Since Aaron Rodgers took over the Packers' offense in 2008 the wide receiver position in Green Bay has been one of strength. Fast forward to 2013, and the wide receiver position has become a position of uncertainty. The Packers, of course, still have Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones, but key departures such as Donald Driver (retirement) and Greg Jennings (free agency) have left the position in need of some key role players.
The Packers waited until the seventh round to address the wide receiver position when they drafted Charles Johnson from Grand Valley State No. 216 overall and Kevin Dorsey out of Maryland No. 224 overall. They also brought in an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech, Myles White, who turned in a strong rookie camp last month. Also in the mix are second year men Jarrett Boykin and Jeremy Ross.
LOCKS TO START
Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb
After the "big 3" the wide receiver position is completely up in the air. The Packers will keep five wide receivers and possibly a sixth if the guys in the mix continue to perform well. Over the last two seasons the connection of Rodgers to Cobb has been one of the better ones in the league. Nelson has been very production in his time in Green Bay, and proves that when he can stay healthy, he is one of the better wide receivers in the league. He has two years left on the three-year $13.5 million contract extension he signed in 2011. Jones led the NFL in touchdown receptions a season ago with 14 and is in the final year of his three-year, $9.4 million contract he signed in 2011. Both will look to build on their past success and secure a payday in the offseason.
The other players on the roster simply don't have the experience to even remotely challenge any of the Packers' three veterans for a starting position in 2013.
Out of the Running
Jarrett Boykin, Jeremy Ross, Kevin Dorsey, Charles Johnson, Myles White, Terrell Sinkfield, Alex Gillett, Tyrone Walker, Sederrik Cunningham
Jarrett Boykin played in a limited role last season and did well when on the field. As the only remaining player who took offensive snaps last year, he was able to sneak a few reps away from Donald Driver towards the end of the season and took advantage of his time. Jeremy Ross didn't see the field as a wide receiver, but played well in a special teams role a season ago. Ross has tremendous speed, which head coach Mike McCarthy seems to like. Boykin isn't as fast as Ross, but possess better route running and catching skills making him the favorite for the No. 4 receiver by default.
Dorsey and Johnson have an uphill climb to make the 53-man roster, but they both have a shot at finding a placeon the practice squad. Johnson has a unique set of skills and has the potential to be a very solid NFL player. At 6'3'' and 220 pounds, Johnson posses good speed and a great leaping ability. He is the same height or just a touch taller than Jordy Nelson and both have similar games. Johnson may be faster than Nelson; however, Nelson is a better route runner at the moment. Although he was playing weaker competition at Grand Valley State, he dominated nearly every game, which is to be expected from a guy that didn't belong playing in Division II based on his skill set.
Kevin Dorsey is also 6'3" but weighs 10 pounds less than Johnson at 210. He wasn't the most productive player in college — his best season as a Terp came in 2011 when he caught 45 passes for 573 yards and just three touchdowns. Many Packers scouts and beat writers have compared him to Donald Driver early in his career. He has the opportunity to make the team in future years, but it appears that this season may be spent on the practice squad.
White comes to Green Bay as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech, but he has earned praise from Aaron Rodgers for his performance in OTAs and minicamp. The Packers signed Terrell Sinkfield back in early June. Sinkfield raised eyebrows at the NFL Scouting Combine when he ran a 4.19 40-yard dash, however, we don't see the speedster making a serious run at the roster. The same goes for three other receivers currently on the team - Gillett and Walker were signed as undrafted free agents this spring while Cunningham was signed before the draft as a free agent despite being out of football in 2012.
Dan Turczynski is a writer for Acme Packing Co. He also writes for LombardiAve and Pro Football Central. Follow him on twitter: @DanTurczynski