I wrote last week how I felt that new GM Brian Gutekunst should target Malcolm Butler to upgrade the Packers cornerback position. It’s no surprise that I feel that one of the Packers greatest weaknesses on defense is their secondary. This position group has been an extreme mess since Sam Shields went out with an injury in the first game of 2016 season. The lack of playmakers at the cornerback position, has forced the team to bring one of their best safety, Morgan Burnett to either come up and help the linebackers or cover the TE, etc. To me this left the safety position vulnerable and is a possible reason for the down play of of Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton Dix.
Former general manager Ted Thompson did a horrible job keeping the cupboard full for this position group. The Packers have lot an enormous amount of talent in this group recently. Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde, all recently roamed the backend of the defense, but when Thompson decided to move on from them (or injury occurred), he had no replacements ready enough to step up.
In what looks to be a busy offseason for Gutekunst, he is tasked with cleaning up the cornerback mess that Thompson left him.
Not everything is bad though. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine does have some talent to work with in the secondary. As long as the Packers upgrade their cornerbacks and add a pass rusher, I am comfortable with Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton Dix at the safety positions. At the cornerback position behind Damarious Randall and Kevin King, is where the Packers really lack talent and needs rebuilding.
Randall had a bounce back year in 2017, after a dismal sophomore season, his third season provided hope. His up and down performance reminds me of Packers rising star Davante Adams, whose career really did not take off until his fourth year. If Randall can build off the success he had this past season, the Packers could suddenly have themselves a playmaking corner.
The Packers top draft choice in 2017, Kevin King is somewhat of an unknown. His rookie season ended due to a left shoulder injury. When he was healthy, King showed promise that him and Randall could form one of the top cornerback duos in the league. In my opinion, he was easily the Packers top cornerback and was looking at a solid rookie season.
The Packers are in need of another starting-caliber cornerback. Adding another one with their first pick in the draft probably is not their best approach, as they have used their top draft pick on the corner two of the past three years and would leave the position group less experienced that it already is. I feel that can find talent later in the draft to add to the group, but signing a free agent corner is probably their best approach to upgrade the position. The team is hoping that Randall continues his succession and can build off last season, and King can remain healthy for a full season to help solidify the group. Let’s hope they are right and that happens.
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag