While the Green Bay Packers’ top two draft picks are important to fixing the cornerback position, the signing of Tramon Williams could be just as key this year.
New general manager Brian Gutekunst used his top two picks on the position, selecting Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson, two players many analysts believed were among the top three corners in the class.
While the Packers will be hoping this duo are the future, Tramon Williams is very much the present. The 35-year-old returns to Green Bay on a two-year, $10 million deal. The Packers also re-signed Davon House, who, along with Williams, played a part in Green Bay’s excellent 2014 season that saw the team fall a game short of the Super Bowl.
Forget about Williams’ age. He proved in Arizona last year he can still play. Is he still in his athletic prime? No. But he doesn’t need to be. Williams is an experienced, talented corner who can still play at a high level. The fact he already has experience playing in Mike Pettine’s defense is a bonus.
Williams will become a leader of the secondary. That’s so important. In the past few years the defensive backfield has lost a lot of experience. Williams was one of those players they missed after he departed following the 2014 season. Green Bay has since watched Morgan Burnett, Sam Shields and Casey Hayward all leave.
Williams will not only provide steady, reliable performances at corner, but he will also help the young players develop. We can’t expect Alexander or Jackson to become immediate superstars in the NFL. Second-year Kevin King, too, is still early in his career. Williams will be able to help all three of these young corners improve.
A lack of experience has hurt the Packers deep in the playoffs before. Remember Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s mistake in the NFC Championship Game at Seattle? He had played well all season, but he was a rookie and made a mistake. It happens. Damarious Randall’s blown coverage hurt the Packers in Arizona a year later.
Williams’ experience could prove to be key if the Packers make a playoff run in 2018.
Alexander and Jackson will have important roles to play, and they are certainly the future at cornerback. But Williams’ arrival is exactly what the Packers need in the short term.