A Green Bay Packers Specialty: Drafting Wide Receivers

When people think about the Packers and the WR position today, they tend to think how the Packers have not drafted a WR in the first round since 2002, when they selected Javon Walker with the 20th pick. What people forget about is the Packers are arguably the best team at drafting 2nd day WRs.

First, we’ll start in 2006. In the 2006 NFL draft, the Packers selected Greg Jennings in the 2nd round with the 52nd overall pick. In his 7 years in Green Bay, Jennings recorded 96 games played with 425 receptions for 6,537 yards and 53 touchdowns, while also making 2 Pro Bowl and winning a Super Bowl. Jennings is arguably the 2nd best WR taken in this draft class only behind Devin Hester, and he was the 4th WR selected. Jennings was one of the key pieces to the Packers 2011 Super Bowl title, catching 76 passes for 1265 yards and 12 touchdowns in that season and leading the Packers that year in all 3 of those stats. Jennings also put up 4 receptions for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Super Bowl win. Jennings is 9th in Packer’s history for receiving yards, 10th in receptions, and 7th in touchdowns.

Next, we head to the 2007 draft. With the 78th pick in the 2007 NFL draft, the Packers took James Jones. Jones was never a superstar like 2nd overall pick Calvin Johnson, he was one of the most reliable targets for Aaron Roders. Jones never went over 1000 yards or 100 receptions with Packers, yet he was able to finish his career with Green Bay 360 catches for 5195 yards and tacked on 45 touchdowns. Jones was also a pivotal piece in the Packers Super Bowl run in 2011, posting 51 receptions for 565 yards and 4 touchdowns and had 5 receptions for 50 yards in the Super Bowl win. In Packer history, Jones currently stands at 11th in receptions, 14th in yards, and 11th in touchdowns.

Now, we head to 2008. With the 36th pick in the 2008 NFL draft, the Packers selected Jordy Nelson. Nelson is one of the most loved players in the history of the Packers and was easily Aaron Rodgers favorite target. In his 9 years in Green Bay, Nelson posted 550 receptions, 7848 yards, 69 touchdowns, 1 Pro Bowl, and one Super Bowl win in 136 games played. His best game may have been in that Super Bowl, where he posted stats of 9 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown. Nelson finished with 4 years having over 1200 receiving yards, with his best coming in 2014, when he also added 13 receptions. Jordy Nelson was one of the most underrated WRs in his career, and he and Rodgers were one of the great duos during their time. If 87 was open, Rodgers would find him and if he wasn’t open, Nelson would get open. In Green Bay history, Nelson sits at 6th in receiving yards, 3rd in touchdowns, and 4th in receptions.

Now, we’ll skip a few years and head to the 2011 draft. With the 64th pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Packer selected Randell Cobb. Cobb has always been Rodgers’s right-hand man. He may never be a superstar to the outside world, but in Green Bay he was one. Randell had his best season in 2014 posting 91 receptions for 1287 yards and 12 touchdowns, all career best and he made his only Pro Bowl that season. He is still currently with Green Bay today, and currently has career numbers with Green Bay of 524 receptions for 6248 yards and 47 touchdowns, all numbers that will certainly increase by the time he decides it’s time to hang up the cleats. Currently in Green Bay history, Cobb sits at 6th in receptions, 11th in yards, and 10th in touchdowns.

And last but most certainly not least, we head to the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL draft, where the Packers would select Davante Adams out of Fresno State. Adams is arguably the best WR in Packer’s history, and there’s a fair argument between him and Donald Driver. Adams became a star in Green Bay very quickly while he learned behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. He posted 3 seasons of 1200+ yards and 5 seasons of 10+ touchdowns while in Green Bay. Today, he is arguably the best WR in the NFL, though sadly no longer with the Packers. When he was with the Packers, He was Aaron Rodgers’ clear number one target, and it was well deserved. Adams was able to make catches no one else in the NFL can and had a clear dominance over the position. While he could come back to the Packer someday, his current Packer stats were 669 receptions for 8121 yards and 73 touchdowns. In the Packers standings, he currently sits at 2nd in receptions, 4th in yards, and 2nd in touchdowns. If Adams does return someday, there is a strong chance he could jump higher in all 3 of those lists.

So, while the Packers may not draft first round WRs, they sure know how to find some gems in later rounds. This can be proven this year too, as the Packers selected Christion Watson in the 2nd round, Romeo Doubs in the 4th round, and Samori Toure in the 7th, with Watson and Doubs looking the best this year. It’s safe to say the Packers know how to draft WRs, and they may be the best in the NFL at it.
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