Monday, July 02, 2012

The Packers 90-man Roster: Cornerbacks

One of the biggest surprises in last April's draft was that the Green Bay Packers selected a cornerback (Casey Hayward) in the 2nd round. Maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise based on the terrible 2011 season, but I thought the coaches were looking for a bounce back season from Tramon Williams and/or Sam Shields. Instead, they added a shot of competition to the position.

Player Height Weight Age Experience
Bush, Jarrett 6-0 200 28 7
Hayward, Casey 5-11 192 22 Rookie
House, Davon 6-0 195 22 2
Merrill, Otis 5-11 188 24 Rookie
Ross, Brandian 6-0 191 22 1
Shields, Sam 5-11 184 24 3
Turner, Dion 5-11 194 23 Rookie
Williams, Tramon 5-11 191 29 6
Woodson, Charles 6-1 202 35 15

At first glance this looks like a tough spot for three rookies, and a 2011 practice squad member (Ross) who's had zero regular season experience. Unless Hayward is a complete disaster in training camp, which is very unlikely, he'll move into the spot vacated by former Packer Pat Lee, who's now with the Raiders.

Then it comes down to whether one of the three undrafted free agents (Merrill, Ross, Turner) can move ahead of House. While the most likely result is that they're only competing against each other for a spot on the practice squad, the fact remains that House was given zero opportunities last season while the secondary was imploding. If House struggles during the preseason, he could have reason to worry.

But other than a possible competition for the final spot on the 53-man roster, the depth chart should remain the same. Woodson is back, and Bush was re-signed to back him up. Shields took a big step back in 2011, but he played with the first team defense during the open OTAs. Some concern remains about whether Williams is fully recovered from his shoulder injury, but his injured nerve will heal at some point and he kept his starting job throughout 2011 despite his bad shoulder.

Overall competition level: low. Other than a potential battle between Shields and Hayward/House/Bush for the nickelback, there shouldn't be too many surprises here once the longshot, undrafted undrafted cornerbacks fail to move up the depth chart. The cornerbacks need to play a lot better in 2012, but that doesn't mean that there will be a lot of changes to the roster.

1 comment:

PackFaninFl said...

Wow, surprised me that Tramon is 29 years old -- older than Bush even. Then again, Charles Woodson join the Packers in 2006 at the age of *drum roll please* 29! So not too bad.

I am not as down on the corners as most people. I really think they were hurt by the lack of pass rush (especially in the Giants game, egad). Plus we now know Williams was playing hurt. Besides, weren't we also tops in the league in interceptions?

I am not too concerned right now. But can't wait for the camp battle for nickle and dime!