Safety Follows Brother's Path

We talked to Ohio safety Donovan Fletcher, whose breakout senior year would make him an inviting target for the Packers, who could use depth and a special-teams performer.

Ohio's Donovan Fletcher knows what it's like to compete against NFL talent.

Fletcher's brother, Bradley, was a third-round draft pick out of Iowa by the St. Louis Rams in 2009 who emerged as a full-time starting cornerback in 2010.

"When we moved from Cleveland to Youngstown, one of our first bigger purchases was a basketball hoop," Donovan Fletcher told Packer Report this week. "We were only 21 months apart, so it was like, ‘Who's going to win this game?' I'm not going to lie to you: He was a better basketball player, but from competing against him, I got better. Because he had a better jump shot, I would have to play better defense since I knew most of my shots weren't going to go in. But when you asked if we'd play until 10 o'clock, that's dead-on. My mom would have to turn the light on and we'd be out there playing until one of us had enough."

Other than a couple starts as a junior, Fletcher was a career backup for the Bobcats — stuck behind Mike Mitchell, who was a second-round pick by Oakland in 2010. In 13 games as a senior, Fletcher emerged as the Bobcats' impact defensive player with a second-ranked 73 tackles and a team-high five interceptions.

Two of those picks came against Ohio State star Terrell Pryor in the third game of the season. That performance, which included a team-high nine tackles, served as a springboard to a terrific season that got him onto scouts' radars.

"I think that just shows that this guy can play the game," said Fletcher, who likely will be a priority undrafted free agent. "Sometimes they say that the conference matters, but to me, I'm just going against 11 guys, no matter if these 11 are supposedly ranked high. When it comes down to it, they're putting on the pads just like I am and we're going to go out there and play football and the outcome's the outcome. The (43-7 loss) isn't what we planned but no matter what the score was, I knew I was going to keep playing and I knew I could play against them."

The 5-foot-11 Fletcher turned in a strong performance at his pro day, held on a rainy, windy day in March. He splashed through his 40 in 4.59 seconds, with an impressive 38.5-inch vertical leap and a powerful 29 reps on the 225-pound bench press.

Fletcher, however, hopes scouts look beyond the numbers.

"The main thing I want them to know is they know how fast I can run and how high I can jump and how many bench reps I can do, but I feel it boils down to three factors," he said. "Can this prospect do the work that they intend for him to do? Will that prospect go out with the same motor or drive to play the game with the same kind of passion every time he steps on the field? And will this prospect be somebody that they want around their program and will they enjoy having him be a part of what they're trying to do? I feel I can answer ‘yes' to all three of those. That being said, I'm just looking for an opportunity. If given that opportunity, I will do everything I can to take advantage."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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