Green Bay Packers

Kitan Oladapo Is the Ideal Fit For Green Bay's Bullet Position

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In 2019, Jeff Hafley joined Ohio State’s coaching staff as co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach. He set out to reinvent Ohio State’s defense after a dismal 2018 season. Their defense was historically bad the previous year, allowing over 400 yards per game.

The coaching staff made Ohio State’s defense more versatile by introducing the “Bullet” position. This hybrid role is similar to Michigan’s “Viper,” where they used Jabrill Peppers and Khaleke Hudson. It’s akin to how the Buckeyes utilized Darron Lee in 2014 and 2015, combining the responsibilities of an outside linebacker and a safety. The Bullet player alternates between coverage duties like a safety and playing in the box like a linebacker.

Former Ohio State linebackers coach and current Notre Dame defensive run game coordinator and defensive line coach Al Washington discussed the origin of the Bullet position five years ago:

The origin of that position was to take a safety who may not be as fast and plug him in there. But now, historically, that guy can rush the passer. Not every safety can do that. He must play at the line of scrimmage and use his hands. Not every safety can do that. He must play man coverage and in the slot. Not every linebacker can do that.

In 2019, Ohio State’s defense performed at an elite level. That year, they were the top-ranked team in the country in overall defense, run defense, pass rush, and coverage. Additionally, according to Pro Football Focus, they were the second-best team in the nation in tackling, trailing only the Michigan Wolverines.

If Hafley implements the Bullet position in Green Bay’s defense, Kitan Oladapo could be the perfect fit. The Packers selected Oladapo in the fifth round of the 2024 draft, and his versatility and skillset make him an ideal candidate for this hybrid role.

Oladapo lined up in the box for 263 snaps at Oregon State last year. Additionally, he played 257 snaps as a slot corner, 168 as a free safety, 25 on the defensive line, and 15 as a wide corner. He recorded PFF grades above 82.4 in overall defense, run defense, and coverage. Tied for first on his team in pass breakups, he forced 21 stops and held quarterbacks to a passer rating of only 63.

He is extremely athletic with sideline-to-sideline speed and a strong instinct for the game, having clocked a 4.58 40-yard dash in the combine. Moreover, Oladapo has previous experience sacking Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Caleb Williams.

As a run defender, he led all safeties in the Power Five with a run defense grade of 91.7. Oladapo is known for his physicality, hard-hitting style, and ability to track down ball carriers on the field.

While in coverage, Oladapo excels as a playmaker, with a great ability to hustle and recover on plays. He is smart and understands alignments and assignments wherever he plays on the back end.

It will be pretty telling if the Packers see Oladapo as that guy based on how they decide to manage the linebacker room. Green Bay will primarily play a 4-2-5 defense with Quay Walker and Edgerrin Cooper as the starters. However, when they switch to the traditional 4-3, Oladapo could fill the Bullet role. With Walker, Cooper, Isaiah McDuffie, Eric Wilson, Ty’Ron Hopper, and Kristian Welch expected to make the roster, there might not be a spot for Oladapo as a box linebacker.

Xavier McKinney and Javon Bullard will start as safeties. Oladapo would likely rotate with Evan Williams and Anthony Johnson in the nickel and dime packages. However, his best chance to immediately get playing time could be as a hybrid linebacker.

Oladapo is very talented and could potentially become a Day 3 steal for the Packers, much like Carrington Valentine and Karl Brooks were last year. If he shows flashes during training camp and preseason, Green Bay will not hesitate to give him playing time to start the season.

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