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Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Packers position preview: Receivers

By Rob Demovsky

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Between now and the Green Bay Packers' first training camp practice on July 26, we will break down each position group.

Next up is the receiver group.

Returning players: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Myles White, Chris Harper, Alex Gillett, Kevin Dorsey.

Gone from last season: James Jones, Sederrick Cunningham.

New this season: Davante Adams (second-round pick), Jared Abbrederis (fifth-round pick), Jeff Janis (seventh-round pick).

Position coach: Edgar Bennett (fourth season as receivers coach, previously coached running backs from 2005-10).

Biggest issue: Last year, the Packers thought they had a chance to field three 1,000-yard receivers in Nelson, Cobb and Jones. Only Nelson reached that mark, posting career-high numbers in receptions (85) and yards (1,314). Cobb missed 10 games because of a fractured tibia and Jones two games because of a knee injury. Nelson and Cobb are back (and in the final years of their contracts), but Jones signed a three-year, $10 million with the Raiders in free agency. So who fills Jones' spot? It could be Boykin, who caught 49 passes for 681 yards over the final 12 games last season. Whoever it may be, the Packers need a third receiving threat to come forward to replace Jones, who averaged 53 catches per season over the last four years.

Player to watch: Although Adams was a higher draft pick, Abbrederis and Janis both showed signs during the offseason program that they can not only make the team but also make an impact early on. Abbrederis looks like a slot receiver from the same mold as Cobb, while Janis is a Nelson clone who looks natural catching balls along the sideline. Both could factor in as kick returners.

Medical report: Harper, a waiver pickup last Oct. 18, was off to a good start in the offseason program until he sustained a hamstring injury that kept him out of the mandatory minicamp. Dorsey, a seventh-round pick in 2013, returned from a toe injury that landed him on injured reserve last August and took part in the entire offseason program. Cobb was a full participant throughout the offseason after returning for the regular-season finale from his fractured leg.

Help wanted: Given how deep this group is, the Packers are likely to keep six receivers.

Quotable: "I think the wide receiver group, that's probably the deepest that I can recall," offensive coordinator Tom Clements said.

Previous installments

Monday: Quarterbacks

Tuesday: Running backs