large explanation for departures of Jennings and Jones, who have since taken their talents to the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders, respectively. The Packers also lost Driver to retirement and Finley’s football career is in jeopardy with a devastating neck injury suffered during the 2013 season.
It’s not to say the prospects of Nelson and Cobb effectively holding down the top-two wide receiver slots isn’t enough to propel Rodgers and the offense into establishing themselves as the best in the NFL. Simply put, the unit needs more depth, and the upcoming draft is ample opportunity to build upon it.
In the absences of Jones and Cobb to injuries early in the season, Jarrett Boykin excelled in his role as a slot wide receiver and occasionally as the No. 2 wideout. After seeing 10 games of action during the 2012 season in which he had five receptions and was targeted six times, he increased his production immensely this past season, recording 49 receptions (82 targets) for 681 yards with three touchdowns.
Myles White is a stable option as a possible fifth wide receiver for the Packers, but he would not adequately serve as a fourth option for Rodgers and the offense. Fortunately for general manager Ted Thompson, the class of 2014 wide receivers are skilled and talented from top to bottom. The wide receiver situation isn’t as pertinent for the Packers as it is for other teams, but that might almost be a blessing in disguise; they don’t have the pressure to select a top receiver with the hope he pans out to his fullest potential. While this can apply toward any first-round pick, the pressure of an offensive playmaker panning out is much more widely scrutinized.
If any action is taken by Thompson, it would be a drastic surprise if it came about before Saturday. Still, athletic prospects like LSU‘s Jarvis Landry, Oregon‘s Josh Huff, Notre Dame‘s T.J. Jones and many more will more than likely be around to boost the Packers’ offense from the wide receiver position.
It may not yield instant results, but nonetheless, this year’s draft is a golden opportunity for Green Bay to reach the great heights of the 2010 receiving corps.