While this position hasn’t gotten nearly the attention that others have, the Green Bay Packers would be wise to add some needed depth at cornerback this offseason.
When we think of the positions that we want to see the Green Bay Packers address this upcoming offeason, wide receiver, inside linebacker, and interior defensive lineman all come to mind right away. And while those positions should all be at the top of Brian Gutekunst’s to-do list, Green Bay’s cornerback position needs some added depth as well.
Now, unlike linebacker and receiver for example, the cornerback position doesn’t need an infusion of talent, they already have a very good foundation.
Jaire Alexander is evolving into a certified shutdown corner and while his aggressiveness can get the best of him at times, he certainly has All-Pro potential. This season he was targeted 104 times and allowed a completion percentage of just 57 percent with 14 pass-breakups and two interceptions. Keep in mind this was often against the opposing team’s top wide receiver as well.
Then there was Kevin King who was able to remain healthy for much of the season, which everyone was happy to see, and he put together a solid performance as the Packers’ No. 2 corner. Although he still fought inconsistency, King would allow a completion percentage of 60 percent on 88 targets, with 11 pass-breakups, and five interceptions, which was tied for the 2nd most in the NFL this season.
We even saw the emergence of Chandon Sullivan over the final weeks. From Week 12 on, Sullivan saw his role increase as he would play over half of his snaps either as the slot corner or lined up out-wide as he was able to put together a breakout season that I can’t imagine many saw coming.
So as I said above, the Green Bay Packers have a very good foundation at the cornerback position but after these three players, we run into a lot of unknown.
Tramon Williams put together an excellent season as Green Bay’s primary slot corner, in fact, he was Pro Football Focus’ 7th highest graded cover corner with an overall score of 82.2. However, he is almost 37-years-old and a pending free agent.
For the right price, I think Williams is worth re-signing even if his role is reduced in 2020 but with that said, I don’t think it’s safe to expect the same level of play moving forward as we saw from him in 2019.
Moving along down the depth chart we find Josh Jackson who clearly doesn’t have the trust of the Packers’ coaching staff. Jackson would play just 9.9 percent of Green Bay’s defensive snaps in 2020 and when he was on the field, he struggled mightily.
Although targeted just eight times, Jackson allowed seven receptions and a touchdown. Honestly, I think there is a real possibility that the Packers move on from him if things don’t change.
Lastly, there is Ka’dar Hollman who flashed some potential during the preseason but is still an unknown, along with Kabion Ento who was on the practice squad in 2019.
This isn’t a position that I expect Green Bay to spend a first -round draft pick on or for them to go out and sign a big name free agent. However, adding a veteran on a short-term deal or spending a third or fourth-round draft pick on the position isn’t a bad idea.
Injuries happen and under Mike Pettine the Packers like to play with more defensive backs on the field. So what Green Bay needs before the new season begins is someone who can step in and play meaningful snaps when needed, without being a huge liability in coverage.