Anthony Bratton visited the Packers on Wednesday and Thursday, a league source told Packer Report.
"It was awesome," Bratton told Packer Report on Saturday. "I really enjoyed it. They showed me a real good time. They gave me a tour of the facilities – they have top-notch facilities. I walked through their Hall of Fame and they gave me a tour of the entire building and walked onto the field and everything. I was really impressed."
While fellow Delaware safety Anthony Walters is considered one of the rising prospects among the safeties, Bratton is no slouch. He earned third-team All-American honors from The Associated Press following a senior season in which he finished second on the team with 99 tackles, broke up a team-high 12 passes, picked off two passes and forced two fumbles.
Assuming Morgan Burnett will be healthy upon his return from a torn ACL, the Packers have little need to spend a high draft pick on a safety. Safety is a position of need, however, for depth purposes and to upgrade the coverage units on special teams. Veteran Atari Bigby is a free agent and isn't expected to be re-signed, and fellow veteran Anthony Smith is a free agent, though the door clearly is open for his return, according to a source. In case neither return, that would leave the Packers with Super Bowl starters Nick Collins and Charlie Peprah, Burnett and practice-squad players Anthony Levine and Michael Greco.
Bratton's visit, like most pre-draft visits, included taking a physical, meeting the coaches and going over his film. After starting 14 games as a sophomore in 2007, Bratton recorded nine tackles in the 2008 opener against Maryland but tore a ligament in his knee at practice the next week. Bratton returned to start for most of 2009 (missing two games with an ankle injury) before his impact senior season.
Bratton (6-0, 213) confirmed his athleticism during his pro day, with a 40-yard time as fast as 4.46 with an explosive 37-inch vertical leap.
"They want to feel you out a little bit," Bratton said, "and you go over film and talk about the way you played and your schemes, the way you played in college and the schemes that they play and how you might with their defense."
Like the Packers' defensive scheme, Delaware's defense doesn't have a true strong safety or free safety. Instead, the players are interchangeable. That ability to play in the box or cover a tight end, as well as Bratton's role as the communicator of a senior-laden secondary, certainly will be appealing to safeties coach Darren Perry.
The obvious question is whether Bratton can play in the NFL after facing subpar competition for most of his collegiate career. Bratton, however, points to the school having sent Joe Flacco, Mike Adams and Ben Patrick to the NFL in recent years. As a senior, Delaware faced four of FCS's top 10 teams during the regular season before advancing to the national championship game.
"No, there's no doubt in my mind that I can make it," he said. "I feel like I can play with the best. I have the size and the speed. I just want a team to give me the chance to prove that to them."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.