17

March

How Overpaid Is Sam Shields?

Sam Shields is one happy camper.

Sam Shields is one happy camper.

Ted Thompson likely got done with his top priority this offseason when he resigned cornerback Sam Shields to a 4 year deal worth a total of $39 million.  At the time, reactions were rather mixed; many national writers who don’t cover the Packers specifically probably didn’t know too much about Shields and as a result many were taken aback by the size of the contract.  Few writers even predicted that it would set the pace for free agent signings, and contracts were going to be sizably bigger than previous years; so far this has yet to pan out and likely won’t.

For Packers beat writers, the response was a lot more subdued, while Shields did receive a hefty contract, there were times where Shields was obviously the best cornerback on the team and considering Ted Thompson almost never gets suckered in free agency (mostly because you can’t lose when you don’t play), Packers beat writers just assumed that Thompson likely got good value for a player who had other options.

So how much did the Packers really “overpay” for Shields?  Now that free agency is fully underway, I’ve compiled a list of the top free agent cornerback additions and compared the contracts they received with that the contract Shields received. PFF 3 stands for the 3 year average of that player’s grades from ProFootballFocus while PFF+ is the best season that player recorded in the last 3 years.  Before we start, I’ve intentionally left out perhaps the biggest free agent cornerback, Darrelle Revis, who was recently cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and signed by the New England Patriots 4 hours later with a 1 year $12 million deal with a purported $10 million guaranteed.

My primary reason for leaving Revis out is his contract demands and penchant for holding out are well known and therefore his contracts have always been unusual for a cornerback, starting from holding out as a rookie to get a bigger contract than his draft slot, holding out again with multiple years left on his rookie contract, and of course the bizarre contract he signed with the Buccaneers which netted him $16 million yearly but with 0 guaranteed money.  Simply put every once in a while there is a player that defies convention and logic and teams typically disregard these contracts when trying to establish fair value; Mario Williams, Ndamukong Suh and Tony Romo’s contracts are prime examples of contracts gone awry and not actual market value of a player.

27

April

Packers 2013 NFL Draft – Fifth Round Pick: Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa

Micah Hyde, CB Iowa

Micah Hyde, CB Iowa

With their fifth round pick (159th overall) in the 2013 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Micah Hyde, a CB out of University of Iowa.

 

PLAYER DETAILS: 
Micah Hyde
CB
Iowa
6’0″/197lbs

 

CAREER NOTES: 

From NFL.com:

After making four tackles while playing in every game of his true freshman season, Hyde became a playmaker as a full-time starting cornerback in 2010. League media gave him honorable mention notice due to his 82 tackles, four interceptions, seven pass breakups. He also scored twice that season, returning a pitch 66 yards for a touchdown after safety Tyler Sash intercepted a Michigan State pass, and providing the winning points in the team’s 27-24 Insight Bowl victory over Missouri by bringing back an interception 72 yards. Hyde worked at safety during spring 2011 practices, and started the first two games there in the fall before moving back to cornerback for the final 11 games. His three interceptions and eight pass break-ups helped him earn second-team All-Big Ten honors from league media (honorable mention by coaches). Hyde had a fantastic senior season as he finished with 78 tackles, 14 pass breakups, one interception, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. He was named first-team All-Big Ten.

 

COMBINE: 
4.56 40 yard dash, 12 bench, 33″ vertical, 121.0″ broad, 6.78 3 cone, 4.2 shuttle

 

SCOUTING REPORT:  (NFL.COM)

STRENGTHS

Effective zone defender with the closing speed and length to knock away passes or make the interception. Height, vertical, and strong hands allow him to snatch jump balls away and knock away throws between levels of the defense. Uses his length to keep receivers off his body in the run game and prevent ballcarriers from stiff arming him in space, also uses his hands and upper-body strength to rip off blocks. Aggressive run defender. Comes downhill in a hurry to chop down running backs. Wraps up receivers after the catch. Special teams contributor.

WEAKNESSES

Teams might be split on his best NFL position. Average recovery speed at cornerback, must prove himself in man coverage as he will fail to stay with receivers downfield. Loses track of receivers in space, gets caught looking into the backfield or stops running while looking for the ball down the sideline. Looks tight in the hips, will struggle to consistently turn and run. Ducks his head at times trying to make open-field tackles and is not a physically imposing free safety.

