Among Packers, May 31 marks the birthday of two failed quarterbacks (Jim Del Gaizo and Chuck Fusina), a pretty solid cornerback (Tyrone Williams) and fan favorite receiver Jordy Nelson. Aaron Rodgers told Sports Illustrated that Super Bowl XLV against the Steelers was Nelson’s coming out party, “Since that [game], he’s been our best receiver.” Three times he has surpassed 1,000-yards receiving thus far, with a high of 1,519 yards in 2014. Ted Thompson thought highly enough of Nelson to sign him to a $39-million four-year extension in 2014, despite Jordy turning 29. Then he got hurt, and the 2015 offense struggled.

The 6’3” 215-pound Nelson was a second round pick out of Kansas State in the 2008 draft after having caught 122 balls from Josh Freeman in his senior year. Although he had been a track sprinter, his 4.5 40 time was very ordinary and Nelson has been fighting the stereotype of being a slow white receiver throughout his career. Somehow, he keeps running away from people, though, so that speed must be deceptive. After a three-year apprenticeship, he began to emerge during the 2010 postseason, and became a full-fledged starter the next year.

His position coach Edgar Bennett described to Sports Illustrated Nelson’s top qualities as a receiver, “First, great strength and combative hand technique to get off the line of scrimmage. Second, he’s fast.” Former teammate Greg Jennings added, “You’ve got a quarterback who can throw any receiver open at any given time if the receiver understands what he’s supposed to do. And Jordy understands what he’s supposed to do. Combine that with Jordy’s skills, and what you get is a joy to watch.”

It is clear watching Nelson and Rodgers that they are in sync at almost all times. Nelson’s biggest failing is that his hands are inconsistent. Generally, he is excellent at snatching the ball out of the air, but he seems to go through periods where he loses concentration or confidence and will start dropping easy ones. Jordy cracked the team’s all-time top ten in receptions and touchdown catches in 2014. It is likely that he will be fourth or fifth in receptions and third or fourth in touchdown catches at the end of the 2016 season.

(Adapted from Green Bay Gold)

Custom card in Topps 1960 style.

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