Matt LaFleur's comments about Carrington Valentine bad news for first-round pick

Green Bay Packers cornerback Carrington Valentine
Green Bay Packers cornerback Carrington Valentine / Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Many of us were surprised by the Green Bay Packers' decision not to draft a cornerback in the early rounds. It seemed like a risky move, considering their recent injury issues and apparent lack of depth at the position.

Maybe the Packers were right.

Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Carrington Valentine are the top three on the outside, with Keisean Nixon starting in the slot. This offseason, they added depth by drafting Kalen King in the seventh round and improved their slot options with Javon Bullard and Evan Williams.

Staying healthy is the key for Alexander and Stokes, who have both missed significant time over the past three seasons.

But don't forget about Valentine. Matt LaFleur's recent comments may have given us a clue about the depth chart.

Eric Stokes may not win back starting job from Carrington Valentine in Packers secondary

Many assumed a healthy Stokes would immediately resume his role as a starter on the outside opposite Alexander. But maybe we need to rethink it. Stokes is healthy and has reportedly looked good this offseason, but LaFleur had high praise for Valentine, who is entering his second year.

LaFleur went out of his way to praise Valentine, which seems to suggest he has a great chance to land a starting job ahead of Stokes this summer.

It makes sense. Valentine played well enough last season for the Packers to feel comfortable trading Rasul Douglas. They wanted to give their seventh-round pick more opportunities. And he made the most of it. Per Pro Football Reference, Valentine allowed a completion percentage of just 57.6 and a passer rating of 84.8. He broke up nine passes in the regular season.

One of Valentine's best games came in the playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys. He regularly covered All-Pro wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and dominated the matchup.

Based on the offseason workout program, it sounds like Valentine's impressive rookie season was no fluke. He has continued to put in good performances throughout OTAs and minicamp, and it could be enough to retain a starting job ahead of Stokes, a former first-rounder.

If Valentine and Stokes are healthy and playing at a high level, it's hardly a problem for the Packers. You can never have enough talent at corner.

Maybe the Packers were right to have such high confidence in their cornerback depth after the draft.

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