The Spectacular Jordy Nelson: 21st Century Lynn Swann

After Sunday’s heart-stopping Packer victory over the New York Giants, I was working on a post outlining the absolute monster season being turned in by Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, but ESPN beat me to the punch.

Nevertheless, let me heap praise on this incredible receiver.  At 13.91 yards per target, he is easily Aaron Rodgers highest value receiver.  If you consider that a normal receiver Rodgers targets as many times as he has targeted Nelson (69) should be expected to produce 393, then we can conclude that Nelson has delivered the Packers an additional 431 yards, which equates to somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.86 wins produced.  For a third receiver, those are absolutely exceptional numbers.

Brian Burke of AdvancedNFLstats concurs.  Nelson’s 1.01 Estimated Points Added per play is far and away the best EPA/play of any player in the NFL.  The next best per play impact is Pittsburgh’s Mike Wallace at 0.68 EPA/play, an astounding gap.  

The guy doesn’t drop anything, and he is deadly after he secures the football.  One of the catches Nelson made against the New York football Giants last Sunday absolutely took my breath away.  It was reminiscent of the famous “Kangaroo Catch” made by Lynn Swann of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl X (that’s how the legendary John Facenda described in what I consider the best NFL Films Super Bowl show ever made.  The riveting martial music that made NFL Films famous along with the poetic phrasings of Facenda are at their best.  Swann’s kangaroo catch is shown at the 5:32 mark). 

Nelson ran a “go” route along the sidelines.  Rodgers delivered the ball high and to the outside.  Nelson somehow lept into the air, secured the ball, and then contorted his body in such a way that he was able to get both feet in bounds despite the fact that his upper torso was at least a yard OUT OF BOUNDS.  It was spectacular.

And then, with under a minute to play and the Packers driving for the winning field goal, once again it was Nelson getting free, hauling in a pass from Jolly Rodgers, and setting the Packers up for the win.

Ever since Super Bowl 45, Jordy Nelson has been spectacular.  Like Lynn Swann, Nelson’s overall numbers don’t wow you, but he makes the great catch when the great catch must be made.  He is one of the best wide receivers I have ever seen in a Packers uniform, and I’ve seen both James Lofton and Sterling Sharpe.  Its about time he got his propers, and slowly but surely he has been.


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