Can Packers Draft a Ready-to-Start Cornerback?

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Casey Hayward

The obvious answer is of course that’s a possibility. The more pertinent question for the Green Bay Packers is: what are the probabilities of drafting a cornerback who can significantly aid the team this year?

I went back to 2010, and looked at rookie cornerbacks who were named to the All-Rookie team by Gil Brandt of NFL.com or, when they did not coincide, by the Pro Football Writers Association. Here’s the list (draft = overall draft selection, honors include second-team All-Pro selections):

YearDraftPlayerTeamOther NFL Honors
20107Joe HadenBrownsAll-Pro, 2 Pro Bowls
201027Devin McCourtyPatriots3 All-Pros, 2 Pro Bowls
20115Patrick PetersonCardinals3 All-Pros, 6 Pro Bowls
2011154Richard ShermanSeahawks4 All-Pros, 4 Pro Bowls
201262Casey HaywardPackers1 All-Pro, 1 Pro Bowl
20126Morris ClaiborneCowboys
201239Janoris JenkinsRams1 All-Pro, 1 Pro Bowl
201322Desmond TrufantFalcons1 Pro Bowl
201343Johnthan BanksBuccaneers
201369Tyrann MathieuCardinals1 All-Pro, 1 Pro Bowl
201414Kyle FullerBears
2014102Bashaud BreelandRedskins
2014188E.J. GainesRams
201518Marcus PetersChiefs2 All-Pro, 2 Pro Bowl
201551Ronald DarbyBillsPFF Def. Rookie of the Year
20165Jalen RamseyJaguars
201611Vernon HargreavesBuccaneers

Comments

The list consists of nine first-rounders, four second-rounders, one third-rounder and three others. Bear in mind that in a typical year, four to five cornerbacks are drafted in the first round.

I would therefore say that the probability is low that a first-round cornerback will be able to hold his own on the field in 2017 – as a rookie. Worse for the Packers, all nine of the above first-round picks were chosen prior to when the Packers get to choose this year, at overall pick number 29.

If the Packers don’t pick a cornerback in the first round and instead wait until the second round, the prospects for help from a rookie all but disappear. The Packers did once defy those odds though, when they selected Vanderbilt’s Casey Hayward in 2012.

This is not to say you can’t get a quality cornerback in round one or even round two, but I’m confining myself here to someone who can help right away, not as he develops. For example, Xavier Rhodes (25th pick in 2013) has developed into a fine cornerback for the Vikings. Stephon Gilmore (10th pick in 2012) just signed with the Patriots at $13 million per year. Dre Kirkpatrick (17th pick in 2012) just re-signed with the Bengals at $52.5 million for five years.

To wait until after the first round for the kind of cornerback the Packers desperately need is to be hoping to get lucky.

What this adds up to is that the odds are poor the Packers will fill their foremost need in the upcoming draft. An exception would be if the Packers could move up in the draft to the middle of the first round, which they should attempt to do.

There’s an even better option: acquiring a proven NFL cornerback via a free agent signing or a trade. The Packers missed out on most of these opportunities, but not all. The pickings are slim, but it only takes one player.

About The Author

Rob is currently twiddling his thumbs on Whidbey Island in Washington. He likes to do research, although he has no shortage of opinions. He saw his first live Packers game in 1958, the only win of the year.

16 Comments on "Can Packers Draft a Ready-to-Start Cornerback?"

  1. Kato

    Nope. They may not even draft a CB in round 1, which is amazing given how bad that position group was last year. It speaks volumes to the other gaping holes this team has at pass rusher, RB, G, and even DL.

  2. MarkHansen

    Yes, let’s pay a “proven veteran” who is mediocre or worse(because that’s all that’s available)way too much money. Oh, and NOT get better! The sky is always falling with this crowd. You’re like the lady that comes in after the first day of a remodel project and asks “is this how it’s going to look? I don’t like it!” Stop making judgements before our team is complete!

    • MMTTDCSUCK

      We are not the “Sky is always falling” crowd. We expect more from this team with a QB1 like Rodgers. Which is something that most homers do not understand. If you do not push or expect greatness you welcome mediocrity and become part of the machine willingly . . .

  3. If TT drafted a corner in the first round that would show Randall and Rollins were mistakes. TT will not admit the 2015 mistake(s). TT will not draft a CB in the first round and maybe even the second. There will be no ready to start corners available at pick 29. I would guess maybe Witherspoon in the second. He can cover but is shit in run support, so his run support will fit right in with the other corners.

    Pass rusher in the first round unless someone really drops at another position.

      • I know GB needs a corner or two. They just aren’t going to get a ready to start corner at pick 29. Isn’t Sydney Jones out this year with an Achilles tear? How would he help this year to replace Shields?

  4. Big B

    Nice research- looks like the odds are 2-3 starters per draft, which aren’t very good odds. Particularly since I suspect TT will not go CB in the first round, believing Randall and Rollins will “develop.” # of roster holes >>
    # of expected starters from the draft.

    • Kato

      How do you figure? This simply lists the guys that got all rookie honors. Doesn’t mean that there weren’t other rookies that didn’t start and play well

  5. Cheese

    Watch the Packers let Randall walk after his rookie contract and have another team pick him up to play his natural position, safety. Then make the pro bowl like Hayward.

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