It's still early in training camp, but how about we take a moment to look a little closer at one of the training camp battles that was highlighted a few weeks ago. The best place to start is the area I'm guessing most people want to know about the most, the wide receiver spot. The battle being fought for isn't a starting role, but it is a group with lots of talent and may affect the shape of the roster.
Unlike offensive line or QB, it's tough to say where the #1 group of WR lies exactly. I can tell you that Newhouse, Lang, Saturday, Sitton, Bulaga, and Rodgers all pretty much travel as a group in 11 on 11. The rest of the skill players come and go. Typically the WR group starts with Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Donald Driver right now (Greg Jennings is hurt and so has not participated). Randall Cobb has reps in many places and definitely has an interesting role on the team right now.
After these players then you get into the younger players still trying to make a name for themselves. You probably know who the big two are: Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel. There is also return man Shaky Smithson and ex-basketball player Dale Moss. Jarrett Boykin and Curenski Gilleylen round out the group. There are probably only one or two of these guys who are going to make the Packers' roster this year, and maybe only one or two that will even find room on the Practice Squad as well.
So who has the edge and who is disappointing? We'll take a look after the jump.
Who is locked in: Jennings, Jones, Nelson, Cobb, Driver. This shouldn't surprise anyone. The work and reports from Jennings, Nelson, and Cobb speak for themselves. Jones has also had a pretty good camp so far with some great catches and plays. He has also had a couple notable flubs in there, for example a fumble on Saturday's practice. Driver is same as he ever was, getting open and making catches. Not a huge drop off from last year for whatever that is worth.
Who has the edge for the last spot: Tori Gurley. Gurley has made some impressive catches so far and has definitely become a consistent target through camp. More important is that Gurley has more of a role with the special teams units than he did at this point last year, and more than many of the other receivers....well except for Cobb who is a returner.
Who is not going down without a fight: Diondre Borel. If there were a guy who I would say is backing up Cobb it would be Borel. He's been used on reverses and gets plenty of bubble screens like Cobb. He may not quite as many alignments, but he does get a far share of targets and touches. He also has not squandered that opportunity either. If he does not make the Packers this year he should catch on with another team much like Chastin West last year.
The diamond in the rough: Curenski Gilleyelen. Gilleyelen is a guy I wouldn't be surprised finds a way on the PS. He has dropped a few balls, but at the same time has made a few plays. Looking back over my notes the last few days I have been surprised by the number of times I have found a notation of #7 juking the defender good or making a solid catch. Moss probably gets more attention from the media, but Gilleyelen is making a solid competition with him for that future developmental receiver.