Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Davon House Signs With Jacksonville, Tramon Williams Visits New Orleans

The defensive backfield might need a lot of help in the upcoming draft. When I read the words that CB Davon House wanted to be a starter, and knowing how the coaches gave him even less playing time down the stretch last season, it was only a matter of time before he went elsewhere. By the time he received an offer of $10 million guaranteed with a $6 million per year annual value, it was a done deal for him.
He's going to be a starter in Jacksonville, and good for him, but I think he's going to be stretched as a starter. He has some great moments, but he's not consistent and I wouldn't want him to be the 2015 starter in Green Bay.

I've been hoping the Packers would find a contract that would work for CB Tramon Williams. If House is worth $6 million per season then it shouldn't be impossible for Williams to find a similar annual contract with maybe fewer years and less guaranteed money. The Packers don't seem to be willing to go that high. No Packer defensive player was in on more plays last season than Williams, so while a huge multi-year contract is a big risk for a 32 year old cornerback, he's probably a solid option for the next year or two.

With House gone, and with Williams having one foot out the door, where does that leave the Packers?

CB Micah Hyde. He's been a jack-of-all-trades in his first two seasons, and he'd have to be the first choice to line up outside across the field from CB Sam Shields. Pro Football Focus gave him a higher grade in 2013, when he was primarily a cornerback, and a lower grade in 2014, when he was more of a hybrid safety/slot cornerback, so a move outside might be good for him.

CB Casey Hayward. The Packers haven't seemed interested in lining him up outside, and I've got no problem with that because he's been excellent against slot receivers in his first three seasons. With Shields/Hyde/Hayward at corner, and Clinton-Dix/Burnett at safety, the Packers top five defensive backs would be well set if Williams joins House in a free agent departure.

But there's no depth after the top five. DB Sean Richardson will return, he's a restricted free agent and the Packers offered him a 2015 contract, but no other defensive back currently on the roster played another snap on defense last season. They also have last year's draft choice, CB Demetri Goodson, who they kept all last season though he didn't play. The Packers don't have to use a high draft pick on a cornerback, but they'll have to draft at least two corners. That doesn't look like a tall order this year. CBS Sports lists thirty-eight cornerbacks who could be drafted.

While I hope they do bring back Tramon Williams, the Packers have enough depth to move on from him, and I'd expect GM Ted Thompson would do a good job of finding a couple defensive backs in the draft to replenish their depth.

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