The NFL Draft is about selecting the best talent available, while also getting the best value possible. With pick No. 14, it may be wise for the Green Bay Packers to wait to draft a cornerback until the second round.
Because of the perceived talent disparity, the Green Bay Packers should wait until the second round or trade up into the late-first round to select a cornerback.
Whether this happens largely depends on how the rest of the draft falls into place, but many are predicting the blue-chip talents to be gone by pick 14. Defensive backs like Denzel Ward, Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick would be perfect selections, although it remains highly unlikely.
If the Packers don’t trade up for a cornerback in the early-first, it might be wise to consider holding off until the second round. The plethora of late-first to early-second round talent is much larger than where the Packers are selecting. They hold the 45th overall pick, and with plenty of mid-round selections to assist in moving up, they’re in the perfect situation to select a difference-maker later in the draft.
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Some of the cornerbacks available in rounds 2-3 may include Isaiah Oliver, Donte Jackson, Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart. Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson and Mike Hughes are considered to be late-first round talents as well, so a trade up for them is possible. Parry Nickerson, Duke Dawson and Nick Nelson are mid-round prospects to keep an eye on.
Oliver presents himself as one of the more underrated prospects and could be a steal in the second round. Coming in at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, he has the ideal size, length and speed to be a number one cover corner in the NFL. He excels in man to man coverage, and allowed a catch on only 43.6 percent of passes thrown his way, according to Pro Football Focus.
Oliver’s arms measure in at 33.5 inches, a feat only six other cornerback prospects have reached in the past 20 years. His arms save him in instances where he overestimates throws. Combined with his incredible cover skills, Oliver remains a top target in the early second round. PFF has him rated as the sixth best corner, while other outlets have him rated in the top five.
So which route should the Packers take in the first round? Pass rushers are few and far between after Bradley Chubb, Harold Landry and Marcus Davenport, while wide receiver remains a reach at this point as well. Davenport seems to have the highest upside among the bunch, while Landry remains one of the safer picks.
Waiting on a cornerback may not be what some fans want to see, but it certainly makes the most sense. The talent pool falls heavily into the late-first to early-second round range. If the Packers were to pull off a Landry/Oliver or Davenport/Oliver one-two punch, the rest of the draft would be theirs to lose.