Late Round 1: DeAndre Baker, Georgia or Byron Murphy, Washington
These players become an option if the Packers feel as if pick number 12 should be designated to drafting the best player available, or if a hole at another position is more dire to fill. In that case, cornerbacks DeAndre Baker and Byron Murphy are your guys.
Both cornerbacks’ stock has been trending up recently. The gap between these players and Greedy Williams has started to become slimmer and slimmer as more analysis on film is conducted.
DeAndre Baker was a solid cornerback for the University of Georgia this past season, tallying 40 total tackles, two interceptions, and nine passes defended. Baker is great in man coverage, has a high football IQ, and is a very physical cornerback.
One reason why he falls a little lower than a player of his caliber could land would be because he is a little shorter than most corners. Baker is 5-foot-11, but as we’ve seen with Jaire Alexander, the Packers have no problem drafting corners that might be on the shorter side, and that it isn’t something that can halt your success in the NFL.
Based on how many teams have a need at cornerback, Baker may not be on the board when the Packers pick at 30. However, if the Packers do feel as if the pick 30 should be designated to the position, then cornerback Byron Murphy is an excellent alternative.
Many expected the University of Washington cornerback to make a major jump in performance in his second year, and he didn’t let them down. This past season, Murphy had 58 total tackles, four interceptions, and 13 passes defended.
He should be a serious consideration at pick 30 solely because of how quickly he’s improved. You can see that just by looking at his stats from freshman year (16 total tackles, two interceptions, and seven passes defended) and comparing them to the numbers he put up last year.
Concerns that might get him drafted after cornerbacks like Baker and Williams would primarily be about him only starting in 20 games, but that shouldn’t hold him back too much as his film continues to propel him up draft boards.
All in all, both players should relieve the Packers of any concerns they have about the position, and would allow them to be flexible with the 12th pick. With the potential they have, a few years in the league could transform them into top-tier NFL cornerbacks.