On Now
Coming Up
  • Tue., Sep. 02, 2014 11:30 AM - 11:45 AM CDT Live McCarthy press conf. Head Coach Mike McCarthy will be available to the media in the Lambeau Field media auditorium.
  • Thu., Sep. 04, 2014 7:30 PM - 10:30 PM CDT Packers at Seattle Seahawks Packers at Seattle Seahawks
  • Fri., Sep. 05, 2014 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CDT Jared Abbrederis appearance Packers WR Jared Abbrederis is scheduled to make an appearance at PBIS Sunrise School in Appleton, Wis., on Friday, September 5, from 2-3 p.m.
  • Tue., Sep. 09, 2014 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM CDT Brandon Bostick appearance Brandon Bostick is scheduled to appear at Walmart (located at 2440 W. Mason Street, Green Bay) on Tuesday, September 9, from 5-7 p.m.
  • Sun., Sep. 14, 2014 11:25 AM - 3:25 PM CDT Coats for Kids collection The Salvation Army will be collecting new and gently used winter coats as well as cash donations in the parking lot and at each of Lambeau Field’s gates.
  • Sun., Sep. 14, 2014 3:25 PM - 6:30 PM CDT Packers vs. New York Jets Packers vs. New York Jets

News

Print
RSS

Great year for safeties; depth at cornerback

Posted Apr 8, 2013

Packers have drafted well at defensive back

Texas S Kenny Vaccaro

GREEN BAY—One of the best safety crops in years highlights a class of defensive backs that offers starter-quality cornerbacks outside the first round.

“Very deep, solid at the top, good depth in the second and third rounds,” is how draft guru Tony Pauline describes the class of safeties in this year’s NFL draft. Pauline puts Kenny Vaccaro of Texas, Matt Elam of Florida and Eric Reid of LSU at the top of the class.

“Kenny Vaccaro was a terrific player for three years. Put him in centerfield, over the slot receiver; he has a well-rounded game,” Pauline said.

A big part of Vaccaro’s rise up boards is his cornerback-like coverage ability. It’s a good defense against a no-huddle offense trying to trap a defense into mismatches.

“Matt Elam is the same as Vaccaro except Elam doesn’t have Vaccaro’s size. Eric Reid is more of a zone safety. He’s a big hitter; more of an in-the-box kind of guy. You won’t put him over a slot receiver,” Pauline said.

As many as a dozen safeties might be selected in the first three rounds. Pauline likes Earl Wolff of N.C. State as a mid-rounds pick.

“He doesn’t have great size, doesn’t run a great 40, but he’s a real good football player,” Pauline said.

Sleeper? Pauline likes Richmond’s Cooper Taylor, a seventh round/free agent type of prospect. Taylor, 6-4, 224, “runs under 4.5. He’s a safety in a linebacker’s body, but he can get outside the numbers and make plays. He could develop into a starter down the road,” Pauline said.

The crop of cornerbacks isn’t as star-studded at the top as it has been in recent years, “but it’s a deep group with a lot of players with starting potential in the second and third rounds,” according to Pauline.

Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes and Washington’s Desmond Trufant are the first-rounders in a class that is deepest in talent in the second and third rounds.

“Jamar Taylor of Boise State and Darius Slay of Mississippi State are making big moves up boards,” said Pauline, who is especially fond of UConn’s Blidi Wreh-Wilson, a “second-round prospect that could sneak into the late part of the first round.

“He has tremendous size and speed numbers; great pro day. He struggled with injuries the last two years. Go back to his sophomore film and he was a dominant shutdown corner,” Pauline said.

Opponents seldom tested Wreh-Wilson, which exposed teammate Dwayne Gratz and Gratz responded well enough to have pushed himself into the second or third round. Both UConn corners performed well at the Senior Bowl.

San Diego State’s Leon McFadden was a standout in practices at the Senior Bowl and McFadden appears destined for a mid-rounds pick.

The Packers have drafted well for defensive backs in recent years, having created a stockpile of young defenders such as Morgan Burnett, Casey Hayward, Davon House and Jerron McMillian. Sam Shields and M.D. Jennings came to the team in undrafted free agency.

Additional draft previews
 
blog comments powered by Disqus

You May Also Be Interested in...

Recent Videos

  • Marshawn Lynch to test Packers' run defense

    (1:03) Posted 13 hours ago

    Hear from Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy and Linebackers A.J. Hawk, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers as they talk about stopping Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.

  • Packers defense wants to get after Russell Wilson

    (1:47) Posted 13 hours ago

    Hear from Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy, LB A.J. Hawk, LB Clay Matthews, CB Tramon Williams, DT Josh Boyd, and LB Julius Peppers as they talk about preparing for the crowd noise in Seattle.

  • Defense's expectations are sky high for Week 1

    (1:55) Posted 14 hours ago

    Hear from Green Bay Packers LB A.J. Hawk, CB Tramon Williams, DT Letroy Guion, and LB Julius Peppers as they talk about preparing for the Week 1's kickoff game in Seattle.