Green Bay Packers

Javon Bullard Could Have Green Bay’s Defense Partying Like It’s 2019

Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman via USA TODA Sports

Since arriving in Green Bay after the NFL draft, Javon Bullard has done nothing but impress his future coaches and teammates during offseason OTAs. Bullard was the 58th-overall pick and the 26th selection of the second round. He joins fellow newcomers Xavier McKinney, Evan Williams, and Kitan Oladapo in the safety group.

Eric Stokes said that Javon is a “savage.”

Stokes and Bullard played at Georgia and have gotten to know each other well this offseason. Bullard wears No. 20 and Stokes wears No. 21, so their lockers are right next to each other. That allows Stokes to give Bullard some guidance and mentorship to improve his game and the secondary.

“That’s my locker buddy. Me and E go way back, even before I got here. It’s funny how God works,” Bullard stated. “He’s helped me tremendously, on and off the field. That’s my guy.”

Stokes is not the only player who has been keeping an eye on Bullard. Xavier McKinney is in the same position group, and he has been helping Bullard learn the NFL game while also learning from Bullard.

McKinney is helping Bullard approach football as a profession.

“Make sure that everything you do is pro-like. We do similar styles in how we think and how we diagnose the field,” Bullard said. “My biggest thing was recovery, the way that he takes care of his body.”

Bullard has been gaining information from teammates on how to be the best version of himself, both on and off the field. But it’s not just the players helping Bullard and praising him. The coaching staff has raved about him over the past week. New defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley gushes about Bullard. Hafley is impressed by his physicality and admires how he covers, hits, and blitzes.

“Just loved his tape, loved the way he played,” Hafley stated. “He’s a physical guy. He can run, he can cover, [Bullard] can play deep, he can play in the slot, he can blitz. He’s bigger when you see him.”

Bullard has a versatile skillset. Many people saw him make amazing coverage plays against TCU in the 2023 National Championship. We have seen him lay out opposing receivers, hitting them hard but cleanly with his shoulder.

We have also seen him come up to the line of scrimmage and blitz sack the quarterback. He is a Swiss army knife football player who can do many different things on the defense.

“He’s a sharp guy. His ability to learn and process in those two days [of minicamp] was impressive,” Hafley told reporters. “You get a guy who can play that fast and can take what he learned in the meeting room and bring it out to the field, and he’s got a chance.”

Bullard should secure the starting safety role opposite Xavier McKinney if he keeps practicing well and using what the coaches teach him. If he does, then it will be huge for the position group.

The safeties have been the weakest link in Green Bay’s secondary ever since they got rid of Adrian Amos. Darnell Savage and Keisean Nixon are decent in coverage but not elite. Savage made many coverage mistakes throughout the season, and Nixon is a better kick returner than a defensive back.

The addition of Xavier McKinney definitely boosted the safety unit. Adding Bullard also complements McKinney because he has another elite safety they can train and rely on.

Even though Bullard is skilled, he will still be a rookie, and rookies are prone to make mistakes throughout the season. There will be some growing pains, but there will also be many opportunities for him to develop.

Don’t expect Bullard to completely shut down the opposing passing game. McKinney might be able to do it, but Bullard has much to learn. He might make a coverage mistake and give up a big catch, but that will allow him to become a better football player.

The 2024 could have some interesting parallels to the 2019 unit. Green Bay’s new free-agent signings in that year (Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, and Adrian Amos) started well, then slowed down a little bit toward the end of the season. Expect something similar this year because opposing offenses have no idea what scheme Hafley will run or how these new guys will perform against them. If Bullard stands out, the defense could be scary, like it was in 2019.

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