While general manager Brian Gutekunst re-signed free agent Kevin King and tendered restricted free agent Chandon Sullivan, the Green Bay Packers enter this draft with a pronounced need at cornerback.
King has played only 52 percent of the defensive snaps in his four seasons. After a strong 2019 season, King regressed in 2020. But at least he played. Josh Jackson, a second-round pick in 2018, and Ka’dar Hollman, a sixth-round pick in 2019, weren’t even on the gameday roster in the playoffs. Taking a longer-range view, King will be a free agent again next offseason, as will Jackson and Sullivan. Those factors make getting a cornerback or two a priority in this draft.
South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn is our No. 2-ranked cornerback.
Get to Know Jaycee Horn
With the New Orleans Saints, Joe Horn was a four-time Pro Bowl receiver. A fifth-round pick in 1996, he finished his NFL career with 603 receptions.
South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn is blazing his own path to the NFL as arguably the top cornerback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“I have a younger brother who plays receiver, my older brother plays receiver and my dad. I’m the only guy on the defensive side,” Jaycee Horn said at South Carolina’s pro day. “What’s crazy is my dad pushed me that way, just because of the aggression I had growing up and with my ball skills. He always harped on that if I could do that at the corner position, one day I would make a lot of money. I pick on my dad saying he wouldn’t be able to get over me, and we go back and forth about it a little bit.”
That was a good call by his father (pun definitely intended), because his son is about to make a lot of money. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. The Georgia native was a four-star recruit but one mostly overlooked by his home-state Bulldogs.
“It’s a combination of my dad and the way I was raised,” Horn said. “I come from a real competitive household. We’ve always been that way growing up with video games or whatever we were doing. Also, growing up in Atlanta and going to camps, the stars and rankings don’t mean anything in Georgia. Everywhere you go you have people at your neck competing. Even me being a high name recruit coming out of high school, I loved knowing people were at my neck with me being Joe Horn’s son. I love people trying to knock me off because of that. That’s where the chirpiness comes from.”
Horn opted out of the final three games of what turned out to be his final dominant season. His departure had nothing to do with preserving his NFL prospects. Instead, it was due to family tragedy.
“My mom and grandparents are from Mississippi,” he said. “My mom and two younger siblings went down there a couple weeks. My two younger siblings got COVID, my grandparents got it, and my aunt, who was considered high risk, got it. Ultimately, she passed. My main reason for opting out was to spend time with them, with my aunt especially, before I had to go out to train. After the season you don’t really have time to be with your family or anything. After I heard the news about my aunt, I wanted to spend time with my family before I moved on to the next stage of my life. I could tell you now if I could go back I’d do it again. I put my family before anything.”
Measureables, Stats and Scouting Report
Measureables: 6-foot 3/4, 205 pounds; 33-inch arms, 4.40 40, DNP shuttle, 41.5-inch vertical.
Stats and accolades: Horn started 29 games in three seasons, including all seven appearances in 2020, when he was named second-team all-conference. He recorded both career interceptions and recorded eight passes defensed in 2020. According to Sports Info Solutions, he ranks third in the draft class with 1.5 yards allowed per man-coverage snap, fifth with 1.3 receptions allowed per game and ninth with 18.6 yards allowed per game. He gave up a 31 percent catch rate and missed three tackles (18 percent). He played frequently in the slot (34 percent).
NFL Draft Bible says: The son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee Horn has the athletic skill set to create his own legacy on the defensive side of the ball. During his Gamecocks career, Horn has had a variety of reps both inside at nickel and on the outside. With superb size and plus athleticism, Horn has the physical profile to match up against a variety of sizes and play styles. He is incredibly physical at the line of scrimmage, showing a nice combination of hand strength and lateral mobility, profiling as the premier press-man cornerback in the entire 2021 class. In the run game, he flashes plus ability at the cornerback position. Horn is the type of player who can follow the opposing team’s top wide receiver all over the field, whether that be inside or outside. His hips are loose enough to transition both vertically or coming downhill. The box score will paint one picture about Horn, but his ball skills are a lot better than what the stat sheet might let on. He easily flips his hips, turns and makes plays on the ball.
About This Series
Packer Central is introducing you to the top prospects, both on and off the field, in this year’s NFL Draft.