Carrington Valentine: The next great Packers cornerback?

Valentine's Day came early in Green Bay.
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers / John Fisher/GettyImages

Following the NFL trade deadline, the Green Bay Packers had a hole to fill on defense. Trading Rasul Douglas and a fifth-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for a third-rounder forced the Packers to throw 2023 seventh-round pick rookie Carrington Valentine into the starting lineup.

Valentine made the best of his opportunity.

One thing stood out on the defensive side of the ball in the Packers' win over the Los Angeles Rams. Valentine was flying all over the field, disrupting passes, and making huge tackles in key moments.

The numbers behind Carrington Valentine's breakout performance for Packers

According to Pro Football Focus, Valentine was targeted eight times in coverage, allowing only one completion for 14 yards. He broke up three passes and allowed a quarterback rating of 39.6. That's equivalent to the opposing quarterback throwing the ball in the dirt every play -- a pretty good way for the rookie cornerback to break out in the NFL.

Valentine allowed zero completions to star receivers Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp, which is even more impressive. Valentine put in one of the best individual defensive performances we have seen on the Packers this season.

All-Pro teammate Jaire Alexander is excited to see how Valentine builds on his breakout game.

"37 played like a top-tier corner in the league, and it's exciting to see," Alexander said. "And he'll continue to do that, because that's his standard now. He's young -- we've seen it in camp -- he's young, he's hungry, he wants to make plays. He wants to be the best. And I can't be more happy to play alongside somebody like that."

If Valentine can continue to blossom during the second half of the season, it will be a huge boost to the Packers defense. In a season that may not end in the playoffs, it gives the players on the team something to be excited for: the development of potentially the next great Packers cornerback.

Following a key pass breakup on a pass intended for Puka Nacua, Valentine gave the Rams wideout a "Dikembe finger wag" to emphasize that he has arrived in the NFL.

"I'm here. Honestly. I watch film. I know what it is, and I'm here. I'm here to compete. He (Puka Nacua) had a lot of hype coming into the game, and I took the challenge," Valentine said on guarding Nacua.

It will be interesting to see how Valentine can build upon his breakout game. The Packers travel to Pittsburgh this week to take on the Steelers, who have a couple of star pass-catchers themselves.

With players like George Pickens and Diontae Johnson, Valentine will have to keep his momentum rolling to stop the Steelers this coming Sunday, and he believes he can and will.

More Packers news and analysis