Despite enviable depth at the cornerback position, the Green Bay Packers are obviously not above stockpiling talent in their secondary.
With the first of their two fifth-round picks, the Packers bypassed more obvious needs and took Iowa cornerback (via espn.com) Micah Hyde, marking the third time in as many years that Green Bay has used at least one pick on the position.
Hyde now joins Casey Hayward (second round, 2012) and Davon House (fourth round, 2011) as cornerbacks selected by the Packers over the last three drafts.
He'll also join a position filled to the brim with competition, including incumbent starters Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, veteran Jarrett Bush and the aforementioned up-and-comers, Hayward and House.
How does Hyde fit into such a talented and diverse group?
Here'a a look at how the former Iowa cornerback might work for the Packers.
Role: Versatile in the secondary, special teams?
Hyde could find a role as a special teams player early in his career.
A willing tackler and instinctual in space, Hyde should be a natural option to cover both punts and kicks. If he's good enough in such a role, he could eventually push a veteran like Bush out of a roster spot.
But beyond just covering on special teams, Hyde also provides vast collegiate experience returning punts. Such an asset could certainly appeal to the Packers, who likely want Randall Cobb's focus more on becoming the league's next great slot receiver instead of worrying about getting injured on punt returns.
Over his final two seasons at Iowa, Hyde returned 27 punts for 182 yards (6.7 yards per return), with a long of 30. Obviously not great numbers, but the experience is there.
Hyde's immediate value to the defense is harder to pin down.
While a three-year starter at cornerback, Hyde also gained experience playing free safety (two starts in 2011)—a position that remains up for grabs in Green Bay. At just 197 pounds, however, Hyde would likely need to put on significant weight to be a viable safety at the next level.
He'll be strictly a CB at the start of his NFL career. But difficulties expected for Hyde—including turning his hips and running with receivers and playing man-to-man coverage—might force Green Bay to eventually give him a shot at safety.
In my evaluation, Hyde appeared much more comfortable in a zone setting, where he could read what was happening in front of him and react. He recorded eight interceptions at Iowa, with many of them coming on plays where he sat down and successfully anticipated a pass.
Even if Green Bay keeps Hyde at cornerback long term, his versatility to play outside, inside over the slot and in the backend at safety has to be appealing to defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
A versatile, ball-hawking defensive back, Hyde should provide the Packers with a number of future options for using him in their secondary.
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