13

April

NFL Draft Prospect: Xaiver Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Xavier Rhodes

Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: Cornerback Xavier Rhodes

Player Information:

Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback, Florida State University

6’2″, 217 pounds

Hometown: Miami, FL

STATS

NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.43

225-pound bench: 14 reps

Vertical: 40 1/2″

Broad:  132″

News and Notes:

Rhodes posted the top stat for vertical and broad jump results among cornerbacks at this year’s NFL Combine. . . started all three seasons at Florida State. . .after being in a three-man rotation and suffering a severe knee sprain in 2011, he played full time in 2012 tallying 39 total tackles, two of which went for a loss, one forced fumble and seven pass breakups, three of which were intercepted

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com: ”Rhodes is strong for the position with a solidly-built frame and excellent arm length. He loves to jam and get physical in press coverage, getting in the face of receivers at the line of scrimmage and staying aggressive through the whistle.”
  • NFL.com: “Big frame and size for the position. Press corner that likes to have a hand on his opponent at all times. Consistently does get some kind of contact or jam when pressing, remains balanced without overextending. Contact is the arm mirroring the release side. Stays with quick twitch cuts and release with equally fast movements.”

 

 

Video Analysis:

  • Likes to press the receiver and is physical off the snap
  • Needs to work on turning his head in coverage and contact past five yards
  • Extremely fast and can stay with his man
  • Long arms help create very good ball skills
  • Good in run support but does struggle with misdirection
  • Hits hard, is not afraid of contact but does occasionally miss when lunging

If drafted by the Packers:

7

June

The Irreplaceable Charles Woodson

Charles Woodson

The Irreplaceable Charles Woodson

A lot of talk has been centered lately on Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson. Just yesterday, the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2012 revealed that he had been voted as the 36th best player in the league. But the big question on the minds of fans and pundits alike is: how much longer can he keep it up?

Entering into his seventh season with the team, Woodson is a 15-year veteran who will be turning 36 in October. He has just about seen and done it all, and is likely on the path towards becoming an NFL Hall of Fame member after retirement. One more Super Bowl win might just secure a spot for Woodson among that legendary group.

Charles Woodson currently ties for 20th among the NFL’s all-time career interception leaders with 54, and he is just one interception return for a touchdown away from tying the record held by former Pittsburgh Steeler Rod Woodson.

The story of Woodson’s arrival in Green Bay has been recounted numerous times. In 2006, he left his 8-year stint with Oakland for free agency after the Raiders made no attempt to re-sign him. Picking him up, however, was considered by many to be a risky proposition due to his injury history, coming off a broken leg in 2005.

But along came Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers, who were feeling some pressure after their worst season record since 1991. A slew of injuries to key offensive players, the release of Darren Sharper, and the allowance for Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle to walk in free agency would lead to a dismal 4-12 season. It was the first season as General Manager for Thompson, and it would become the last season as Head Coach for Mike Sherman.

It almost seemed like fate brought the two together.

Brett Favre, whose retirement was starting to become a question mark, was reportedly urging the Packers’ brass to make some “high-profile additions” to the roster. After signing veteran defensive lineman Ryan Pickett just a month earlier, Ted Thompson made a 7-year, $52 million deal to secure Woodson. It has since become his most notable free agency signing across his 8-year tenure as GM.

Of course, as Charles Woodson has admitted freely, he “did not want to come to Green Bay,” but was forced to when they became the only team to offer him a contract.

24

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia

Georgia CB Brandon Boykin

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia

Player information:

  • Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
  • 5-foot-9, 182 lbs.
  • Broke his leg during the Senior Bowl, which robbed him of the opportunity to compete at the combine and Georgia Pro Day.

NFL Combine (DNP, leg):

  • N/A 40-yard dash
  • N/A 20-yard shuttle
  • N/A 3-cone drill
  • N/A broad jump
  • N/A vertical jump
  • N/A bench press reps

News & Notes:

A prep star in Georgia, Boykin stayed home and went to school in Athens. He appeared in 13 games his freshman season before going on to start 38 of the next 40 games for the Bulldogs. A jack-of-all-trades, Boykin registered nine interceptions, 19 tackles for losses and 18 passes broken up on defense, plus five return scores and three offensive touchdowns. He became the first player in SEC history to score three or more touchdowns of 100 yards. While Boykin is definitely on the short side (5-9) for cornerbacks, players his array of skills are hard to find. Boykin represents good value in the second round or later at a position that has three good players but struggled in 2011.

What they’re saying about him:

Frank Cooney (CBS Sports):  “Boykin may have a small frame, but he came up big to win the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player in 2011. He is a formidable athlete as both a cornerback and a kick returner. Boykin, who may run 40 yards under 4.4 seconds, had three touchdowns on kickoff returns as a sophomore, two for 100 yards each and then added another in 2010 to become the only player in SEC history with three plays of at least 100 yards. He is hardly bashful as a corner, where he surprises bigger opponents by getting right in their face as much as he can rather than playing off and using his speed to catch up.”

National Football Post (Wes Bunting): ”Plays much bigger/strong than his frame would indicate. Has the ability to press on the edge, but might be better suited to play as a slot guy in the NFL. Either way can play a role on a defense in either a man or zone scheme.”

