Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb. File/Press-Gazette Media
Once again this year, Packers beat writer Rob Demovsky will provide a pre-draft breakdown of the Packers’ roster at each position heading into the April 25-27 NFL draft.
Here’s the position schedule:
April 10: Defensive line
April 11: Linebackers
April 12: Defensive backs
April 13: Offensive line
April 14: Running backs
April 16: Tight ends
April 17: Quarterbacks
April 18: Special teams
What they have: Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jarrett Boykin, Jeremy Ross, Sederrik Cunningham.
Position analysis: The Packers lost a pair of receivers who excelled playing the slot position, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. The Packers wouldn’t get into a bidding war with the Minnesota Vikings, who signed Jennings in free agency, and Driver’s time had passed. He retired as the team’s all-time leading receiver. Said general manager Ted Thompson recently: “Knowing coach (Mike) McCarthy, we’re still going to throw the ball around a little bit.” Enter Cobb, who led the team with 80 catches for 954 yards last season and caught eight touchdown passes. He’s the prototypical slot receiver: good route runner, operates in traffic, solid hands and quick. Said McCarthy: “I think definitely Randall is an excellent slot receiver … I feel very good about him in the slot.” On the outside, Jones and Nelson remain. A year after Nelson caught a career-high 15 touchdown passes in 2011, Jones nearly matched him with an NFL-leading 14. Nelson missed four games because of a hamstring injury and most of another game because an ankle but managed 49 catches, a 15.2-yard average and seven touchdowns. Boykin made the team as an undrafted free agent last summer and at times played ahead of Driver. Ross was a late-season addition who saw action as a return man. He has a chance to replace Cobb as the primary return man, which would allow Cobb to focus solely on playing receiver. Cunningham, a first-year player from Furman, was signed off the street on Monday.
McCarthy said: “If Jordy and James and Randall can just stay healthy for the whole year and we’ve got some young guys that we really like, and I’m sure we’ll add some young guys to the mix, we feel good about our perimeter.”
The future: In 2006, Thompson drafted Jennings (second round) and another receiver, Cory Rodgers (fourth round), who didn’t make it. He took Jones (third round) in 2007, and Nelson (second round) and Brett Swain (seventh round) in 2008. Since then, he has taken only one more receiver, Cobb (second round) in 2011. It might be time to restock on depth.