It’s only OTAs, but Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy made an interesting comment today just after I was done questioning the team’s cornerbacks.
McCarthy told reporters cornerback Brandon Underwood, a sixth-round pick out of Cincinnati in 2009, has made the biggest jump from year one to year two.
Now, we don’t want to read too much into this because, let’s face it, linebacker Jeremy Thompson was killing it in OTAs last year and then came back to earth during training camp and couldn’t get on the field during the regular season. He’s since retired because of a serious neck injury.
However, this is reason for optimism. If Underwood shows real improvement, he could move into the Packers’ top four at his position, displacing the dreadful, horrible, how-does-this-guy-even-have-a-job Jarrett Bush.
“I think (Underwood) has really matured in the weight room. He looks very good right now,” McCarthy said. “I know we’re only practicing in shorts and helmets, but I think Brandon Underwood is off to an outstanding spring so far. I’ve been very pleased with what he has shown on film.”
The biggest knock on Underwood coming out of college was his strength. Although he was an All-Big East performer and played both cornerback and safety his senior season, Underwood fell to the sixth round largely because he was considered too wiry and and a weak tackler.
While he showed improvement throughout his rookie campaign, Underwood looked overmatched much of last season. Obviously, he made addressing those deficiencies a priority this offseason.
We won’t really know whether Underwood is ready to move up the depth chart until the pads go on, but at least there’s hope the Packers can finally be rid of the scourge known as Jarrett Bush.