Green Bay Packers

Projecting Which Packers' Rookie Will Make the Biggest Impact This Season

Photo Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers had a whopping 11 picks during the 2024 NFL Draft and will most likely sign undrafted free agents once OTAs and training camp approach. But which of these rookies will make the biggest impact on the team in 2024? The best bet is safety Javon Bullard.

Green Bay took former Georgia Bulldog Bullard in the second round, and he looks poised to have a big rookie season. The Packers lack depth at safety, creating an opportunity for Bullard, who played with Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt at Georgia.

When the season ended, many fans in Green Bay knew that the safety group was the shallowest on the roster. With Adrian Amos‘ departure last offseason and Darnell Savage cutting ties this offseason, Green Bay needed to make a big move at safety. And they did, signing Xavier McKinney and supplementing the position in the draft.

Bullard was a crucial component of Georgia’s two National Championship runs and was an AP All-SEC Second Team selection. He hauled in two interceptions in UGA’s championship win over TCU in 2022 and won the defensive MVP award. He also had 10 tackles in the Bulldogs’ win over Auburn in 2023.

According to ESPN, Bullard entered the draft as the No. 1 safety, and the Packers selected him with pick No. 58. Minnesota’s Tyler Nubin was the No. 2 safety in the class, but the New York Giants selected him with the 37th pick in the second round.

Entering the draft, Bleacher Report’s scouting report on Bullard stated that he is a “versatile player who gives enough scheme flexibility to play in both zone and man coverages” and “does a great job of playing from multiple levels and positions.”

Bullard can maintain good coverage and has excellent ball skills, but he can make an impact closer to the line of scrimmage and stop the run.

He has great speed and physicality. Bullard’s 4.47 40-yard dash time at the combine shows that he has quick feet in coverage on film. He has the burst to keep up with speedy receivers when they break on a route. Like Xavier McKinney, Bullard has the speed to get to either sideline in time if he is the only safety playing deep coverage.

Bullard has a high football IQ and can read the quarterback’s eyes. The only downside this would create is if the quarterback intentionally looks him off to the opposite side from where he will go with the ball, so he has to be careful of that. He also has great ball skills. Bullard can track where the ball will go while it’s still in the air, highpoint it to make a play at the right time, and play the ball with his hands like a receiver.

However, he does not have the speed to recover when offenses catch him out of position. However, with time and practice, he can gain some more recovery speed, and McKinney can help him read defenses better.

Bleacher Report also lists him as an inconsistent tackler who likes to go down at opponents’ ankles and legs instead of wrapping up and driving. That’s probably due to his size – he’s only 5’11”, 198 lbs. — but that’s also not something to worry about too much since time and practice can improve his physicality and tackling ability.

Finally, Bullard, Quay Walker, and Devonte Wyatt played at Georgia in 2021. All three of them played significant roles in winning a National Championship. Their time at Georgia can also help facilitate their chemistry because Bullard has a former teammate at the other two main aspects of the defense. Wyatt handles the pass rush while Walker takes care of the linebacking corps, and Bullard helps the secondary. All three of these guys have done this together and were quite successful.

Bullard was the best player Green Bay could have chosen with their late-second-round pick. Their ability to nab Edgerrin Cooper and Bullard in the same round will meaningfully help the defense because Cooper and Bullard could have gone earlier. Bullard was the best overall player available at that spot, and he should be able to make an immediate impact.

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Photo Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

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