Cornerback Should Be Green Bay's No. 1 Priority

RealFootball365.comSenior Writer IFebruary 28, 2008

The free agent market is thin, so a trade for a CB is the better option for Green Bay, and the name of Atlanta's DeAngelo Hall has come up in the rumor mill. If not, that leaves the April 26-27 draft, which luckily for the Packers appears to be deep at the position. 

Veterans Charles Woodson and Al Harris are Green Bay's starting cornerbacks, recognized by many as one of the best tandems in the NFL and arguably the top duo at playing the physical, bump-and-run style that the Packers employ.

However, the former Heisman Trophy winner Woodson (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) turns 32 in October, while Harris (6-1, 188) is 33; clearly, they're no longer spring chickens.

Neither one is blessed with great speed and Harris' dreadlocks aside, neither one will get any taller, a commodity that would help in a division that includes skyscraper wide receivers such as Detroit's Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson and in the same conference as Terrell Owens and Plaxico Burress.

Woodson made four Pro Bowls with Oakland before registering career highs with eight interceptions and 26 passes defended in 2006, his first season in Titletown. He picked off four more balls last year and should have gone to Hawaii, but Harris grabbed his first Pro Bowl selection despite only two interceptions. Woodson plays the run better, is more instinctive and has better ball skills.

Even if these two remain the starters, and I would argue that Harris should be replaced, Green Bay still needs cornerback talent and depth.

The Packers also have Tramon Williams (5-11, 185), Will Blackmon (6-0, 202) and Jarrett Bush (6-0, 197) in reserve, but they don't strike fear in opposing ball catchers.

Williams showed promise late in the season and took over as the primary punt returner when Woodson suffered toe and shoulder injuries. Blackmon would be the choice but has suffered major setbacks with foot injuries, something that doesn't bode well for somebody who has to chase guys who run 4.3 40s. Bush claimed the nickel or No. 3 spot out of camp but played his way back to special teams duty.

That leaves the draft, which features several intriguing options.

Leodis McKelvin of Troy (5-10, 190), Mike Jenkins of South Florida (6-0, 200) and Aqib Talib of Kansas (6-1, 200) are regarded the top prospects and could be gone in the first 15 picks and for certain before Green Bay's spot at No. 30.

Another name that keeps cropping up, and moving up teams' boards, is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, cousin of San Diego standout Antonio Cromartie. Dominique also might not be available after a strong combine performance.

Still, guys such as Justin King of Penn State (6-1, 190), Patrick Lee of Auburn (5-11, 195) and Tracy Porter of Indiana (5-10, 185) could be on the Packers radar for late first or second-round possibilities.

Regardless of which route it takes, Green Bay should add one and maybe two cornerbacks through the draft with the hopes that they hit it big and one of them grabs a starting role, which would move Woodson to a better-suited role in the slot.