Green Bay Packers

Senior Bowl Standout Safety Javon Bullard Fits Green Bay’s Mold

Photo Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I highlighted the Green Bay Packers’ track record of selecting Reese’s Senior Bowl standouts and how UConn guard Christian Haynes might fit on the Green Bay’s offense. This week, let’s turn to the defense and Javon Bullard, a hard-hitting safety from Georgia who could be a seamless fit in new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley’s defense.

Bullard was a three-star prospect coming out of high school. Hafley recruited him to play at Boston College and gave him a formal offer before Bullard eventually committed to Georgia. He’s among only 58 underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft, the fewest in over a decade. Bullard was a two-year starter at Georgia. He played in 32 games, registered 80 tackles (eight for loss), and snagged four interceptions. Bullard was named the 2022 Peach Bowl defensive MVP, highlighting his collegiate career.

Bullard showcased his skillset at the Senior Bowl, getting some time at nickel cornerback and safety. By playing Bullard at the nickel corner or star role, Green Bay would bring him closer to the line of scrimmage, allowing him to play the run and show off his exceptional tackling ability.

However, the question would then become how well Bullard would hold up in man coverage, especially if the Packers ask him to go one-on-one against receivers or the league’s better tight ends. If there was one weakness to his Senior Bowl performance, receivers beat Bullard in one-on-ones, but that drill tends to favor the receiver.

Here he is against his former teammate and projected Day 2 draft pick, Ladd McConkey:

 

Despite some deficiencies in some one-on-ones, Bullard performed well enough to earn Player of the Week recognition from the wide receivers and running backs he faced. If the Packers select Bullard and play him at safety, they’ll still get an exceptional tackler who diagnoses plays well and isn’t afraid to fly down and break up a play.

In the clip below against Florida, Bullard shows his ability to read a quarterback. He diagnoses where the ball is headed, demonstrates good click-and-close speed to clean up the play, and delivers a hit.

Bullard exhibits many similar qualities as a prospect to Darnell Savage when he came out of Maryland. Bullard and Savage have similar measurables coming in around the 6’0″, 200 lbs. benchmarks. They also bring an athletic skill set and physicality. Savage has been inconsistent throughout his career. But the Packers could potentially have Bullard play free safety in base defense and occasional slot corner, provided that Bullard tests impressive athletically at the NFL Scouting Combine. If he does, expect Bullard to be a Day 2 selection.

Beyond Bullard, the Packers may also be paying attention to Oregon safety Evan Williams, who also earned Player of the Week honors at the Senior Bowl. Williams showed off good physicality and some solid pass breakups in practice. However, he hasn’t fared as well against better competition. Williams originally played four years at Fresno State in the Mountain West Conference and played only one year in the Pac-12 with Oregon.

Williams could be a target for the Packers in later rounds, but Bullard’s experience may make him a priority for Green Bay early in the draft. General manager Brian Gutekunst has taken other Georgia players, including Eric Stokes, Devonte Wyatt, and Quay Walker. Watch for both players at the combine and during the NFL Draft.

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