Plenty of strong can­di­dates for first-round picks

Packer Plus - - News - HOW THEY GRADED

A cor­ner­back could be a fo­cus of the Pack­ers in the draft. For a look at how the Pack­ers’ fared in 2016 — and why a cor­ner­back could fac­tor into the Pack­ers’ draft plans — here’s a re­view of Bob McGinn’s player grades last sea­son: MAK­IN­TON DOR­LEANT: Feisty free agent was bat­tling fel­low rookie Josh Hawkins for the fi­nal berth at cor­ner­back when a ham­string in­jury sent him to in­jured re­serve for the first 11 games. He played five snaps on de­fense upon his re­turn be­fore a torn ACL ended his sea­son in Game 16. Grade: In­com­plete. DEMETRI GOODSON: Came off a four-game sus­pen­sion and stepped im­me­di­ately onto the field against Dal­las, Chicago and At­lanta, play­ing 145 snaps af­ter hav­ing played just 74 in his first two sea­sons. Per­formed com­pe­tently in two of the three games. Com­pet­i­tive ath­lete and solid tack­ler. Was show­ing de­vel­op­ment in cov­er­age. Blew out his knee in Game 10 and un­der­went sea­son-end­ing surgery. Grade: D-plus.

LaDARIUS GUNTER: Went to train­ing camp as the No. 4 cor­ner­back and ended camp as No. 4. He was No. 3 by Game 2, No. 2 by Game 4 and No. 1 from Game 5 on. An un­drafted rookie in 2015, Gunter ended up play­ing 1,082 snaps (85.7%). He shad­owed Julio Jones not once but twice, Dez Bryant and Odell Beck­ham Jr., among oth­ers. No mat­ter how hard he com­peted, Gunter didn’t have the speed or the skill to match up. He did his best. He forced two fum­bles. He was phys­i­cal. He frus­trated some far more ath­let­i­cally gifted op­po­nents. Gunter, how­ever, was burned more and more as the sea­son pro­gressed and teams dis­cov­ered his short­com­ings. He al­lowed 11½ passes of 20 yards or more, which still was 1½ fewer than Da­mar­i­ous Ran­dall last year, and eight TD passes. When in­juries mounted, Gunter wasn’t able to tackle ef­fec­tively and ended up miss­ing 10, the sec­ond high­est to­tal on the team. And he also

never in­ter­cepted a pass, drop­ping two. Grade: C-minus.

JOSH HAWKINS: Rookie free agent played well on de­fense and spe­cial teams all sum­mer. Maybe it was fool’s gold be­cause Hawkins was con­sid­ered too un­de­pend­able to get on the field de­spite the prob­lems at cor­ner­back. Af­ter blow­ing a cov­er­age late in the first half to give Detroit’s Marvin Jones a 73-yard TD, he was ban­ished for months un­til there was no al­ter­na­tive ex­cept to play him for 15 snaps in the play­offs against Dal­las. That wasn’t pretty, ei­ther. Hawkins also tied for the team lead in penal­ties on spe­cial teams with four, lead­ing to his re­moval for three weeks late in the sea­son. If the Pack­ers can

tol­er­ate mis­takes, he’ll be back in camp. Grade: F.

DA­MAR­I­OUS RAN­DALL: He was the player of the game on open­ing day in Jack­sonville. The next Sun­day, he was torched by Min­nesota’s Ste­fon Diggs. One week af­ter that, he left the field for what would be the first of count­less times due to ill­ness or in­jury. Many play­ers im­prove in their sec­ond sea­son. Ran­dall re­gressed. Even though his play­ing time was just 56.3%, he was re­spon­si­ble for 8½ TD passes. The last cor­ner in Green Bay to al­low that many was Al Har­ris in 2004. The last cor­ner to al­low more was Craig New­some (10½) in ’95. Ran­dall also al­lowed nine plays of 20 yards or more, was

an easy mark for QBs down the stretch and all too of­ten was a dis­in­ter­ested, timid tack­ler. The groin surgery he un­der­went Oct. 22 that forced him out of five games didn’t help. Ran­dall car­ried him­self with bravado but team­mates could see right through that. He was for­ever late lin­ing up, al­most as if he didn’t need to be in foot­ball po­si­tion at the snap. He has ball skills and speed. Two of his four picks (steal­ing the ball from Detroit’s Eric Ebron, rang­ing far to deny Seattle’s Doug Bald­win a long TD) were mag­nif­i­cent. But when a sec­ond-year player is as non-com­pet­i­tive as Ran­dall has been for the last 1½ sea­sons, it’s dif­fi­cult to ex­pect much change for the bet­ter. Grade: D.

QUIN­TEN ROLLINS: His sec­ond sea­son was al­most as dis­ap­point­ing as Ran­dall’s. He ap­peared to lose con­fi­dence in cov­er­age, re­peat­edly failed to lo­cate the ball down­field, and didn’t tackle well. Some scouts feared Rollins’ 4.54 speed might not be good enough for him to play out­side. So far, those scouts were right. In­juries and poor per­for­mance lim­ited him to 58.4% play­ing time. Af­ter not al­low­ing a sin­gle TD pass as a rookie Rollins yielded 4½ to go with eight com­ple­tions of 20 yards or more. The ball skills that he dis­played for one sea­son in the Mid-Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence haven’t trans­lated to the NFL. His only pick was tipped to him by Gunter, and he hasn’t forced or re­cov­ered a fum­ble in two years. On the plus side, he didn’t have a penalty in ei­ther sea­son. Rollins prob­a­bly would be phys­i­cal enough to play safety but the Pack­ers don’t need him there. Grade: D. HERB WA­TERS: A four-year WR at Mi­ami, Wa­ters did an ad­e­quate job as a rookie free agent be­fore be­ing cut Sept. 3. The Pack­ers signed him to the prac­tice squad and moved him to CB. He has the size (5-11½, 192), speed (4.50), ath­leti­cism (38½-inch ver­ti­cal) and arm length (325⁄ 8) to play the po­si­tion. Re­garded as a rugged blocker and good spe­cial-teams player in col­lege, he might have tough­ness for de­fense. Grade: Inc.


Pack­ers cor­ner­backs Da­mar­i­ous Ran­dall (left) and Quin­ten Rollins strug­gled in their sec­ond sea­son and failed to make key plays.

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