Matt Ludtke/Associated Press
It's not a surprise that Micah Hyde will be starting for the Green Bay Packers in 2014. After all, he was solid enough at cornerback to rank 40th at the position in Pro Football Focus (subscription required) rankings in 2013.
That's a pretty impressive debut for the fifth-round rookie out of Iowa, outplaying several more highly drafted corners in his class.
No, the surprise with Hyde is that he will be moving to safety.
That position has been a bugaboo for the Packers for years. A rotating cast of M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian, Charlie Peprah and even a badly faded Charles Woodson have tried in recent seasons, but nobody has clicked with the decidedly average Morgan Burnett as a combination.
It surely seemed like the role would immediately go to 2014 first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the rangy and savvy youngster from Alabama. Yet right now, Hyde sits atop the depth chart.
Per Jason Wilde of ESPN, Hyde has been getting the first-team action in minicamp: "Micah Hyde is still working ahead of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at safety with the No. 1 defense."
The Packers do have an interesting mix of depth at cornerback, particularly if Tramon Williams can rebound from two substandard seasons and Casey Hayward remain healthy. Hyde lacks the great size for a safety at just 5'11" and 197 pounds, but he does offer toughness to go with his proven coverage skills.
In an NFC North chock full of premium passing-game weapons, having safeties who can cover is an absolute necessity.
What's also surprising and, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN notes, a new development is Packers head coach Mike McCarthy's aversion to playing rookies on defense. After all, it worked pretty well for Hyde last season.
All statistical and biographical information is from NFL.com unless otherwise specified.
Jeff Risdon is a featured columnist for the Detroit Lions at Bleacher Report. He also is the founder/editor of Detroit Lions Draft and the Senior NFL/Draft writer for RealGM. You can interact with him on Twitter @JeffRisdon.