Drafting another cornerback is more important than you might think for the Green Bay Packers.
Nobody thought that wide receiver was a position of need for the Packers going into last year. The unit was regarded, in fact, as one of the best in the league.
Then Jordy Nelson tore his ACL. Randall Cobb couldn’t shoulder the burden of being the #1 target. Davante Adams regressed horribly in his sophomore season. Ty Montgomery went on injured reserve halfway through the year. And the Packers offense sunk to levels that were previously unfathomable with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.
This year, cornerback is the seemingly stable position that could be facing a disastrous collapse. On the surface, Green Bay’s corners comprise one of the most promising positions on the team.
Sam Shields is an exceptional coverage corner, the Jordy Nelson of the group. But behind him, there is far more potential than proven production.
Damarious Randall had an excellent start to the year, but his performance slipped down the stretch and he was victimized on a number of deep passes to elite receivers like Amari Cooper. Quentin Rollins showed some promise when he played, but his snaps were limited behind Shields, Casey Hayward, and Randall. Ladarius Gunter flashed in the preseason, but with less than 50 regular season snaps, it would be risky to rely on him to be much more than a role player.
Youth is something that should be celebrated in this league. The Packers have a huge amount of potential at a cheap price at one of the most vital positions in today’s NFL. And there’s nothing wrong with being optimistic that Randall, Rollins, and Gunter will develop into starter-quality corners.
But that’s what we all thought last year about Davante Adams.
The truth is that the Packers are just a torn ACL here and a sophomore slump there away from potential disaster. While it’s impossible to have a bevy of proven players waiting in the wings at every position, the position could greatly benefit from another talented rookie.
Competition is the lifeblood of an NFL training camp. A rookie will find it difficult to contribute on defense right away, but cornerback would still be a wise position to invest in.
For these reasons, Ted Thompson would be wise to learn from the wide receiver situation of last year and select another cornerback when the draft reaches the mid to late rounds.