Let’s add this up real quick.
The Green Bay Packers drafted cornerback Casey Hayward in the second round of the draft. They already have Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and Charles Woodson.
They don’t have safety Nick Collins, who they released last week. Woodson is 35 and probably has lost a step, although even a step slower, he’s still better than 90 percent of the cornerbacks in the NFL. Charlie Peprah, who filled in for Collins last season, has not played well.
Although the Packers won’t say it, this all adds up to Woodson playing safety.
The team needs an improvement over Peprah, who was responsible for more than his share of miscommunications in the secondary in 2011. They now have the cornerback depth to move Woodson.
Does Woodson want to switch positions? Probably not, but he is playing his share of safety already.
“Charles has played so many different places for us that we just feel that he’s played corner, nickel, dime, safety, wherever we’ve wanted Charles to play, he’s played,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “Our experience with Charles is Charles is a bright guy.
“It’s not like it would be a radical move because of the way we’ve used him in the last three years, basically. We feel he can play any one of those positions. That’s one of the things he brings to the table is the flexibility that he gives you. That could potentially change from week to week. It has up to this point in time. You’ve watched us play him at a number of different positions. Many times who you’re playing that week and your game plan dictates that.”
So the Packers are already on record as saying they’ll play Woodson at safety. The question is how they make it a full-time move.
Our money says they ease him into it during training camp and suddenly, surprise! Everyone will realize Woodson is playing more safety than cornerback, although the Packers will tell you he’s still a cornerback.
Given their current personnel, the move only makes sense and there’s an obvious precedent. Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Rod Woodson was moved to safety by Baltimore when he was 34. He played the last five seasons of his career there, earning four Pro Bowl berths and one first-team All Pro.
He led the league in interceptions twice as a free safety. He totaled 24 picks in those five seasons and scored five touchdowns.