Green Bay Packers Draft 2012: 5 Players Who Can Improve the Pack's Secondary
With Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins still seeking medical clearance after a career-threatening neck injury, the team may choose to address issues in the secondary during the NFL Draft. It is uncertain whether Collins will be able to regain his level of play, let alone step foot on the football field.
While the Packers had their fair share of defensive issues, the play in the secondary certainly was an Achilles heel at times. At other times, the secondary was put in bad situations being forced to cover for impossible amounts of time due to a docile pass rush.
In the draft, the Packers will likely had some form of help to their defensive backfield. Here are some potential options.
Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
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B/R's own Matt Miller's has had the Packers using their first-round draft pick to select Jamell Fleming out of Oklahoma. Fleming's draft stock has been rising over the last couple months and has been ranked anywhere from the first round down to the early fourth.
Fleming would help out the Packers immediately as one of the more talented cornerbacks in the draft class.
If the Packers lose their fourth corner Jarrett Bush, Fleming could be ready once the season begins to take over and help the possible transition of Charles Woodson from corner to safety.
Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
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In draft expert Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, the Packers select safety Harrison Smith out of Notre Dame with their first-round pick. While plenty of mocks have the Packers addressing their lack of pass rush in the first round, this pick could fill a big hole in Nick Collins gets bad news from doctors in March regarding his playing status.
Without Collins, the Packers could be looking at a defensive backfield that features rising star Morgan Burnett paired with Charlie Peprah, who struggled in 2010.
Damien Jackson, S, Mississippi
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If the Packers don't like what they see in the first few rounds at the safety position, they may select Damien Jackson out of Mississippi to give Charlie Peprah and M.D. Jennings a run for their money.
Jackson's most frequently projected as a fifth-round prospect.
At Mississippi, Jackson played both safety positions, something that has been important for the Packers in the last two years where Morgan Burnett and Collins each suffered season-ending injuries in back-to-back years.
At 6'2", Jackson is a larger safety, something the Packers haven't had.
Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
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If the Packers go cornerback in Round 2, Brandon Boykin out of Georgia could be the guy. With an impressive Senior Bowl performance, Boykin has even slipped into the first round of some mock drafts.
With Jarrett Bush facing free agency and Woodson's future at the position in question, Boykin could be a great pickup in the second round if the Packers choose to address the pass rush or another area in the first round of the draft.
Boykin isn't a very big prospect at 5'9" but showed during Senior Bowl practices that he can make up for his small stature with his aggressiveness.
Aaron Henry, FS, Wisconsin
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Just like with other safeties, the Packers could be looking to fill a big hole come draft day. Another option to fill that hole is Aaron Henry out of Wisconsin in the third or fourth round of the draft.
Henry is ranked by multiple sites as the third-best free safety in the draft class. If Nick Collins comes back, Henry will fight for a roster with Charlie Peprah and M.D. Jennings. If not, Henry will be fighting for playing time with the others.