Ranking the NFC North WRs Prior to 2012 NFL Draft

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Ranking the NFC North WRs Prior to 2012 NFL Draft
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

We've gone through the running backs and quarterbacks, so now we turn our attention to the wide receivers.

It's an interesting group, with some elite talents and a whole lot of so-so players as well.

Pretty much every team has at least one great option at wide receiver, but it's the depth behind them that often tells the tale for these teams. The Packers roll deep, with the Lions not far behind, while the Bears and Vikings try to make the best out of what they have.

So here they are-the wide receivers of the NFC North.

 

1) Calvin Johnson

What can you say about Johnson, arguably the best receiver in the whole of the NFL? Amazing leaping ability, great hands, a fierce my ball mentality, a huge wingspan, great speed—Johnson is unstoppable and can produce even when he's covered by two, sometimes even three defenders.

There is nobody better in the League, much less the division.

 

2) Greg Jennings

Jennings has stayed healthy and Aaron Rodgers has been able to get the time in the pocket to find Jennings on the vertical routes. More importantly, Jennings started being productive on shorter routes as well. The emergence of Jordy Nelson and the maturation of Randall Cobb will only serve to free him up more, making him incredibly dangerous.

 

3) Brandon Marshall

The biggest question for Marshall is, can he stay out of trouble off the field so that he can be successful on it? It looks as though his latest court issue isn't going to cause any missed time, so that should help give him time to become reacquainted with Jay Cutler, his former Denver teammate. Marshall has had five-straight 1,000-yard seasons, with much worse quarterbacks at times than Jay Cutler. If he can keep out of trouble, he will be a tremendous weapon for Cutler and the Bears.

 

4) Percy Harvin

When his migraines aren't acting up, Harvin is a tremendous receiver who has done very well since Sidney Rice left for Seattle. Harvin has issues being the only real passing target for the Vikings but largely overcomes whatever coverage comes his way. If they can only get a decent player opposite him, he and Christian Ponder could be a potent combination.

 

5) Jordy Nelson

Nelson emerged as a monster of the last year or so, showcasing good hands, blazing speed and a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Now that he's been paid, he's going to be in Green Bay for a while and should continue to feast on the coverage left when the main strength turns it's attention to Greg Jennings. He will also pull that same coverage his direction, giving defenses the choice of poison.

 

6) Nate Burleson

Burleson has finally found a home on the Lions opposite all-universe wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Despite Megatron pulling double and triple teams at times, Burleson will still struggle to gain the open field which will probably allow the younger, faster Titus Young to overtake him. For now though, he is a good, reliable player who Matthew Stafford can rely on.

 

7) Titus Young

Young is a good wide receiver who sometimes seems to lose his head. At some point, he will probably overtake Nate Burleson as the Lions' number two, as his speed and overall ability is greater than Burleson's.

 

8) Randall Cobb

I liked Cobb a lot coming out of college and I'm firmly convinced that he will be the Packers' replacement for Donald Driver's production. Cobb is fearless going up for a ball and is very dangerous after the catch, as is evidenced on his kick returns.

 

9) Earl Bennett

Bennett keeps getting mentioned as someone who Jay Cutler will hook up with based on their time together at Vanderbilt, but it hasn't had a huge impact as of yet. Bennett is an OK receiver with good speed and pretty reliable hands, but nothing terribly special. It remains to be seen if having Brandon Marshall to pull coverage away from him will free him up or if it does, what he can do with it.

 

10) Devin Hester

The continuing effort to cram this square peg into a round hole is baffling as Hester is no more than an average receiver. Taking away his kick return duties so he can concentrate on his receiving is a great idea...four years ago when we didn't know he's never going to be an elite receiver. Don't tell the Bears that though.

 

11) James Jones

Jones has talent but hasn't been able to consistently stream good performances together over his Packer career. I'm actually a little surprised they have him on the squad still, but that's the Packers for you—there's no such thing as too much depth. Jones will be overshadowed by Randall Cobb this year.

 

12) Johnny Knox

If Knox can come back from his spinal injury, and if he can stay healthy, he will probably find some success opposite Brandon Marshall. Knox is a tough player with good hands who can also run a nice route. I'd have him higher but to be honest, I don't think he'll be back at 100 percent, if at all. I hope he proves me wrong.

 

13) Dane Sanzenbacher

Sanzenbacher was gaining some ground during the first half of the season, with Jay Cutler targeting him for three touchdowns. He started to drop from the stat sheet two games before Cutler went down and after that it didn't get better. Sanzenbacher is a solid player, with good hands and the ability to gain separation. I like his upside more than some of the other players on the roster and a full offseason program and time with Cutler will only help move him forward.

 

14) Devin Aromashodu

Aromashodu was targeted a ton by Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder on more than one occasion but dropped too many of the passes thrown his way. Some of those passes were no good but on more than a few Aromashodu could have made more of an effort to catch them. While he has some speed, his hands are far too unreliable.  

 

15) Donald Driver

Driver's production finally began falling off after years of everyone declaring "this is the year Driver shows his age." It's likely Driver sticks around again for one more go, but his role—along with his physical tools—will be reduced.

 

16) Michael Jenkins

Before he was hurt, Jenkins had but a pair of good games, the rest were really mediocre. He has shown good speed and hands in the past but just doesn't have the overall ability to standout, even in a group of receivers who shouldn't be much competition.

Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

Out of Bounds

NFL

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.