19

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Janzen Jackson, S/CB, McNeese State

S Janzen Jackson, McNeese State

Green Bay Packers 2012 NFL draft prospect profile: Janzen Jackson, McNeese State

Player information:

  • Janzen Jackson, S/CB, McNeese State
  • 5-foot-11, 188 lbs.
  • Impressive athlete who transferred out of Tennessee after run-ins with the law and a clash with new coaching staff.

NFL Combine:

  • 4.64 40-yard dash
  • 4.15 20-yard shuttle
  • 6.90 3-cone drill
  • 125″ broad jump
  • 36.5″ vertical jump
  • 9 bench press reps

News & Notes:

A five-star recruit and one of the more heavily recruited players coming out of high school…Started in the second game of his freshman year at Tennessee and went on to start nine more in 2009…As a sophomore, led Tennessee with five interceptions…Was only Volunteer to earn All-SEC honors in 2010 as a second-teamer…Numerous character concerns, including an arrest for armed robbery and charges of substance abuse…Left UT in the spring of 2011, was welcomed back by coach Derek Dooley in July and then dismissed at the end of August…Transferred to McNeese State, in his hometown, where he started at both cornerback and safety. Intercepted three passes…Might be in the hybrid cornerback/safety mold at the next level…Red flags will knock Jackson down many boards…Far from “Packers People”—would be interesting to see if GM Ted Thompson even has him on his board—but talent and ability to play a hybrid role (i.e. Charles Woodson) makes him an intriguing prospect for Green Bay.

What they’re saying about him:

Rob Rang (CBS Sports): “Lean, athletic build with plenty of room for additional muscle mass. Legitimate NFL-caliber athlete. Possesses good straight-line speed, fluid hips to turn and run and explosiveness out of his breaks. Good vision and anticipation as a free safety. Reads the quarterback’s eyes and gets an excellent break on the ball. Is a considerably bigger hitter than his slight frame would lead you to believe. Closes quickly and generates an explosive collision on impact that can separate the football.”

National Football Post (Wes Bunting): “A talented kid who can run, track the football and can be a violent striker on contact. However, isn’t the most sound of wrap-up guys, is raw with his footwork and has character concerns. Nevertheless, has the talent to play in the NFL and should get a shot because of his ability to run and strike.”

6

January

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and CB Charles Woodson Named to AP All-Pro Team

Charles Woodson was named to his sixth AP All-Pro team on Friday.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been named to the Associated Press 2011 NFL All-Pro Team after receiving 47.5 of the 50 total votes, the AP announced Friday. Rodgers was joined on the team by Packers cornerback Charles Woodson.

Rodgers threw for a franchise-record 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns in leading the Packers to a 15-1 regular season record and the NFC’s No.1 seed. He also set the NFL record for passer rating in a season with a 122.5 mark, eclipsing Peyton Manning’s mark of 121.1 set in 2004.

2011 will be the first season in which Rodgers has earned All-Pro honors.

Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints record-breaking quarterback, received the other 2.5 votes. The wide discrepancy in votes almost ensures that Rodgers will also be the NFL’s MVP, which is scheduled to be announced in February on the night before the Super Bowl.

Woodson earned his sixth AP All-Pro selection of his career (1999, 2000, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11) despite the Packers allowing the most passing yards in NFL history this season. The 35-year-old Woodson was tied for the NFL lead in interception in 2011 with seven, marking the second time in his career that he’s either led or tied in interceptions for a season. He also had two sacks and forced and recovered a fumble.

Fullback John Kuhn, receiver Jordy Nelson, right tackle Bryan Bulaga, center Scott Wells, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, and outside linebacker Clay Matthews also received votes at their respective positions.

AP 2011 NFL ALL-PROS

QB AARON RODGERS, PACKERS
RB MAURICE JONES-DREW, JAGUARS
RB LESEAN MCCOY, EAGLES
FB VONTA LEACH, RAVENS
WR CALVIN JOHNSON, LIONS
WR WES WELKER, PATRIOTS
TE ROB GRONKOWSKI, PATRIOTS
T JASON PETERS, EAGLES
T JOE THOMAS, BROWNS
G CARL NICKS, SAINTS
G JAHRI EVANS, SAINTS
C MAURKICE POUNCEY, STEELERS
DE JARED ALLEN, VIKINGS
DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL, GIANTS
DT HALOTI NGATA, RAVENS
DT JUSTIN SMITH, 49ERS
LB TERRELL SUGGS, RAVENS
LB DEMARCUS WARE, COWBOYS
LB PATRICK WILLIS, 49ERS
LB NAVARRO BOWMAN, 49ERS
LB DERRICK JOHNSON, CHIEFS
CB DARRELLE REVIS, JETS
CB CHARLES WOODSON, PACKERS
S TROY POLAMALU, STEELERS
S ERIC WEDDLE, CHARGERS
K DAVID AKERS, 49ERS
P ANDY LEE, 49ERS
KR PATRICK PETERSON, CARDINALS