GREEN BAY—As it often is in Green Bay, the competition for the final wide receiver spots on the 2013 roster promises to be worth watching.
The Packers added two receiving prospects in the seventh round on Saturday, selecting Charles Johnson from Division II Grand Valley State and Kevin Dorsey from Maryland just eight picks apart, in the 216th and 224th spots.
With Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones entrenched as the top three receivers, Johnson (6-2, 215) and Dorsey (6-1, 207) will be among those competing with holdovers Jarrett Boykin and Jeremy Ross for a role in Green Bay’s high-powered passing game.
“Outside of the first three, the one thing that’s consistent is they’re all good-sized men and physical receivers,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “The two young men we’ve added both have excellent physical ability, with speed. I really like the competition there.”
Statistically, Johnson is the more impressive of the two, though he doesn’t come from the Division I ranks. After going from Eastern Kentucky to a community college and then to Grand Valley State, Johnson caught 128 passes for 2,229 yards and 31 TDs over the last two years, averaging 101 yards receiving per game.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper said after the Packers selected Johnson that he had Johnson graded as high as the fourth round.
“He can run,” Packers GM Ted Thompson said. “He’s got really good flexibility in and out of his cuts. He catches the ball well. We think he’s a really good receiver, obviously.”
Johnson had a dynamite pro day workout, during which he reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.3s, but he said the Packers had their eye on him before that.
“I took a visit there and spoke to the coaches and they expressed their interest,” Johnson said. “They said, ‘We liked you before you ran a 4.3. We liked you based off your film.’”
Johnson also likes the Packers, admitting that every time he plays the Madden video game he chooses Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback and runs a lot of deep routes.
Dorsey developed an affinity for Green Bay, too, after a pre-draft visit. Then he studied the Packers and saw the opportunity he may have here, with Greg Jennings (free agency) and Donald Driver (retirement) leaving the receiving corps.
“It’s a win-win for myself,” he said.
Dorsey was most productive in 2011, when he had 45 catches for 573 yards and three TDs, but last year his production dropped to just 18 catches for 311 yards and four TDs as the Terrapins had all kinds of injuries at quarterback.
“It was pretty tough,” Dorsey said. “Having a new guy in there every week or every two weeks, it was just something you have to fight through.”
The pedestrian statistics motivated Dorsey to work out that much harder during the pre-draft process. He considers himself a big-play receiver, but he also focused on running all the short routes well so he wouldn’t get labeled one-dimensional.
In the end, he was counting on pro scouts to recognize his ability and see that his statistics weren’t a true reflection of it.
“It was quite a chore being a receiver (for that Maryland team),” Thompson said. “The numbers won’t look that impressive, but when you watch him work, see his build and strength, he’s impressive.”
Consider Johnson and Dorsey entered as competitors.
“They both look like what you’re supposed to look like,” Thompson said.