The Packers could very likely sign a safety in free agency, find one in the draft, or do both. Tramon Williams is rapidly approaching 36 years of age and they are getting shaky play out of any run support safety. Kentrell Brice and Josh Jones have shown the ability to play in the box but any time they are in coverage there is potential for a big play through the air. Green Bay could really use not one but two safety upgrades this offseason and if they can’t get their guy on the open market then there are plenty of fits in this year’s draft class.
Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State
Abram is an extremely physical football player that has the potential to replace either Brice or Jones right out of the gate. During his senior season, he recorded nine tackles for loss, three sacks, and two interceptions as the leader in Mississippi State’s secondary. He’s an alpha in the locker room and on the field constantly swarming around the ball. Abram turns the volume up until the nob breaks and then doesn’t look back. He has solid ball skills for a guy considered to be more effective against the run. While Abram isn’t slow, he won’t be a candidate to replace Williams at deep safety. Abram fits best as a box safety that can also drop into the short to intermediate zones.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida
Johnson runs like a corner and has the frame of a safety. He’s improved drastically over his three seasons at Florida emerging as one of the top safety prospects in the draft. His footwork is polished, he doesn’t shy away from contact, and he isn’t afraid to man up on a receiver. Johnson’s versatility will prolong his career in the NFL. His range will really surprise people as he will probably run one of the top 40 times for his position. Johnson had a productive junior year recording nine tackles for loss, three sacks, four interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns. It may take a while for Johnson to become a consistent player at the next level but his ceiling is very high. He could be an option for the Packers with their 30th overall pick or at 44 in the second round.
Taylor Rapp, Washington
Like Abram, Rapp is more of a run supporter. He’s powerful and a sure tackler in the open field. Basically, an old school type of safety. Rapp gained extensive experience at Washington racking up seven career interceptions and six sacks over three seasons. He can’t be a difference maker dropping consistently into deep zones, however, he plays smart taking the right angles to compensate for his lack of speed. Rapp didn’t play much man coverage, but he did show some good things dropping into the box. He plays through contact and is aggressive when filling against the run. Overall, Rapp is not a great athlete but would be a safe pick on day two of the draft.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.