Packers 2018 Draft: Cornerback rankings, Day 2 CB options


Cornerbacks that could interest the Green Bay Packers in the 2018 NFL Draft.

After the Green Bay Packers dealt former first-round pick Damarious Randall to the Browns for DeShone Kizer, the Packers are left even more thin at one of their already weakest position groups, if not their absolute weakest.

Obviously, this will not be same group of cornerbacks going into the season, moves have to be made in the free agency and through the draft to revamp this position group.

While many Packers fans are losing their minds over this trade, they have to realize that management would not create such a hole without having some kind of plan in place to strengthen this position group.

In my opinion, a veteran corner is most definitely needed through free agency or via trade, and they cannot rely on taking a corner with the 14th overall pick and throwing them into the fire with other young cornerbacks.

Even before the Packers traded Randall to the Browns, it was looking like at least a couple of picks would have to be spent on defensive backs. Now, with Randall gone, and most likely Morgan Burnett too, most assuredly a few draft picks will be spent on defensive backs.

While there are still some quality free agent cornerbacks left available, many of the big names, such as Trumaine Johnson, Malcom Butler, and Aaron Colvin, are already off the market.

One major plus for the Packers this offseason, is their league-leading 12 draft selections. With, what seems to be, a very deep defensive back class, the Packers should be able to add some quality pieces to their defensive backfield in the 2018 draft.

2018 Draft Cornerback Rankings

  1. Denzel Ward (OSU)
  2. Mike Hughes (UCF)
  3. Josh Jackson (Iowa)
  4. Jaire Alexander (Louisville)
  5. M.J. Stewart (UNC)
  6. Donte Jackson (LSU)
  7. Isaiah Oliver (Colo)
  8. Duke Dawson (Florida)
  9. Greg Stroman (VT)
  10. Carlton Davis (Aub)
  11. Nick Nelson (Wis)
  12. D.J. Reed (Kansas St.)
  13. Holton Hill (Texas)
  14. Kameron Kelly (SDSU)
  15. Anthony Averett (Bama)
  16. Quenton Meeks (Stan)
  17. Parry Nickerson (Tulane)
  18. Levi Wallace (Bama)
  19. Darius Phillips (WMU)
  20. Danny Johnson (Southern)

Denzel Ward is the clear-cut No. 1 cornerback in the 2018 draft to me. Many people talk about Josh Jackson, but he lacks the physicality and tackling skills that Ward and Mike Hughes bring to the game. If Ward is still available at pick No. 14, I would imagine he would be a lock to be picked by the Packers, but that’s a major “if”.

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Hughes, a player I love in this draft, could certainly be a choice here, but this may be a little too high for him. And in all honesty, I don’t know if Jackson is worth a pick that high.

With the amount of picks in the Packers’ arsenal, and with how deep of a cornerback class this is, they should have many chances to select players that can provide them with some quality depth at the position.

If the Packers decide to take a different route with the 14th overall pick, such as taking a pass rusher, then there are a few players that could still be available at pick 46 who could help out at the cornerback position immediately.

Here are some of the players that interest me:

Jaire Alexander, Louisville (5-foot-11, 192 pounds)

Alexander has sensational speed (4.38 40-yard dash), elite athleticism and quickness, and great instincts. He possesses good ball skills and very easily could become a playmaker. He is a multi-dimensional player, as he is good in both man and zone coverage, he is a willing tackler against the run, and he adds value on special teams as a returner.

Possibly his biggest downfall is that he spent half of the 2017 season injured, which begs the question if he is resilient enough to stay on the field in the NFL, and an oft-injured player is the last thing the Packers need on their team, after being decimated by injuries year after year.

M.J. Stewart, UNC (6-foot, 200 pounds)

This could be an unpopular opinion to some people, but Stewart is an all round solid player that I would absolutely use a second-round pick on. He was very productive in college with 199 tackles, six interceptions, and 41 passes defended.

He is the kind of player that could be used all over the secondary, he could lineup at corner or safety, and could play in the slot or on the outside. He is one of the best tackling corners in the entire draft. He is also a player that I could envision being a special teams all-star. Stewart is one of my favorite players in the 2018 draft.

Donte Jackson, LSU (5-foot-11, 175 pounds)

Jackson has elite speed (4.32 40-yard dash), in high school he was the 100 and 200 meter Louisiana 4A state champion in his junior and senior year, while also winning conference titles at LSU in track.

He has one of the smaller frames among cornerbacks in the class, but he plays much bigger than his size. He is a willing tackler who will sometimes lay down a big hit. Due to his speed and man coverage skills, he will be able to stick with almost any receiver he matches up with.

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The question surrounding Jackson is whether he can hang with the big physical wide receivers in the NFL or not. In college many of the bigger receivers had their way pushing Jackson around.

There should be loads of talent at the cornerback position for teams to select in the middle rounds. There are a few players that I would love to see in a Packers uniform, and that I believe could help turn the secondary around.

Duke Dawson, Florida (5-foot-10, 208 pounds)

While watching film of Dawson, I couldn’t believe that this guy isn’t getting more hype than he is right now. He looks like a second-round talent to me, but with the amount of depth available at the cornerback position in this draft, he may drop into the middle rounds, and he would certainly be worth a third-round pick if still available when the Packers pick at 76.

He is a player that got better each year in college and finished his college career with, by far, his best season at Florida. He is a physical corner, who is an asset in man coverage, zone coverage, and in run support. He is a very instinctive player with impressive ball skills.

One area of concern for some scouts, is whether he is long enough to compete for balls with lengthier wide receivers in the NFL.

Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech (6-foot, 180 pounds)

Stroman is a player that isn’t being talked about much, but could be a sleeper pick for the team that lands him. A major plus for him is that he can contribute both on defense and on special teams. While at Virginia Tech, he served as their punt returner, and he was a very good one at that. He returned four punts for touchdowns.

On defense, Stroman made some freakish interceptions, showing off his awesome ball skills and very good hands for a defensive back. He also managed to get his hands on a lot of balls, due to his tight man coverage and solid footwork.

The biggest knock on Stroman is that he may need to add some weight to his frame, he is very slender, and this could lead to frequent injuries in the NFL game.

Nick Nelson, Wisconsin (5-foot-11, 208 pounds)

The homer Badger fans are going to love this one. Nelson had an extremely impressive 21 pass breakups in 2017, while notching zero interceptions, which happens to be Nelson’s biggest concern heading into the NFL.

He did his best to silence the critics at the combine by catching every pass thrown his way, but scouts are concerned that he got his hands on so many balls in 2017 without intercepting any of those passes.

He plays tight and physical coverage, evidenced by his many pass breakups. He is another cornerback who can help in run support and does not shy away from contact. According to his coaches, he has sensational practice habits and work ethic. One area I would like to see Nelson improve on in the NFL is being more physical at the line of scrimmage and possibly knocking the receiver off of their route or delaying their route altogether.

This draft should provide cornerback talent even into the sixth and seventh rounds. One guy I would like to see in the late rounds is Darius Phillips, a Western Michigan Bronco, who had an extremely productive three years of college (127 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, two sacks, 12 interceptions, five touchdowns, 35 passes defended, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries).

He is a very athletic, but very raw player at cornerback, who could really turn into a great player with the right coaching.

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I don’t know how far he will drop in the draft, but Parry Nickerson (Tulane), is another player that entices me later on. He is one of the fastest players in this entire draft (4.32 40-yard dash), has good ball skills, great recovery speed, very disruptive hands in coverage, and never gives up on plays. Nickerson could end up being one of the biggest steals in the 2018 draft.