Despite the team’s depth chart at the position, the Green Bay Packers are making fun of several cornerbacks.
We have a long offseason ahead of us, as teams haven’t even started to come out of cap losses until free agency, but now that the Super Bowl is over, it’s time to turn our attention to the 2024 draft. the NFL. Last week, we asked Green Bay Packers fans what the team’s biggest needs were this offseason. The runaways, by far, were the safety and off-ball linebacker positions, groups where the Packers might need several new bodies just to field a functional team next year.
The cornerback position did not emerge as a major need, either in our survey or in Acme Packing Company reader comments. Despite this, five of the nine major draft picks that have been abandoned since the Super Bowl finale have given the Packers a cornerback, for one reason or another. Let’s dive into the results of these recent simulations and break down the line of thinking behind these selections.
Jordan Morgan, OL, Arizona
Morgan was a surprise non-declaration from the 2023 draft class. Thanks in part to his return to the Wildcats’ program, Arizona ended up going 10-3 last year, including a win at the ‘Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma. The offensive line is an interesting position for the Packers, as they have potential holes at left tackle and right guard, depending on how the team views the long-term viability of Rasheed Walker and Sean Rhyan, respectively, both young rookie contract blockers.
Then there’s the whole David Bakhtiari question, which doesn’t seem to have a clear answer at this point. The team will simply have to decide on Bakhtiari’s health in early March, around the start of the new league year. Bakhtiari just underwent major surgery that will hopefully resolve the swelling issue that has kept him sidelined since 2020.
Here’s what Athleticism‘s Dane Brugler had to say about Morgan’s selection:
The Packers could use some help at tackle and guard. Morgan, who played left tackle in Arizona, might be better off moving inside the NFL. Regardless, this pick would check a box for a young Green Bay team that is in a great position with 11 draft picks.
Kingsley Suamataia, OL, BYU
A few weeks ago, ESPN’s Mel Kiper selected Suamataia for the Packers in his first mock draft of the 2024 cycle. As we mentioned in our article, Suamataia is an imposing tackle prospect who has played both as a left and right tackle in the past. The former five-star recruit initially began his college career at Oregon, where he started at tackle as Penei Sewell’s successor in the first round before moving closer to home in 2022.
Below is what Bleacher Report’s Brandon Thorn, who researches offensive linemen for the website, said about Suamataia’s selection:
“The Packers are able to succeed offensively with a mid-pack offensive line with a run-first, play-action system,” Thorn said. “But if they want to schematically increase their flexibility and open things up a little more in 2024, the left tackle position might need an upgrade.
“What happens with Bakhtiari will determine the urgency of this specific need. But if the Packers don’t bring him back or he’s unable to be healthy enough to play, Suamataia gives the team a golden opportunity to add a tackle with longtime starting traits at end of the first round.
Jackson Powers-Johnson, OL, Oregon
This is somewhat of a generic selection. Powers-Johnson was a center for Oregon, but he has the potential to play guard at the next level. The big question is whether or not the Packers will allow him to compete at the center spot, where starter Josh Myers returns. Myers is a player who doesn’t seem to be playing at a high level, but the coaching staff praises him every chance they get.
Josh Myers has been disappointing in Green Bay. Jackson Powers-Johnson showed his strength, technique, toughness and athletic ability at the Senior Bowl. He can play both as a center and as a guard.
Cooper DeJean, BC, Iowa
Of all the cornerback prospects in the upcoming draft class, the one that makes the most sense for the Packers to draft high in the April meeting is Iowa’s DeJean. Not only does he have experience as a cornerback, but he has also played the team’s “cash” position – which is a hybrid nickel position that is a pseudo safety role. Because of this, it wouldn’t be difficult to project him as a safety in Green Bay’s new closed midfield system, which would allow DeJean to play a free safety role. This would allow the team to look for a taller, less athletic safety to move around the line of scrimmage as a rolling strong safety.
Below is what Pro Football Focus had to say about the two-time first-team All-Big Ten defensive back:
DeJean can be a starter at the NFL level at both cornerback and safety. For the Packers, I think he would start at safety/slot with outside cornerback flexibility.
Kool-Aid McKinstry, BC, Alabama
Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo
I want to talk about these three cornerback prospects as a group because they are pretty similar. Unlike DeJean, all of these players should be outside cornerbacks at the next level. Sure, first-round cornerback Eric Stokes finished the season on injured reserve, but it seems unlikely that Stokes’ hamstring issue will remain an issue heading into the 2024 season. With Stokes, the All- Pro Jaire Alexander and 2023 rookie Carrington Valentine returning to the team next season, and the potential for Keisean Nixon to re-sign with the team to play in the slot in 2024, the team has t Do you really need to use a high draft? go after a cornerback? I am not convinced.
McKinstry and Wiggins both played for defensive powerhouses at the college level, but Mitchell is a player who took the more difficult path to get where he is. For comparison, only one Group of 5 prospect was drafted among the first 68 picks in last year’s draft: SMU’s Rashee Rice, the 55th pick taken by Kansas City. Mitchell is currently ranked 18th in the consensus selection committee and is expected to be one of the highest drafted “mid-major” prospects selected in the NIL/transfer portal era.
Toledo plays in the MAC, which last year had its first player drafted in the fourth round (Sidy Sow, New England Patriots). The Packers actually signed the MAC’s second player off the board in 2023, Bowling Green defensive lineman Karl Brooks, who played 380 snaps for Green Bay as a rookie.
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