GREEN BAY, Wis. – In each of his three drafts, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has been aggressive in the first round. He traded down and back up to get cornerback Jaire Alexander in 2018, up for safety Darnell Savage in 2019 and up for quarterback Jordan Love in 2020.
With the NFL Draft almost a week away, NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday said he expects Gutekunst to be wheeling and dealing again. This time, though, it could be a trade out of the first round.
“I would bet they'll be on the move again,” Jeremiah said. “When you look at where they are and what they need, and you look at those early second-round corners that could be there, you look at some offensive line depth, to me that kind of screams getting out of one and getting some extra picks. They’re a prime candidate to me to slide back a little bit.”
The Packers enter the draft with a need at cornerback, even with the re-signing of veteran Kevin King. Jeremiah said that would be a logical target, mentioning Florida State’s Asante Samuel and the Georgia duo of Eric Stokes as Tyson Campbell as possibilities.
“They’re going to be playing with a lead,” Jeremiah said. “I want corners with ball skills (who) can make plays on the ball, and (Samuel) and Jaire Alexander, (it would) be fun to watch those guys. They both play the ball so well. That would be some names to keep an eye on there.”
Jeremiah was asked specifically about a few players who could be available at No. 29. His answers:
Jeremiah on Florida State CB Asante Samuel Jr.
“I think Asante Samuel is one of those guys who a lot of teams are high on and maybe he hasn't got as much buzz. He doesn't fit everyone. If you want to play off and just let him see the field, see through the receiver to the quarterback and drive and make plays, he's going to be coveted. The only knock when you watched him on tape was just how much pure juice does he have, how much top speed? He wasn't really challenged vertically in any of the games I studied, so I was curious about that and he goes and runs 4.38. So, he answered the bell on that one.
Jeremiah on Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II
He's a really loose, fluid athlete, so you start there. His movement stuff is phenomenal. He's got incredible ball skills. He can find and play the ball, which, to me, is the No. 1 non-negotiable for me at that position. You've got to be able to find and play the ball. He does that really well. The one thing in talking to teams, they have concerns about, you put it in the negative column, he's missed a lot of games. He's missed some games in just about every year, so from a durability standpoint he gets dinged a little bit. But everything else checks out.
Jeremiah on Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley
“He's had a couple back procedures. If you are comfortable with him medically; he was like my fifth or sixth player in the draft. He's a freak show. I was around (three-time Pro Bowl cornerback) Chris McAlister; that's who he reminded me of. He is a big-time, big-time talent. That just comes down to your doctors and what their comfort level is with him physically. If they give you the OK and he passes, shoot, that would be a home run pick. …
“You wish you could have had that procedure done a little bit earlier so that they could watch you move around and confirm that you were kind of back to what we've seen on the video, which is outstanding. He's got rare movement skills for a big corner. If your medical staff has done their work and they give you the clean bill of health and there's not a long-term risk and they give you the thumbs up, absolutely, he's somebody you go move up for. I think he's the most talented corner in the whole draft. That's one of those decisions that's really not going to be made by general managers, it's going to be made by your doctor.”
Jeremiah on Alabama DT Christian Barmore
“He could sneak into the back end of one (the first round). I think more than likely he goes in Round 2. He fits the profile of what traditionally are the second-round guys in that he's a little bit of a boom-bust player where you have high highs and then you've got some inconsistent lower lows. Some of the stuff that you had to do at Alabama, I don't know if that suited him. To me, he's more of an up-field guy, let him use his athleticism to attack an edge and work upfield. Asking him to play blocks and hang in there, that's really not his style, even though he's a big guy at 6-foot-4, 310. To me, he's a 3-technique who has got some real athleticism to jump in gaps, get up field, and go. That puts him, for me, in the second-round mix. I think he's my 42nd player. So, that's kind of where I have him. Would I be shocked if he were to go [late in the first round]? I don't think that's a big reach.”