Pipkins was an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State in 2017 who made the 53-man roster due to an impressive training camp and preseason. He played on special teams in 12 regular season games and received extended action on defense in three games in particular: at Minnesota in Week 5, vs. Minnesota in Week 16, and at Detroit in Week 17 (a game he started).
Pipkins impressed when he made his way onto the field on defense. He was generally sound in coverage (logging a pass deflection in Week 17) and also displayed an eagerness to tackle in run support. At 6-feet tall and with adequate speed, he has the physical tools needed to succeed in coverage.
Little is set in stone in the Packers’ cornerback room. Right now, it seems likely that Tramon Williams and Kevin King will start on the outside, and Jaire Alexander may have an inside track on the nickel job. Josh Jackson is also a lock for a roster spot.
After those three, Pipkins will be competing with the blazing fast Josh Hawkins, veteran Davon House, and 2015 second round pick Quinten Rollins for a roster spot. Special teams regular Demetri Goodson remains on the roster too, and Herb Waters and Donatello Brown will also be in the mix.
If Pipkins continues his progress from the end of 2017, he should make a positive first impression on Mike Pettine. It’s unclear how willing Pettine will be to play Alexander and Jackson immediately, but the Packers historically have been cautious to start rookies at the beginning of the season.
Pipkins has an opportunity to not only make the team, but to be a regular contributor on defense, perhaps as the fourth corner or even the third. But with the influx of new faces in Williams, Alexander, and Jackson, he’ll need to continue improving in coverage this preseason.