Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are ready for go as the Green Bay Packers are poised to have a scary-good receiving corps in the NFC North.
There’s nothing like home-grown, good ole boys to get the job done. For the Green Bay Packers, that’s the franchise’s MO. Similar to the stud-making factory in New England, the Packers raise ‘em right. Look no further than Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are products of the Pack system, which drafts key pieces and develops them to their fullest potential. And that’s why a healthy Nelson and a primed Cobb makes for one heck of a threat in the open field.
In 2014, Green Bay had the best receiving duo in the league. Prior to being sidelined for the entirety of 2015 thanks to a preseason ACL injury, Nelson peaked for the Packers next to teammate Cobb. The tandem threat combined for 2,800-plus yards.
But there is never certainty in a contact sport. Nelson was excused from OTAs last week, and of course his production this upcoming year is parallel to his health. But on the positive side, Nelson has never been “wishy-washy” or prone to injury. Taking time to come back to the playing field is a good sign for the Packers. Cobb will be waiting.
Behind the two standouts is an immense amount of depth in the receiving ranks which makes the Packers a force to be reckoned with at the wideout position.
Green Bay parted ways with James Jones, the team’s leading receiver in 2015. Jones may have led the team in yards, but this year he is without a contract and without a spot on the roster. The Packers aren’t worried with the development of a youthful crop with the likes of Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Ty Montgomery and Jeff Janis.
With focus strictly on wide receivers, the Packers will have their cake and eat it, too in the NFC North.
Let’s take a quick look at other receiving corps around the division.
With the athleticism and potential in Minnesota, it’s hard to rank the Vikings’ receiving corps second to anybody.
Stefon Diggs leads the lineup as the sophomore wideout heads into the new season poised to impress. He did it without issue last year, exceeding expectations as a fifth-round pick. It didn’t take long before Diggs became a household name and a threat in the deep field.
Complimenting Diggs is first-round pick Laquon Treadwell who should make an immediate impact. The two could combine to make defensive backs’ heads spin.
Jarius Wright will fight for his spot in the playbook, but he will be Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite third-down target. He knows his role as a slot receiver, while Charles Johnson looks at cleanup duties.
And then there’s Cordarrelle Patterson. A bright star during his rookie year, Patterson’s route-running deficiencies and a the lack of chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater dimmed the bright lights. But, never say die. We can’t rule the explosive receiver out, yet. In his fourth year, maybe the fourth times a charm.
With the retirement of Calvin Johnson, Detroit’s offense will have a significantly different look. The Lions will need to look elsewhere without Megatron, who made numerous team records in the Motor City.
Ready to fill that void is Golden Tate who eyes the No. 1 receiver slot. His accomplishments may seem elementary compared to someone like Johnson, but the Lions Pride needs to trust in the man.
While Johnson had the upper hand in the catch, it’s Tate’s athleticism after the catch that makes him a standout. He stepped up big in 2014 when Johnson missed a handful of games, and he’s going to walk tall this season. Let’s not forget the man is a former Super Bowl champion.
Behind Tate is former Cincinnati Bengal Marvin Jones in the No. 2 slot. Sharing slot duties will be T.J. Jones, Jeremy Kerley and Corey Fuller. Not a bad trio. The team also added free agents Andre Roberts and Andrew Caldwell this offseason.
The departure of Johnson, who accounted for nearly a third of the team’s receiving yards last season, diminishes Detroit’s luster at wideout where the depth lacks of “big names.” But we can’t discredit the corps because with Matthew Stafford’s arm, anything is possible.
It’s without question that Alshon Jeffery is the most prized possession to Jay Cutler and can single-handedly ruin a defense. Missing him for basically half of the season last year was a big blow to the Bears.
But when you take the numbers Jeffery put up in just nine games he played, it’s easy to chart out a productive 2016 season for the wideout. He’s important to the Chicago franchise, but he might have to settle for just that tag in 2016 after his injuries make him a liability in the long run. Jeffery has yet to strike a deal with the Bears.
At the No. 2 spot is Kevin White. He heads into 2016 as a born-again rookie considering his injury last year robbed him of his freshman year. Behind White is Eddie Royal, Josh Bellamy and Marc Mariani.
It’s safe to say that the NFC North is stacked at the wide receiver spot. It’s going to be an interesting year in a rapidly-improving division.