Green Bay Packers seventh-round rookie cornerback Carrington Valentine continues to impress during training camp practices.
Valentine began OTAs back in May with the third-team defense. However, by the end of minicamp a few weeks later, he was consistently lining up on the boundary with the second-team defense across from Corey Ballentine as things began to slow down for him.
"“The game’s got a little faster,” said Valentine, “not just like physically but from a mental aspect of it. Coming in from OTAs and having that and grasping that and the game really slowing down more and more. So just the reps of it.”"
Now, about a week into training camp, he has firmly cemented himself in that role, and with Eric Stokes sidelined, he may be the Packers’ fourth cornerback option at the moment. This is perhaps evidenced by Valentine being with the A-group of defenders during an 11-on-11 period that featured Green Bay’s starting units.
Then to add to the momentum that Valentine had already built, he was able to pick off a pass from Danny Etling and return it for a touchdown in a team drill during Monday’s practice.
"“That two (receiver) went to the flat,” said Valentine when asked about the interception afterward via Packers.com, “and they fly motioned, went to palms, and I sat on it and made a play.”"
Valentine is athletic, posting a Relative Athletic Score during the pre-draft process of 9.29, and he has good length with 33″ arms. You see both of those traits show up when he is on the field with his ability to consistently be around the football this summer.
During his final season at Kentucky, Valentine allowed a completion rate of just 55 percent on 65 targets with one interception and six pass breakups. After being selected by Green Bay, on a call with reporters, Valentine mentioned being really comfortable when left on an island and described himself as a “physical press-man corner.”
Valentine was able to record 15 pass breakups during his final two seasons at Kentucky, but despite being around the ball, he came away with only two interceptions even though he played over 1,400 snaps. Taking advantage of those opportunities will be an area of growth for him from a development standpoint.
With the cornerback room as talented and as crowded as it is, Valentine’s role as a rookie will likely be somewhat small. It still remains to be seen how Stokes will be utilized upon his return with Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas on the boundary and Keisean Nixon inside.
Instead, like many Day 3 picks, where Valentine’s largest impact will likely come from is on special teams, where he played over 300 snaps in college, according to PFF.
As a seventh-round pick, making the initial 53-man roster is never a guarantee, but Valentine has a firm grasp on a roster spot, and early on, looks to be another late-round steal that the Packers have found.
"“That I can make an impact to this team,” said Valentine when asked what he wants to accomplish during the preseason. “Either special teams or being out there at corner. One way or another that’s what I feel like I can show and will show.“I feel like I’m near. There are still some minute things I’m trying to grasp on. But I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on it.”"