The Green Bay Packers have one of the deeper wide receiving groups in the NFL. Donald Driver and Greg Jennings are obviously the top two receivers on the team, but the job of the third receiver comes down to a battle between James Jones and Jordy Nelson.
Jones will be starting his fourth year after being drafted in the third round out of San Jose State. Jones had an excellent rookie season, catching 47 passes and averaging 14.4 yards per catch. Jones looked like he was on his way to becoming a star for the Packers. Unfortunately Jones' second season was marred by injuries and saw a sharp decline in his production.
In 2009 Jones' production rose again but he was dropping 21.95% of the passes thrown his way, which according to Profootballfocus , was the 2nd worst in the league. Jones' ended the season with 32 receptions and 5 touchdowns in 2009.
After trading their first round pick away in the 2008 draft, the Packers selected wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the second round out of Kansas State. This was somewhat of a surprising pick to many Packer fans considering the Packers used second and third round picks on wide receivers in the two previous drafts.
Nelson had a decent beginning to his Packer career. 55 receptions, 686 yards and four touchdowns in his first two seasons. However, compare that to the numbers put up by Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who the Packers passed over in favor of Nelson, 125 receptions, 1079 yards and eleven touchdowns, and Nelson's season seems very pedestrian.
Comparing Jones to Nelson head to head they are quite similar, but Nelson has a slight edge in most of the tangible categories, size, speed and hands. On the field however they split time fairly evenly. Jones' has more to gain by having a good year as he is a free agent at the end of the 2010 season.
At this point in time it does appear that there is a clear cut number three wide receiver on the team, nor is it obvious who the eventual successor to Donald Driver will be. Complicating their roles in the offense even more is the emergence of tight end Jermichael Finley who looks to of become one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets.
Big things are expected out of both players this year, according to coach Mike McCarthy, both players had outstanding offseasons . All of this should make for one of the more intriguing training camp battles in Green Bay this summer.