This weekend, I looked back at the Green Bay Packers receivers over the past three years, and I've drawn a few conclusions.
WR Greg Jennings is awesome. Not a big surprise. He's the only healthy, elite receiver they've had over each of the past three seasons. And he stepped it up in 2010 after injuries hit the rest of the roster.
WR Donald Driver. He wasn't productive in 2010 due to nagging injuries. While he's spoken recently about wanting to break more receiving records and playing until he's 40, it's pretty rare for a receiver to have a bounce back season once he's older than 35. It's certainly possible, but it's also a good idea for the Packers to have Plan B ready.
WR James Jones. A poll conducted back in March showed that readers don't have a lot of faith in him, and I haven't seen much improvement from him over the past three seasons either. And the stats agree. Some wide receiver needy team might make him a free agent offer the Packers do not want to match, but I think he'll be back on a one-year contract if the team still wants him.
WR Jordy Nelson. The stats I've been looking at were for the regular season, and don't consider the constant target he was during Super Bowl. That might be a sign he'll become a bigger part of the offense in 2011. He still has to prove the coaches he deserves to play ahead of Driver and Jones.
WR Brett Swain. While he's been with the team for three seasons, he wasn't mentioned in any of the stats because he's only had 6 career regular season receptions. If Jones is re-signed, they won't have any room for him on the roster.
TE Jermichael Finley. He's the only tight end capable of ending up as one of their top 3 receivers. He should return healthy in 2011, and if he can play all 16 games in 2011, he should be battling Jennings to become their top receiver.
Due to injuries, the offense leaned heavily on Jennings for most of their production, more so than they had counted on him in 2008 or 2009. It would be better if the offense had more balance, and gave the defense more to worry about. There should be improvement if Finley and Driver return healthy, but they can't count on Jones to emerge as a top receiver. Nelson has had some good seasons, but he hasn't ever been a true No. 2 receiver yet. The offense should be just as good in 2011, but there are some question marks.
Which shows why the 2nd round selection of WR Randall Cobb makes sense. There's no guarantee Cobb will be as good as Jennings, or even emerge as a solid No. 2 WR, but they need to have multiple options and keep the depth strong at receiver.