Packers 2021 Draft: Asante Samuel Jr. should be first-round target

Asante Samuel Jr. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Asante Samuel Jr. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

This is a good draft class to need a cornerback. The Green Bay Packers should look to strengthen their secondary early on and they should have options in the first round.

In the NFC Championship Game defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Packers’ cornerbacks struggled, not including Jaire Alexander, who had two interceptions. Alexander had an All-Pro season but the other corners were inconsistent.

Kevin King is back on a one-year deal and that’s not a bad move. King is a talented player but is he the long-term answer at cornerback? Probably not. It’s an area the Packers should look to upgrade early in the draft.

Enter Asante Samuel Jr. out of Florida State.

Samuel could go in the first round and should be on the Packers’ radar.

A first-team All-ACC in 2020, Samuel could be a long-term starter next to Alexander, forming one of the best, young cornerback duos in the NFL.

Playing in eight games last season, Samuel was a turnover machine with three interceptions while also forcing a fumble and recovering two. Hunter Neel of With the First Pick wrote about his excellent ball skills, noting that he has “high end ability in how he addresses, tracks, and fights for the ball in the air”.

Over the past two seasons, Samuel has also been especially effective in the red zone. According to Pro Football Focus, no Power Five cornerback has allowed a lower passer rating in the red zone since 2019 than Samuel. He’s allowed a passer rating of just 23.8 over the past two seasons.

Some will point to his size or RAS score as reasons against drafting him, but I disagree. Samuel can play outside or in the slot and has the potential to be an excellent player in the NFL.

Late in the first round, Samuel could be a great pick for the Packers.