Packers cornerbacks a young, talented group
APR 22, 2013 5:00a ET
April 12: Five best draft moments in the past 25 years
April 13: Five worst draft moments in the past 25 years
April 14: Quarterbacks position preview
April 15: Running backs/fullbacks position preview
April 16: Offensive tackles position preview
April 17: Guards/centers position preview
April 18: Tight ends position preview
April 19: Wide receivers position preview
April 20: Defensive linemen position preview
April 21: Linebackers position preview
Today: Cornerbacks position preview
April 23: Safeties position preview
April 24: Ted Thompson's draft strategy
April 25: Forecasting the first-round pick
TODAY'S POSITION: CORNERBACKS
Importance (1-to-10 scale): 3
On the roster
Tramon Williams, the 30-year-old veteran leader of the group, has started all but one game for the Packers over the past three seasons. A shoulder injury early in the 2011 season slowed his career development, but Williams is still the team's No. 1 cornerback until another player takes that spot from him.
Sam Shields had a very good 2012 season, despite playing only 10 games and being flagged for his fair share of phantom pass-interference calls.
Casey Hayward had a fantastic rookie season. His six interceptions were the fifth-most in the entire league, leading him to place third in the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year race. Hayward has proven he can dominate in the slot, but he wants a chance to start on the outside next season.
Davon House was outstanding throughout training camp in 2012 and was on his way to winning the starting job opposite Williams. Then, a shoulder injury in the first preseason game kept him out until Week 7 of the regular season and he was never the same. Still only 23 years old, House is the wildcard of the group. He could be the team's best cornerback next season or he could be stuck on the bench behind Williams, Shields and Hayward.
After starting Week 1 last season, Jarrett Bush appears to be done playing defense in Green Bay, unless the Packers need seven defensive backs on the field.
Last five cornerbacks drafted
2012 -- Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt: second round (62nd overall) -- still with the Packers
2011 -- Davon House, New Mexico State: fourth round (131st overall) -- still with the Packers
2008 -- Pat Lee, Auburn: second round (60th overall) -- currently a free agent
2006 -- Will Blackmon, Boston College: fourth round (115th overall) -- released in 2010, now with the Seahawks
2005 -- Mike Hawkins Oklahoma: fifth round (167th overall) -- out of the NFL
Philosophy at the position
Ted Thompson has a ton of success finding high-quality cornerbacks who weren't even drafted. This was the case with Williams and Shields. But, Thompson has also done well in the past two drafts with his selections of Hayward and House.
When a team connects on a draft pick like the Packers did a year ago with Hayward, it changes everything. Green Bay went from a team with veteran corners in Williams and Charles Woodson to having a young, talented group. There aren't even enough snaps to go around between the Packers' four cornerbacks.
Cornerback is the position that Green Bay is most set at, and it should stay that way for a few years if Hayward, Shields and House continue their upward trends.
Day 1 name to remember (Round 1)
Desmond Trufant senior, Washington (6-0, 190). Trufant is the second-best cornerback in this draft behind Dee Milliner. Trufant is a very good, perhaps even lockdown-type cornerback. He has the perfect body for the position, has elite speed and can cover just about anyone. His biggest struggles typically come against the run.
While the Packers do not need a cornerback, Trufant would be awfully enticing if he slipped down to No. 26. If Thompson adheres to his 'Best Player Available' policy, it's difficult imagining there being a better player on the board at that point than Trufant.
Trufant says: "I have been waiting for this opportunity my whole life. All the workouts, all of the season work, all the games -- everything is coming down to this moment. I'm very excited."
Day 2 name to remember (Rounds 2-3)
Tyrann Mathieu, LSU (5-8, 186). Best known as "The Honey Badger," Mathieu did not play college football last season after being dismissed from the team for failing multiple drug tests. It would take a lot for the Packers to overlook his background, but Mathieu seems to be on a mission to prove himself and to show that he's matured in recent months. He's undersized for the position but is good in coverage. There's really nothing that he does poorly on the field. If Thompson wants to gamble in the third round, Mathieu might be worth a shot.
Day 3 name to remember (Rounds 4-7)
Jordan Poyer, senior, Oregon State (6-0, 191). Poyer isn't a great athlete, but he has the hands of a wide receiver. In his college career, Poyer showed that he can be a playmaker when he's in the right spot. He's not great in any one area and needs to improve his strength, but in the sixth round, Poyer is worth a long look.
FOXSports.com's draft expert Taylor Jones says:
"Mathieu's on-field skills are there. He's a natural athlete with good ball skills, footwork and body control. Without the off-field thing, it's hard to see him going later than the second round. You could maybe use him as a nickelback right away. The way things are going in the NFL, it's not a bad thing to have three starting-caliber corners and call one your nickelback. His athletic ability and ability to create turnovers are hard to overlook.
"My favorite corner in this class is Poyer. He's not the most skilled, but he has playmaker skills like 'The Honey Badger,' except that Poyer actually played last year. He's definitely not the best of the whole class, but I watched the tape and fell in love with the player I saw."
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