Packers 2016 Draft: “Red” and “Black Dot” players on defense
By Dan Dahlke
Our “Red Dot” Safeties
Kyle — K.J. Dillon, West Virginia
The Packers have their starters at the safety position, but not a ton of depth behind them. Dillon is a player that needs coaching and definitely needs to get better as a tackler. With the proper coaching he’s a prospect who could develop into a starting caliber safety. He loves contact and can play in the box or excel in man coverage over the slot. He would also be a huge asset on special teams. His versatility makes him very attractive option in the 3rd or 4th round of the draft.
Dan — Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee State
At 5-foot-11 and 216 pounds, Byard has already drawn comparisons to Cardinals safety-linebacker hybrid Deone Bucannon, which is a role Byard may very well fulfill in the NFL as well. However, Byard is more than just a physical in-box defender. He’s a ball hawk defensive back who can roam the middle of the field an make plays. Having started 49 out of 51 games in college, Byard is tied with only Boise State safety Darian Thompson for the most career interceptions in this draft class with 19. Byard could carve out a very specific role for himself in the Packers defense.
Freddie — Su’a Cravens, USC
While he’s listed as a linebacker, Su’a Cravens is being viewed as a safety by a number of teams. Cravens is one of the most intriguing prospects. At strong safety, he has great recognition and is strong against the run. The Packers could either line him up at safety or as their weakside inside linebacker.
Our “Black Dot” Safeties
Kyle — Jalen Mills, LSU
Mills has some athleticism that you like, but he lacks the physical nature of a true NFL safety. He also lacks the top end speed that he would likely need to make the switch to cornerback. He might fit at slot cornerback, but that’s a risk I will let another team take. He also has a history of domestic violence that is a cause for concern. A player without a true position is one thing. A player with personal issues to boot takes him off my board.
Dan — Jayron Kearse, Clemson
Kearse has intriguing measurable for the position, listed at 6-foot-4 and 216 pounds. However, Alabama exposed Kearse time and time again in coverage in the National Championship game, proving the Clemson safety still has a ways to go before he can be a reliable defensive back in the NFL. Many feel Kearse should add some weight and transition to linebacker in the NFL.
More packers: Ranking the Packers' top five needs entering draft
Freddie — Jalen Mills, LSU
Mill is too hesitant against the run, which is major red flag for me. You need players who are willing to make a tackle without fear and don’t make ‘business decisions’. Mills has a concerning injury history and some off-the-field issues. There are too many red flags and I’d throw him off the board.