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Green Bay Packers Pre-Training Camp Grades: WR


We move on to another skill position on offense with today's highly un-scientific pre-camp grades. After examining the quarterbacks and running backs, today's look is at the Wide Receivers.

These expressions of confidence have everything to do with the players in their current roles. We're not expecting a practice squad guy to make the roster, so don't judge him as if he were a starter; instead, can he be an effective body in camp or help fill in for a player who's a little banged up?

Starters: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson

Backups: Randall Cobb, James Jones

Depth: Donald Driver, Tori Gurley, Diondre Borel

End of the bench/Practice Squad candidates: Jarrett Boykin, Curenski Gilleylen, Dale Moss, Shaky Smithson

Confidence in starters - Very high: Jennings and Nelson were a great 1-2 punch last year. Jennings puts the team on his back, doo, and is one of the best route runners in the league, a master of the slant route and yards after the catch. Nelson is a top deep threat, with deceptive speed to go along with his height and hands. The two combined for 2,212 yards and 24 touchdowns last year. If that's not a top-5 starting pair, I don't know what is.

Confidence in backups - Very high: Cobb showed flashes of great talent out of the slot last year, and many are viewing him as a top breakout candidate in 2012. Jones quietly put together a very good season last year as a 3rd wideout, setting career highs in touchdowns (7) and yards per catch (16.7). He would probably be a solid #2 receiver on another team, and I'm genuinely surprised that a team like the Browns did not make an effort to trade for him this off-season.

Confidence in depth - Very high: Driver, while aging, can still contribute on offense, especially on tough routes over the middle. Gurley and Borel have been licking their chops for a shot at the active roster since last season, when they turned down offers from other teams to stay on the Packers' practice squad. I think it's fair to say that either one would be no worse than a 4th wideout on 20 of the other teams in the league.

Confidence in youngsters - Above average: Moss comes in with high praise for his physical ability and may be this year's Gurley - a tall, fast specimen who just needs a little seasoning to attract some attention from other teams. Smithson showed some promise on special teams in camp last year, and could return for another round on the practice squad. The others are unknowns, but Borel impressed in camp last season out of nowhere as well.

Final grade - A: No other team can match the depth of this corps of receivers, and every one who could be on the roster will have experienced multiple training camps catching balls from Aaron Rodgers. While the group may not have a single target who commands all the attention on every play like a Calvin Johnson, their abilities complement each other and their sheer numbers ensure that no defense can cover all of them when they're playing at their best.