The case for safety in Round 1
At first glance, safety doesn’t seem like a position the Packers would consider in the draft, let alone in the first round. They have two quality starting safeties in Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and a promising young prospects in Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans.
However, they did lose Micah Hyde in free agency and they could use a safety-nickel corner hybrid player to fill the void on defense. If Green Bay values the nickel position enough, what they refer to as the “star” position, they could find an athletic safety to feature as their nickel corner on defense.
Budda Baker and Jabrill Peppers are certainly intriguing first-round prospects that could fulfill this role. Baker especially is an excellent run defender up near the line of scrimmage and he has the coverage ability to matchup against slot receivers and tight ends in the NFL. He could be a dark horse pick for the Packers in the draft.
Similarly, Green Bay could experiment with Peppers as their “star” defensive. However, he doesn’t nearly have the coverage ability as Baker, even though he shows all of the athletic upside.
One other safety I could see the Packers maybe considering at pick 29, and I know this is a longshot, is former UConn safety Obi Melifonwu. This spring a few teams tried working him out at cornerback because of his rare combination of size (6-4, 224) and speed (4.40), and this could be an option for the Packers.
While I’m not a big fan of drafting players in the first round with the intention of having them change positions, Thompson certainly has a history of doing so. Two years ago Randall was selected in the first round to play cornerback, despite playing safety in college.
Melifonwu is definitely a wildcard option for Green Bay in the first round.