Draft Exclusive: Corner Visiting

In our 48th draft exclusive, Packer Report talked to this two-time All-American a few days before he made his pre-draft stop in Green Bay. The statistics during his three years as a starter are astounding, and his versatility matches that of one of his favorite players, Charles Woodson.

Southern Illinois' Korey Lindsey switched his number from 24 to 21 for a reason.

"I wanted to be the complete cornerback," the two-time first-team All-American told Packer Report a few days before making a pre-draft visit to Green Bay that began on Monday. "These days, you have guys labeled as tackling corners or cover corners but I didn't want to be either one of those. I wanted to be a complete guy. I like to cover, I like to tackle, I can even return. That's the one thing I've tried to add from guys like Charles Woodson. He's a complete corner. He can play inside as the nickel guy, he can play outside as the corner and he can even return."

Lindsey was an all-state player as a junior and senior at Scotlandville High School in Baton Rouge, La., but somehow was missed by the elite schools, including LSU. So, Lindsey picked Southern Illinois, a Football Championship Subdivision-level school in Carbondale, Ill.

"I got left behind basically," he said, "and that's been the chip that I brought with me to Southern Illinois, and it's propelled me through college to continue to try to develop and get better every year."

At 5-foot-10 1/2, Lindsey is right on the borderline for consideration by general manager Ted Thompson, who in his six previous drafts in Green Bay hasn't selected a corner shorter than 6-foot. But Lindsey has all the tools the Packers covet.

First and foremost, he's outstanding in coverage, whether it's on the outside or in the slot. In 36 games as a starter, opposing quarterbacks completed a measly 26.3 percent of their passes. As a senior, quarterbacks averaged an astoundingly low 0.87 yards per pass attempt against Lindsey — the best rate in the nation. And while opposing offenses game-planned away from him, he still managed his second consecutive season of six interceptions. That's only two less than the eight completions he allowed (on 67 attempts, or 12.0 percent).

In his last two seasons, Lindsey sent eight receivers and seven running backs to the sideline because of his hits.

And while that production came against second-tier competition, the athletic ability is there. During a recent workout in front of scouts from 23 teams — including the Packers — Lindsey ran a 4.36 40, with a 40-inch vertical leap and 24 reps on the 225-pound bench press.

That's made Lindsey a man in demand, especially after he was inexplicably a snub from the Scouting Combine despite being one of the top small-school cornerbacks in the draft. His trek to Green Bay was his 10th pre-draft visit.

"It's been a way for them to get to know me, to put a face on the player they've seen on film," he said.

Lindsey played a lot of zone in a veteran secondary as a junior but almost nothing but man as the leader of a young defensive back group as a senior. He even returned punts with modest success. He has superb study habits and rarely gets fooled, and takes well to hard coaching, which he would get in Green Bay under cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. Moreover, scouts say he's a high-character player, and Lindsey said he's a "mellow guy" who prefers to spend his free time with his 2-year-old daughter, Kennedi.

"I haven't thought about it too much," Lindsey said of being drafted. "I just kind of want the moment to be special and let it creep in on me. I've kind of been going through the process and being grateful and humble about the situation, because I know there are a lot of guys out there who would love to be in my shoes. Hopefully on draft day, it'll all just come down on me and hit me and I'll get that one big moment that I've always dreamed of. I've tried to make all the right decisions to get to this point. I'm excited about the day and I can't wait for it to get here.

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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.

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