The Green Bay Packers will draft at No. 29 this year and might have up to 10 picks from previous draft day trades and compensatory picks.
Will they keep all 10? Not likely. Plan on them spending draft capital to move up and down the board.
Green Bay has some salary cap issues to address this offseason, so multiple players will need to be released and several free agents won’t be able to be re-signed. That probably includes cornerback Kevin King.
This means that the Packers will need to depend on the draft and veteran minimum free agents for some solid depth to cover receivers. Jaire Alexander is maybe the best cornerback in the NFL, but you still need another player to cover the other side of the field. Here are a few options that Green Bay could consider in the first few rounds of the draft:
Asante Samuel Jr. (Junior, Florida State)
Samuel may be one of the shortest cornerbacks in the draft at 5’10”, but he still had a great 2020 season and is ranked as the third-highest choice for his position. He is estimated to go around pick 40.
Green Bay will have pick 58 in the second round, and they could easily trade up. He isn’t likely to drop that far, but if teams desperately need an immediate impact corner like the Packers do, players like Caleb Farley out of Virginia Tech or Patrick Surtain II out of Alabama are expected to go in the first round.
Over eight games during the 2020 season, Samuel had 30 tackles and three interceptions. His first two came in the first game, and even had 74 total yards from those two picks. He also had a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and six defended passes.
In 2019 he had 48 total tackles, one interception, and 14 passes defended over 12 games.
If the Florida native sounds familiar, that’s because he is the son of former cornerback Asante Samuel. Samuel played with the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, and Atlanta Falcons between 2003 and 2013. He was a two-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Pro Bowler, and first-team All-Pro in 2007.
Unless the Packers trade up for him, I don’t see him dropping that far.
Shaun Wade (Junior, Ohio State)
Wade could possibly drop to Green Bay, but they may also need trade up for him if they really want him. He is expected to go between picks 45 and 50.
Badger fans usually don’t want anything to do with Ohio State, but would probably make an exception if he helped the Packers get to a Super Bowl next year.
Wade, like Samuel, is a Florida native and comes in at 6’1”, 195 lbs. Over his three years, he had 76 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and six interceptions. Wade returned one of those picks for a touchdown last year.
Before college, Wade won the USA Today High School Football Play of the Year his senior season, and won the Lockhead Martin defensive back of year by the U.S. Army All-American bowl.
During his time at Ohio State, there was talk that he might be best suited in the nickel, as a third safety-type player or playing mostly zone. That might not work for what the Packers need, but depth in the secondary is never a bad thing.
He might not be the shutdown corner they want, but his ceiling is potentially very high.
Tyson Campbell (Junior, Georgia)
Apparently the only good college cornerbacks grew up in Florida. Campbell is expected to go at around pick 55, and it would be ideal if he dropped to the Packers in the second round.
The 6’2” defensive back had just one interception over his three years but only played in a combined 17 games the last two seasons. He suffered a concussion and had turf toe during the 2019 season, but recorded an impressive 86 tackles along with one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and nine passes defended.
Campbell was a five-star recruit out of high school and ranked the second best cornerback in the nation. No. 1? His high school teammate Patrick Surtain II, who is also in this year’s draft and should go early in the first round.
Tyson will turn 21 years old right before this year’s draft. What better way to celebrate than by coming to Green Bay?
Out of the three options listed above, he seems the most likely and might be the best choice. He has the height, has solid tackling ability, and played alongside one of the best cornerbacks in college football. His raw talent matched up with Alexander could help him develop into a solid No. 2 corner for the Packers.
Will Any Be Available?
They may not be able to draft any of the corners listed above. All or none of them could easily be picked before the Packers get to draft in the second round. Green Bay might also trade up and grab someone like Surtain II or Farley in the first round. The only thing that would keep them from it is that there are a lot of solid linebackers to choose from as well.
And since free agents are almost out of the question this year for the Packers, they will need to draft a solid cornerback, a few linebackers, a wide receiver, and some offensive line depth if they want to position themselves as an NFC contender again. Let’s hope one these three corners will be on the roster come training camp. But with 10 possible picks, they also can find value in the later rounds.