Almost there! Roster construction part 9: the Cornerbacks! Previous parts in the archive.
You can find all stats used at Pro Football Reference.
With Joe Barry being hire,d the effect on the cornerback position will be minimal. He comes from the Fangio system, so we might see some more cover 2 called. Probably not much though.
Obviously first guy up will be Jaire. Kind of like Z or Davante or Kenny Clark. Not much needs to be said about him here. He is a pro bowler and an all-pro. All by his 3rd season! The only negative about him now is he is not a big interception guy. He gets a lot of pass break ups. Part of that is his average leaping ability combined with him being 5’10 means he can not get up and get those high ones like say, a Nick Collins, could. Either way he is not going anywhere. After Davante, he will probably be the next guy to get an extension. Either in the offseason or sometime during next season.
Next is everyone’s favorite whipping boy. Kevin King. He is not as bad as people made him out to be, but there are major flaws in him. First he is a bit injury prone. He has never played in a full 16 game season. His rookie year he played in 9 games. In his second year, he played in only 6. Last season he played in 15. This past season he played in 11. Tackling is also an issue for him. His tackling is inconsistent. It varies from game to game and even from play to play sometimes. Also the play at the end of the first half of the NFC championship game is another one of his flaws. He makes common sense mistakes at times. Highly doubtful the Packers bring him back, but he certainly lowered his price with his performance in the NFC Championship Game.
Nickelback Chandon Sullivan did not play as well with the increase in playing time and moving up from dime back to nickel back. He had his struggles, but wasn’t terrible. Far from it. He did have his worst game of his career in the NFC championship game though. He obviously has his flaws. Coming out of Georgia State he ran a 4.6, although he probably plays a little faster than that. He has had some good games though as well. Doubtful he gets cut. He played well in 2019. He plays hard. Competition should be brought in however.
Next would be everyone other favorite whipping boy. Josh Jackson. He actually played better this past season than he did in 2019. He allowed at 85% completion in 2019. In 2020 he allowed 74%. Still not great, but better. He still has upside…he just doesn’t offer a lot of versatility. Jackson can only play on the outside. He is not very good at special teams. That is one of the reasons he only played 33% of the special teams snaps this past season. That is why he was not active for four games at the end of the season and the playoffs. He will get a shot at starting in ’21.
Ka’dar Hollman is next. He basically didn’t play his rookie year. He played in four games and that was only on special teams. Finally he got some snaps on defense this season. He played well in his limited time. Playing in 14 games he had 3 passes defensed and had 10 tackles. Only allowed a 41% completion percentage on 17 targets. Mostly only playing in dime situations. He is still a bit of an unknown. A very good athlete. He only played 108 snaps on defense. He should have a shot at the nickel spot next year.
There are two guys on futures contracts. first Kei’varae Russell. Russell is a 4 year vet. Russell played in one game and only played special teams. He is known as a decent special teams player but not much else. He will get a chance to make the roster. Doubtful he does though. Packers will bring in some talent via the draft.
Stanford Samuels is the other. He was a undrafted rookie out of Florida State University. Samuels was a well decorated cornerback coming out of FSU. The 4.65 he ran at the combine really killed his stock. It was one of the reasons he went undrafted. He played well in training camp. The Packers put him on the practice squad. Where he spent the whole season. He was active for two games this season. He allowed 2 of three passes to be completed. This is too small a sample size to really say anything. He only played 13 snaps on defense. The rest were on special teams. He will have a chance to make the roster in ’21.
There were two cornerbacks who finished the season on the IR. Kabion Ento and Parry Nickerson. Ento a former wide receiver and undrafted player out of Colorado. Nickerson a former 6th round pick by the Jets. Ento spent the whole season on the IR. Nickerson played one game on special teams then got injured and ended up on the IR. Nickerson is not really a Packers type of CB. Doubtful he makes it to training camp.
With the Packers more than likely not resigning Kevin King and with the others on the roster being either limited in their roles or just being unknowns. The Packers definitely need to add some talent and depth to the position. I would expect them to target two corners in the draft. At least one early in the first three rounds. The Packers have a type that they draft. They like guys that are 5’10 1/2 and up. Preferably 6’0+. The Packers also like guys with decent size who can play physical and play bump and run. They like their corners to be 190+. The Packers also like their corners to be good overall athletes. They don’t necessarily have to run sub 4.4. There are a number of corners that fit their profile in the draft.
Some guys that they could have a shot at drafting that should fit their thresholds would be Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell from Georgia, Greg Newsome from Northwestern, Aaron Robinson from UCF, Ifeatu Melifonwu and Trill Williams from Syracuse, Kelvin Joseph from Kentucky, Rodarius Williams from Oklahoma State, Ambry Thomas from Michigan, Keith Taylor from Washington, and Robert Rochell from Central Arkansas.
Only a couple more parts to go in the series! Thanks for reading!
Go Pack Go!