The Green Bay Packers are blessed with one of the best cover cornerbacks in the NFL. At just 24 years of age, Jaire Alexander has made himself into a standout for the Packers secondary. However, opposite of him, the other boundary starting cornerback position has some major questions. Because of that, cornerback looks like a strong position with the Green Bay Packers first pick in this year’s NFL draft.
Solid Cornerback Prospects Should be Available for the Green Bay Packers First Pick
Even with having Alexander in the fold, cornerback is a major need for the Packers. So much so, many are expecting that Green Bay’s first pick will be a cornerback.
General manager Brian Gutekunst made the decision to re-sign Kevin King this off-season. The decision didn’t go over well with many Packers fans. King, a former second-round draft choice, has drawn much ire over the years. It can be argued that he hasn’t lived up to his second-round draft status. Not only has his play been below average, but his injury issues have made him unreliable. To go along with that, many fans can’t erase the memory of King’s play from the NFC championship game.
But King isn’t the only reason the Packers first pick could be used on a cornerback. The depth behind King is just as suspect. Josh Jackson has been a massive disappointment since Gutekunst selected him in the second round of the 2018 draft. Nickel back Chandon Sullivan suffered a disappointing 2020 season. His play has led many to believe he isn’t a long-term answer. Behind them are young inexperienced prospects who can’t and really shouldn’t be depended on. At least for the near future.
To go along with that, the only free agent move Gutekunst made this off-season at cornerback was the re-signing of King. Gutekunst’s lack of moves at the position looks like it will force his hand in using the Packers first pick on a cornerback.
Luckily for Gutekunst, this year’s draft is deep at the position. If he decides to stay where the Packers select in the first round, 29th overall, he should have some good prospects to choose from.
Cornerbacks that Should be on the Board when the Packers are on the Clock
South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II look to be long gone by the time the Packers select in round one. However, Packers fans shouldn’t rule out Gutekunst moving up in the first round. He has made moves before and if he truly wants to improve the cornerback position, this would be the year to do so.
If he does stay put, Horn, Surtain, and possibly Northwestern’s Greg Newsome II most likely will be off the board. Even with those three presumably gone, there are still some players that could bolster the Packers secondary and be a solid value for the Packers first pick.
Eric Stokes, Georgia
Eric Stokes grabbed the attention of scouts at his pro day. Stokes posted a blazing 4.25 in his forty-yard dash. That type of speed is a major plus when it comes to playing in the NFL, which is why Stokes could move into the first round.
Not only does he have top-end speed, but he has good size as well. At 6’1″ and weighing just under 200 lbs, he has the size to play outside or inside. Along with that, under Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, he played in an NFL style of defense.
Elijah Molden, Washington
At new Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s introductory press conference, he discussed the “star” position in his defense. The position, a hybrid between nickel and boundary cornerback, is expected to be a major part of Barry’s defense. The way he described it, it seemed like he was describing the way that Elijah Molden plays.
Molden was a standout at the University of Washington. As a junior, he led the Huskies in tackles as well as interceptions. He stands 5’10” tall, which might be smaller for the outside, but his play at Washington makes you think he could be up for playing on the boundary. But even if he can’t play on the outside, he could be a major asset on the inside.
The son of former NFL corner Alex Molden, he understands what it takes to play in the NFL. Along with being a standout on defense, he was also a special teams ace while in college. The Packers need a lot of special teams help, something that Molden could provide.
Don’t sleep on Molden, he has a chance to be the Packers first pick.
Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
There is a strong possibility that Caleb Farley falls in the first round of this year’s draft. As Daniel Parlegreco of DTP Scout recently pointed out, not only are there questions about a back procedure he underwent but he has also suffered a non-contact ACL injury in his career.
But even with the injuries, Farley is a very intriguing prospect. He has great size for a cornerback, 6’2″ 197 lbs, especially for a boundary cornerback. Unlike Molden, Farley could push King for a starting spot on the outside. Farley has the ability to play in man and zone defense. Barry is expected to mix it up on the Packers defense, which would make Farley a target if he is available.
If Farley slides to the end of the first round, it will be up to the Packers medical staff to see if Farley is worthy of the Packers first pick. If they deem him healthy, he very well could be the Packers first pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
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