Saturday, July 24, 2010
CCQ #7: Will James or Jordy seize the upper hand?
This is the sixth installment of our Camp Countdown Questions series. Each day leading up to July 31st, we'll be posing a crucial question the Pack need to answer in training camp.
First things first: Green Bay is absolutely stacked at wide receiver. No other team in the NFL has a receiving corps with the talent and depth that the Packers have. We have two guys vying for the number three spot that could potentially start on almost every other team in the league. The players that I'm referring to are of course James Jones and Jordy Nelson.
I've always had a bit of a receiver fetish, and I couldn't be more excited that the Packers have this "problem." I get goosebumps when I start to think about the type of year Rodgers is going to have with all these weapons. I'm sure #12 is pretty psyched too.
I'm going to analyze Jones and Nelson and try to determine which player has the edge. Let's talk about Mr. Jones first.
Jones had a big rookie year in 2007 with 47 catches and 676 yards. Injuries prevented him from really being a factor in 2008, but he got back on track last season by hauling in 5 TDs.
James has good size at 6'1", 208 lbs and great hands. He's not the fastest or the niftiest guy, but the dude does have some moves and can also take a hit.
Jones earns his keep by moving the chains, but is fantastic after the catch (like all Packer WRs) and can turn a simple 10-yard route into a huge play.
The only time I've been truly disappointed in Jones was during the 2007 Packers-Bears game at Lambeau. James coughed the ball up twice, both times ending potential game changing scoring drives. Green Bay ended up losing that game but Jones seems to have put all of his ball security issues to rest: He hasn't fumbled since his rookie season.
Now it's time to talk about Jordy. I don't think anyone saw Green Bay taking him in the 2nd round in the 2008 NFL Draft, but the move seems likely to pay off (although we passed on DeSean Jackson...).
Jordy is an absolute hoss. At 6'3", 217 lbs, he's bound to give smaller corners nightmares. He's a long strider with deceptive speed, which, coupled with his size and athletic ability, makes him an ideal target deep downfield. Like Mr. Jones, Nelson has exceptional hands and kept many a drive alive last year with big third down catches from our fearless leader.
Nelson hasn't contributed to #89's level. Yet. His stat line is nothing to get excited about, but Jordy showed flashes of what kind of player he could be in the near future. In my opinion, his hands rank a close 2nd on the team behind Donald Driver. Nelson could very well end up replacing Double D when that sad day comes (IF he retires. Driver is ageless). In fact, Jordy reminds me a lot of Donald when he comes through in the clutch with drive-prolonging catch or when he runs a hook route and drags a couple of guys along for the ride.
Although it was a difficult decision to make, I believe Jordy Nelson will seize the upper hand and earn the #3 spot ahead of Jones. He's bigger, faster, more athletic and has better hands than James. Nelson's key play-making abilities give him the edge. He's been the talk amongst Packer beat writers throughout OTAs. He catches everything thrown his way. I'm going to go one step further and say Jordy Nelson is poised for a breakout year. Fantasy sleeper pick. You heard it here first.
Camp Countdown Questions series!