Packers 2018 Draft: Comparing the top cornerback prospects


Comparing the top cornerback prospects that could interest the Green Bay Packers in the 2018 NFL Draft.

After the trade that saw cornerback Damarious Randall join the Browns in return for quarterback DeShone Kizer, the Packers have a few questions to answer when it comes to the cornerback position.

Last year, the cornerback performance was amongst the worst in the league, and without Randall, Packers fans will turn towards the draft for players.

Let’s take a look at some of the best prospects.

Josh Jackson, Iowa

Jackson is an athletic freak who possesses the reach and height needed for a cornerback in the NFL. Previously, Jackson played wide receiver, a position that presented him with incredible ball skills and outstanding hands.

His film shows us he is a player that can read the offense well, as he finished the year with eight interceptions, the highest for any cornerback in the nation.

But Jackson shows us something different in his play. Rather than just showing us coverage, Jackson demonstrates his tackling power as well, adding stats like a forced fumble to his already impressive resume. 

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However, the 6-foot-1, 192-pound prospect didn’t live up to expectations at the combine. After putting up a mediocre performance in the 40-yard dash and the bench press, we can see the cornerback’s lack of exposure having an impact.

Joshua only had 14 career starts, a number that put him at a disadvantage when compared to other cornerbacks. He often rushed to judgement on plays, leading him to be easily faked on the line of scrimmage. 

Denzel Ward, Ohio State

Ward is one of the most physical corners in this draft. Even at 5-foot-10 he grandstands his potential in coverage due to his incredible footwork and ability to mirror the wide receiver. Most of all, Ward is patient. His film shows us a player that doesn’t rush in coverage, but rather a player that focuses on the route the receiver runs. Unlike Jackson, Ward put up an impressive performance at the combine, running a 4.32-second 40-yard dash, and brandishing an impressive 39-inch vertical.

On the other hand, Ward’s small frame makes it hard for him to cover physical receivers. He was able to break up bad passes with ease, but when it came to locating the more accurate throws, Ward seemed to track the ball late. He requires assistance on timing.

Mike Hughes, Central Florida

Hughes, like Ward, is a very physical cornerback. In his film, we can see his aggression play a large part in why receivers simply couldn’t break away from him. His timing is excellent, a fact only aided by his great catching ability and quickness.

Hughes did well at the combine, running a 4.53-second 40-yard dash, and showing off a 35.5-inch vertical. During the 2017 season, Hughes had 44 tackles, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions.

In contrast, Hughes simply doesn’t have the experience he needs to excel in this league. Within his one season as a starter, his film isn’t very consistent. While we see flashes of potential, his technique needs improvement.

The largest problem, however, revolves around disciplinary issues. In his first college season with UNC, Hughes was suspended due to a confrontation at a fraternity house.

Final analysis

Amongst cornerbacks, Ward is the best pick. He has the experience and the technique. The issues we see with Ward are correctable, and he is a player that would fit well into Mike Pettine’s defensive strategy.

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Jackson is a player that would also work well in Green Bay, but does require more training and experience. However, his natural athletic potential should propel him into success at the position. This draft is loaded with defensive talent, it is just a matter of finding a pick that fits in Green Bay.