There is little doubt that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will be one of the most proficient passing teams in the entire NFL. As far as pure talent goes at the receiver and tight end positions, few teams, if any, can match the talent and depth that the Packers boast.
What makes the Packers such a unique team is the way in which Rodgers evenly distributes the ball to all his receivers. For example, 10 different receivers caught a touchdown pass last year. Five receivers had over five touchdowns, and eight receivers recorded over 200 yards.
So, determining which receivers will be the top producers for Green Bay certainly isn't as easy as it is for the Cincinnati Bengals or Houston Texans. However, we'll do our best to determine which receivers will produce the best during the 2012 NFL season for the Packers.
Before we begin, I want to throw out one disclaimer: Donald Driver will not be appearing on this list. To be honest, I don't think the Packers can keep him on their roster, and even if they do, I don't think he'll be even close to producing as well as the other receivers on this list. I know we all love Driver, but we must face the reality that his time has passed.
Now that we've put down our pitchforks, let's get on with the list.
5. James Jones
Jones had quite the up-and-down season with Green Bay in 2011. He'd go three straight games with a touchdown reception, and then completely disappear for the next five weeks.
The biggest issue with Jones is his hands. Once that first drop happens, you know that Rodgers is going to start looking at other targets. That is what will cause Jones to produce at a lower rate than his talent suggests in 2012.
4. Randall Cobb
Few rookies dazzled as much as Cobb did during the 2011 season, and while most of his players were made on special teams, he definitely showed his ability to be a threat in the passing game during his limited time on the field.
Green Bay simply doesn't have an offensive playmaker as explosive as Cobb, and there is little doubt that the Packers are going to use him in a number of ways during the 2012 season. Look for plenty of screen passes and short slants to be sent Cobb's way to get the ball in his hands in the open field.
The expected emergence of Cobb this year is the biggest reason why Green Bay simply can't move forward with Driver.
3. Jordy Nelson
Yes, I know that Nelson led the Packers in every major statistical category in the 2011 season. No, I haven't been doing drugs lately.
Now that we've got those two issues out of the way, let me explain why I see Nelson's production dropping a little from last year to this year. For starters, the entire NFL now knows exactly what Nelson brings to the table. The 2011 season was a breakout year, and Nelson slipped under the radar for the majority of the season.
Secondly, Greg Jennings will be back to full strength, and this is the year that Jermichael Finley finally reaches his full potential. I know we've all been saying that about Finley for the past two seasons, but this is really going to be the year.
I still expect Nelson to put up Pro Bowl numbers, but he'll come up a little short behind the next two players.
2. Jermichael Finley
While we're on the topic of Finley, if he doesn't reach his full potential, and by full potential I mean Jimmy Graham-esque production, I don't see how the Packers can move forward with him as their starting tight end. They're clearly a little concerned about this already, which is likely why they only gave him a two-year contract in the offseason.
With that said, Finley is going to have a huge year. He's going to dominate in the red zone and be a constant matchup problem for every cornerback, linebacker and safety in the league.
This will be the year that we all say, "It's about time."
1. Greg Jennings
Jennings missed three games during the 2011 season and still almost reached 1,000 yards receiving. He is simply that good and talented. In fact, he easily is one of the top-10 receivers in the league, and a strong showing in 2012 would cement his position in the top-five.
Not only is Jennings the most talented receiver on the roster, he also is Rodgers' most trusted receiver. He doesn't drop balls, doesn't give up on plays and consistently gets open despite constantly seeing double-teams from opposing defenses.
Jennings has the skills to be a perennial All-Pro player in the NFL, and this year he'll continue to show everyone just how talented he is.