The Green Bay Packers, by signing Chandon Sullivan yesterday, are bringing back their top three cornerbacks from last season. As was evident in the NFC Championship game, they were not good enough. Jaire Alexander is an All Pro and may be the best corner in the NFL. However, afte him, the Packers lack any real effective talent at the position. Without a doubt, they will address this position in the NFL Draft. The question is when will they begin looking. There are a plethora of cornerbacks that could be taken in the first round before the Packers pick. After them, few corners are expected to be taken in the first round, dropping all the way to the second and third rounds. If the Packers choose to use their second or third round pick on a cornerback, here are three names they could see on their board.
Asante Samuel Jr.
Asante Samuel Jr. has already had several pre-draft meetings with the Green Bay Packers. Clearly, he is a prospect that they think could fit their system. The major question is whether or not he will be on the board when the Packers draft in the second round. They could, of course, draft him in the first round. However, this would be a very bad value pick and could result in the Packers missing out on another difference maker at a different position.
Very few believe that Samuel will be on the board when the Packers pick in the second round. With all of the top-tier corners being picked in the first round, Samuel may be one of the first to be drafted in the second round. If the Packers really want him, they may have to trade up in order to get him.
If he falls to them, or if they trade up for him, the Packers would be getting a very exciting corner. He is undersized and can be grabby, but plays with great instinct and speed. Despite his smaller stature, he plays bigger than he is and effectively moves his body to break up passes. He does not have an issue hanging with his receivers because of his speed.
The downside to Samuel, in addition to his speed, is that he struggles to play zone coverage. His talents are better utilized in man coverage, which the Packers typically play more of anyway. If the Packers are somehow able to get him in the Draft, look for him to take over as the second starting cornerback.
In terms of which second day cornerback has the highest upside, look no further than Ifeatu Melifonwu. Melifonwu is a physical beast who engages receivers right at the line of scrimmage. One of the biggest areas of frustrations of the Packers’ pass defense last year was that they waited to engage receivers until they were five or six (or more) yards down the field.
Due to his tendency to play close to the line, he is very adept at sniffing out screen passes and makes his presence known in an effort to snuff out the play. Due to his strength and height, he is good at defending highly thrown passes and tackling. Unlike other Packers’ corners, he also is known to keep the action in front of him.
The negatives of Melifonwu is that he sometimes gets lost in the action and, as a result, loses his assignment. This is a facet of his game that can be coached and should improve on the next level. He also is slower in his backpedal, which can lead to his being burned if the reciever makes a quick move. He does, though, have a quick burst that can help him recover.
Melifonwu is slated to be a late second round or early third round pick. He more than likely will be on the board when the Packers pick in the second. However, it is also likely that he will be gone by the time they pick in the third.
Tyson Campbell is a very interesting prospect for a variety of reasons. On one hand, he has the potential to be a first round pick due to his immense growth over the past two seasons. However, due to his lack of interceptions and pass breakups (one interception and 11 pass breakups in two years), he may also find himself sliding to day two of the Draft. That being said, if the Packers have the chance to take him in either the second or third round, he would be an absolute steal.
Campbell is a very physical cornerback who is among the hardest hitters at the position in the draft. He can cover over the middle and has been known to jar the ball lose with brutal hits after a receiver touches the ball. He is known to do too much face guarding, which could hurt him early in his career. Additionally, Campbell is slow to get his head around in coverage, which led to his lack of pass deflections.
On the Packers, Campbell does have the potential to be an immediate starter. However, even if he is not, he would be a very valuable nickle or dime back. His hard hitting ways and ability to defend the run would make him a force in the middle of the field. Regardless of whether or not the Packers pick him in the second or third round, he could end up being their best value pick in the entire draft.
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