Green Bay Packers: Asante Samuel Jr. Can Fill Immediate Need at CB

Florida State Seminoles defensive back Asante Samuel Jr. (26) after Clemson does not complete the pass as the Florida State Seminoles take on the Clemson Tigers in college football at Doak S. Campbell Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018.Fsu Vs Clemson1011a
Florida State Seminoles defensive back Asante Samuel Jr. (26) after Clemson does not complete the pass as the Florida State Seminoles take on the Clemson Tigers in college football at Doak S. Campbell Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018.Fsu Vs Clemson1011a /

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, the Green Bay Packers have no shortage of holes to fill if they want to get over the NFC Championship Game hurdle they have run into the past two seasons. Fresh off an MVP campaign, Aaron Rodgers has the Pack on the brink of a title run, and the draft is the perfect place to find the missing piece needed to make that Super Bowl dream a reality.

The man to bring the Packers over the hump may just be the former Florida State Seminole cornerback, Asante Samuel Jr. To put it simply, he can play and has been a nightmare for offenses in the ACC for the past three seasons. Following in the footsteps of his father, former All-Pro corner Asante Samuel Sr., Samuel Jr. has lockdown man coverage and an elite ability to diagnose and jump routes.

Although Kevin King was re-signed, he has proven time and time again that he is not the long-term answer to be the Robin to Jaire Alexander’s Batman. This puts Brian Gutekunst in a prime position to grab his corner that will play opposite Alexander for years to come. With the 29th pick in the draft, and the resources to move up or down to get the prospect they want, Samuel Jr. offers incredible value and upside.

Let’s dive further into what makes Asante Samuel Jr. a prime prospect for the Green Bay Packers to draft.

Aggressive, Hard-hitting, Ball-hawk

After reading those three adjectives, who else comes to mind? Perhaps a 2018 first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander. Samuel Jr. exhibits many of the same qualities and tendencies that Alexander did as a prospect, which is a great thing for the Pack.

After looking at the tape of Asante Samuel Jr. and analyzing his performance, it is clear that his game is oozing with confidence. Something he also has in common with Ja Money.

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Being a slightly “undersized” corner, Samuel Jr.’s physique has been critiqued throughout the pre-draft process. His official numbers at FSU’s Pro Day were a height of 5’10” and a weight of 180lbs, which are similar to the measurements of the aforementioned Jaire Alexander. Despite this relatively small stature, Samuel Jr. routinely plays bigger than his frame to shoot gaps and aggressively fills holes to make tackles like someone much more physically gifted.

As much as King has shown flashes of this sort of play, he has been all too inconsistent to be counted on going forward. Samuel Jr. will provide no shortage of aggression and hard hits from the outside corner position. A prime example of this play happened when FSU matched up with Boston College, and Samuel Jr. burst behind the line and took out the 6’0” – 247lb AJ Dillon for a loss.

On top of this, Samuel Jr. exhibited great ball skills for a defensive back and racked up three interceptions in the COVID shortened 2020 season. This is also a skill that the Green Bay Packers young secondary could greatly benefit from, as having a dominant man coverage corner with sticky hands is definitely not anything to complain about. His ability to read routes in both man and zone coverage, combined with his elite hands, shows promise for the young corner in the NFL.

On top of this, new Packer defensive coordinator Joe Barry has demonstrated a liking for smaller corners and defensive backs with physiques similar to Samuel Jr.

As noted by Peter Bukowski, Barry, while in Los Angeles, helped coach a defensive unit that had corners Troy Hill and Darious Williams, who are both 5’10” and about 180 lbs, respectively.

Will Barry want to continue this trend of pairing smaller corners together as he takes over the Green Bay defense? If so, he will be hard-pressed to find a better duo than Jaire Alexander and Asante Samuel Jr.

Samuel Jr. offers plenty of upside as the NFL Draft approaches. The Green Bay Packers have reportedly met with the young playmaker twice during this pre-draft process—and understandably so.  The idea of Alexander and Samuel Jr. playing on the same defensive unit offers incredible potential to be a dominant man coverage secondary.

Having the 29th pick, the Packers will more than likely have the opportunity to draft the former Seminole corner. However, I would not be surprised if Brian Gutekunst and his staff elected to trade back into the early second round to acquire Samuel Jr. then.

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The anticipation and excitement for the NFL Draft is mounting, and Asante Samuel Jr. just might be the perfect fit for the Green Bay Packers in their pursuit of another Lombardi Trophy.