2018 Packers Off-Season Uncategorized Brian Gutekunst Combine Green Bay Packers NFL Combine Packers
The NFL Combine starts tomorrow kicking off draft-mania that has already been brewing since Packer Nation realized that they won’t have to stay up until midnight to hear their first round pick (or trade) named on April 26. This gathering is part Laff Olympics, part psychological evaluation kicked off with a lot of testing, poking and prodding by numerous doctors. While the results guarantee that the NFL has something to keep fans interested in and talking about, the actual translation to the sport of football may be minimal (at least the direct translation to football) and GM’s across the league will still have tough decisions to make. Be that as it may, the Combine is fun…it is. We get to see young potential stars talking together and competing against each other and the clock. GM’s get to watch with their coaching staff’s and discuss the players as they perform in front of them. And…there’s news. Yes, there’s NFL news for the first time since the Super Bowl. Press conferences and stories like when Reuben Foster got sent home from the Combine fuel the first expectations of players either rising or falling from their pre-Combine potential spots. Here are three defensive players for Packer Nation to keep an eye on.
1. Josh Jackson
The 6’1″ 192 pound Iowa Jr. cornerback ticks off a lot of the Packers’ known boxes including being a receiver turned cornerback. He is long, instinctive and a true ball hawk. Coming from Iowa, the Packers have no doubt about his football upbringing as they have had plenty of hits come out of the program. Jackson has to learn not to lean too hard into breaks and his top end speed is still a bit of a question mark but he definitely warrants close scrutiny at the Combine. We know he is rangy, and if he is also fast and fluid he could be a winner on a team that still has question marks in the defensive backfield.
The Packers drafted Kevin King last year and saw Damarious Randall take a step after a rough start to the 2017 season but King is coming off surgery, Randall can be volatile, and we don’t know what the plans for Davon House are. An addition like Jackson in the draft would mitigate the need for the Packers to seek and allow them to evaluate House, Quinten Rollins…and even guys like Herb Waters, who coach Joe Whitt Jr. is high on and determine whether they need to spend on a free agent or perhaps go after a pass rusher or offensive weapon in free agency.
I often say an offense is only as good as its third wide receiver. And new Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has said that a defense’s nickel corner is now a starter in the league. The latter reflects how good the former is becoming in this league and with league rules weighted toward the offense in general and scoring in the passing game in particular, Jackson could be a big boost to a defense that looks to be rejuvenated under a new coordinator and injected with new talent. Let’s take a look at Jackson in a highlight video by Drunken Prophet Productions and as you do please keep a couple things in mind:
1. I don’t have control of the music on these vids…mute as needed
2. These are highlight videos and are meant to show the best of a player (read “promo vid”)
I love this kid’s instincts and he is still young. As much as it hurts me to see him run back INT’s for TD’s against my Badgers, you have to respect, in the second pick in particular, the way that he drops his man for the curl-flat (LB’s responsibility) in support and with the tip, has the presence of mind to recover and the focus to make the interception. The rest is a walk. All indicators are that this kid is a leader and a blue collar worker. Wouldn’t expect anything else out of Iowa, enjoy: