This is the seventh in a series of stories that's examining the Packers' roster, position by position, leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft. The series continues with the defensive backs.
GREEN BAY – For the first time in a few years, defensive backs are not high on the Packers' priority list entering a draft.
But if there's a perimeter-oriented position no defense "ever has enough of" in a pass-driven league, it's cornerback, so drafting one should never be considered a surprise.
The Packers have spent considerable draft resources at the position to get where they are now. The 1-2 cornerback tandem of Jaire Alexander (2018, first round, Louisville) and Kevin King ('17, second round, Washington) solidified the pass coverage last season, as Alexander led the team with 23 passes defensed and King topped the squad with five interceptions.
Even though Alexander has just three interceptions in his first two seasons, he has rising star written all over him. His combination of speed, athleticism and aggressiveness does not appear to have been maximized quite yet.
King finally stayed healthy for a full season and the Packers' defense benefited from his steady presence and matchup abilities against taller receivers. He's entering a contract year looking for his health to be reliable for a second straight season.
Take a look at photos of Packers CB Kevin King from the 2019 season.
Of the other returnees at corner, Chandon Sullivan had the largest role last season as a rotational nickel and dime defender. Cast off by the Eagles after spending his undrafted rookie season out of Georgia State in Philadelphia, Sullivan made a strong impression from the get-go in Green Bay last spring. He played in every game (including one postseason start as the third corner) and snagged his first NFL interception at Dallas.
Four other holdovers have varying outlooks on 2020.
Josh Jackson, a second-round pick in 2018 from Iowa, showed considerable promise as a rookie, but an offseason foot injury last year set him back. While others passed him on the depth chart during his injury absence, Jackson never really got his second season off the ground defensively, though he did become a mainstay on special teams. His third season will be a pivotal one.
Ka'dar Hollman was drafted in the sixth round last year out of Toledo but was active for only four games, playing mostly on special teams. Kabion Ento, undrafted out of Colorado, is a converted receiver with attractive physical tools who got hurt in training camp and ended up spending his entire rookie year on the practice squad. DaShaun Amos was signed in January after two years in the CFL.
The Packers still have one potential free-agent move at corner up their sleeve in veteran Tramon Williams. The former undrafted, self-built Pro Bowler made a productive return to Green Bay as a slot and sub-package regular for the 2018-19 seasons after three years away, and the 37-year-old entering his 14th campaign could come back yet again. It's a wait-and-see mode as he remains available.
At safety, the Packers went with an entirely new starting tandem in 2019, and the pair of veteran Adrian Amos and second-year pro Darnell Savage will look to grow together in coordinator Mike Pettine's back end.
Amos, a free-agent acquisition from Chicago, and Savage, a first-round draft pick from Maryland whom the Packers traded up to acquire, recorded two interceptions apiece and stabilized a position that had been a revolving door for several years.
A key communicator in Amos moving into a second year in Pettine's system, combined with the speedy, explosive Savage learning from some rookie mistakes, should bode well for the defense.
Raven Greene, undrafted two years ago from James Madison, began 2019 as the third safety and appeared a near-perfect fit for the hybrid inside linebacker spot in sub-packages before an ankle injury in Week 2 abruptly ended his season.
As Greene looks to pick up where he left off before needing surgery, veteran Will Redmond was re-signed for depth and to resume his role as one of the Packers' top special-teams players. A third-round pick by San Francisco in 2016, Redmond tied with linebacker Oren Burks for the team lead with nine coverage tackles a year ago.
Like Williams at corner, the Packers have one familiar option still available in free agency at safety in Ibraheim Campbell, a hybrid player in the Greene mold with extensive experience in Pettine's system. Campbell, a fourth-round pick by Cleveland in 2015, has played in 10 games for the Packers over the last two years and remains on the free-agent market.