Has Jordy Nelson Become an Elite NFL WR?

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIIOctober 21, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jordy Nelson #87, of the Green Bay Packers, carries the ball during the first half of the game against Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field on September 24, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle defeated Green Bay 14-12. (Photo by Kevin Casey/Getty Images)
Kevin Casey/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson has gone from the realm of "talented slot guy" to the status of elite wide receiver.

The former Kansas State Wildcat has built a unique chemistry with QB Aaron Rodgers, and regardless of who else is on the field, those two always seem to connect when the Packers need a play.

Nelson has not simply flipped a magic switch this season, but rather has slowly become one of the preeminent targets in all of football.

His receptions yards have increased in each of the last three seasons. In 2011, Nelson recorded an astounding 68 catches for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns.

His ability to make tough catches over the middle earned him a spot on the field, but Nelson is more than capable of being a vertical threat deep down the sidelines.

Nelson has catches of 80, 84 and 93 yards to his credit and last season averaged over 18 yards per reception.

Yes, Green Bay has one of the best quarterbacks in all of football in Rodgers, but to credit Rodgers as the sole reason for Nelson's success would be a disservice to everyone involved.

Nelson and Rodgers benefit each other. This season, Nelson has recorded a reception 66 percent of the times he has been targeted.

He is a consistent option that has caught fewer than five passes only twice this season. Other receivers may be bigger, but Nelson actually has comparable size at 6'3" and 217 pounds. 

Is he at the super-elite level of guys like Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald?

Perhaps not, but Nelson is on the level below, among players who would benefit any receiving corps they were placed on. The level of players like Brandon Marshall, Victor Cruz, Roddy White, Julio Jones and Reggie Wayne.

Nelson is truly that good.

Some may argue that Nelson's success this season stems from the injury problems of Greg Jennings. Those folks were clearly not watching last season as Nelson had more receptions, yards and touchdowns than Jennings (on fewer targets).

The Green Bay offense is undoubtedly one of the best in football and having guys like Rodgers, Jennings, Jermichael Finley and Randall Cobb is certainly not hurting Nelson's production, but Nelson is an elite player regardless of those around him.

He continues to improve with each passing season, week and game.

Has he become an elite NFL WR?