Packer nation, I want to introduce you to Javon Bullard. I suspect by this time next year, he’ll be one of your favorite Packer players. As I researched his life, I was struck at each turn how he seemed to come from a different place than most college athletes you read about. I think you’re going to enjoy this tale.

Javon Bullard: Origins

Javon Bullard grew up in Central Georgia in a town called Milledgeville, where his family moved when he was 5. In Milledgeville, he started running track, playing the trumpet, and was an immediate standout football Running Back.  Bullard led the Baldwin County Pee-Wee All-Stars to the 2009 Georgia Bowl title, scoring all four of his team’s touchdowns in the championship game. As a track athlete, he qualified for the USATF Junior Olympic Nationals in 2011. Bullard enrolled at Baldwin High School and was a four-year varsity starter, contributing in all three phases as a Defensive Back, Wide Receiver, and as a return man. All four years of high school, Javon earned first team All-Region honors. As a senior captain, he was named the Region 4A 2020 Player of the Year.

Bullard received his first scholarship offer during his sophomore year, from Troy. After his Junior year, several SEC programs started taking him more seriously, and he picked up offers from Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee. Bullard decided to stay close to home and committed to Georgia in August 2020 as a three-star recruit. Bullard graduated early from Baldwin High School and entered college with an Associates degree through advanced-placement credits. I have studied a lot of top athletes, and I can’t recall ever seeing one with such an impressive academic achievement. 

This guy is built different. 

Javon Bullard: College Career

A two-year starter at Georgia, Bullard played in the slot, as a Split Safety, deep as a Single-High Safety and even in the box. According to Pro Football Focus, Bullard played 726 snaps in the slot, 408 as a deep safety and 169 in the box. He lined up primarily in the slot as a true sophomore for the national champs but was used all over the defense in 2023.

In Georgia’s 2022 Championship season, Javon was named the team MVP for the overall playoff run and for the national championship game itself. In that Championship game against TCU, Javon had two interceptions, showcasing his ballhawking prowess. To celebrate his Defensive MVP, Milledgeville threw a parade celebrating “Javon Bullard Day” in March of 2023.

In the 2023 season, Bullard didn’t allow a single touchdown in coverage all year. In a standout game against Auburn, Javon tallied an impressive 10 tackles lined up as a Big Nickel at points during the game. He continued to showcase his playmaking ability with an interception the following week against Missouri. Bullard’s stellar performances earned him recognition as an AP All-SEC second-team selection in 2023. 

Javon Bullard, Defensive MVP in the Championship Game.

Javon Bullard: Senior Bowl Standout

2024 was the first year in which college juniors who hadn’t yet graduated were eligible for the Senior Bowl. So although Bullard decided to skip his senior season and declare early for the 2024 NFL Draft, he was one of the standout underclassmen able to get an invitation to the prestigious all-star game. Javon made his presence felt immediately and was voted the top Safety on the American team during the week of practice. Plays like this certainly helped his case for that honor: 

Not bad for a Junior playing with the best in the country. 

This guy is built different. 

The Packers love Senior Bowl standouts. So, if he wasn’t high on their target list before, he certainly was after his phenomenal week in Mobile. 

Bullard: Green Bay Packer

Fortunate to have a second pick in the 2nd round of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Packers took Bullard with pick 58. Javon immediately understood he’d won the draft lottery by getting drafted by Green Bay:

Javon on draft night, thrilled to be a %$#%^ Packer.

Javon Bullard brings more “big game” experience to the Packers than any player in recent memory. He is battle-tested having played in multiple championship games with Georgia. Bullard’s leadership skill set can quickly provide the Packers with a “field general” type of defensive leader. Both his high school and college coaches agree that he has a future in coaching, because of his mental toughness. This quality was immediately evident during his first locker room interview during rookie minicamp: 

Listening to him talk for a few minutes it is apparent that he’s been brought up by wise, well-grounded folks. His words drip with self-confidence and a maturity beyond his 21 years. At one point, a reporter tried to bait Javon into talking about how lucky he is to have landed in a great place like Green Bay. Instead of giving the pat answer about his good fortune, Javon flips the question on his head and gives a lesson about how it is important it is to hold yourself to a high standard and to change things, even if you don’t land in a good situation.

That answer took my breath away. “Wow,” I thought, “Green Bay has found themselves a DUDE!”

This guy is built different. 

“We take pride in what we do. We take pride in how we play. And it’s going to continue to be that way, even at this level.”

Javon Bullard

Next Steps: Dynamite

With Xavier McKinney filling the Fee Safety role, Bullard’s physicality and versatility make him an ideal complement. The Packers said they wanted their next starting Safety to be “interchangeable,” meaning they could handle all the responsibilities asked of the position in Jeff Hafley’s defense enabling the Packers to mix and match how they use the two starters. Bullard’s combination of athleticism, instincts, and playmaking ability make him a perfect addition. Look for him to challenge for a starting position from day one of training camp this summer. 

Georgia Head Coach, Kirby Smart, describes Bullard’s hitting ability as being “like a little stick of dynamite.” Javon’s depth of character, self-awareness, consideration, leadership skills are palpable. I don’t know if these attributes will translate into on-the-field success, but it is already clear Packers scored a 10 out of 10 on the character scale with Javon. He’ll be a team leader and culture setter in short order, and I can’t wait to bear witness. 

Javon has a tattoo on his left arm that says “BET ON ME.” 

I will, sir. 

I will.