Cornerback Becomes Priority

With Davon House signing with Jacksonville and Tramon Williams perhaps following him out the door, here is a look at four first-round cornerback possibilities who could be available with pick No. 30.

Davon House will play in Jacksonville.

Tramon Williams might play in New Orleans.

The Green Bay Packers need a cornerback and probably will have to add one early in this year’s draft.

Three or four players could be in play for the Packers with the 30th pick of this year’s draft.

Marcus Peters, Washington (6-0, 197; 4.53): On talent, Peters might be challenging to be the No. 1 corner off the board. In three seasons, Peters had 11 interceptions and broke up 35 passes. Quarterbacks were 6-of-32 against him 2014 and 18-of-80 in 2013.

There are major questions, though. He was kicked off the team in November. While both Peters and the school have denied a report that Peters was seen by a scout choking a Washington assistant at practice, there’s no denying that Peters and Huskies coach Chris Petersen continually butted heads.

Peters said he would have kicked himself off the team — long before Petersen did. To his credit, even after being kicked off the team, he helped his former teammates with their assignments. He’s patched things up with the coaching staff, as well. So, on the surface, it seems like Peters is a changed man.

“It humbled me a real lot,” Peters said at the Combine. “And what really has humbled me is me having a child. Me bringing a child into this world has really humbled me a whole lot because now I have to be able to provide for someone other than myself. I have someone that is looking up to me a lot so I have to be 100 percent mature.”

That all sounds good but but Johnny Manziel said all the right things at this time last year, too. And that Peters is using Marshawn Lynch as a mentor has some scouts wondering, as well.

Speaking generally and not about Peters specifically, Packers general manager Ted Thompson said: “We’re not trying to say that we’re soothsayers or we can look inside somebody’s mind. I like to try to figure out, if we can in 15 minutes, if this guy’s is a good fit for your team.”

Quinten Rollins, Miami (Ohio) (5-11, 195; 4.57): There are big questions about Rollins, too, though of a different variety. Rollins was named the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year with his MAC-leading seven interceptions. And that’s it for his college football resume. Before that? He was a standout basketball player for the RedHawks. He’s 12th on the MAC’s all-time list with 214 steals and is fourth in school history with 391 assists.

“Imagine if this guy had four years of experience under his belt,” an area scout said.

He’s not just a ballhawk. According to the league’s scouting report, his 29 tackles against the run limited those plays to 23 yards. His physicality has been compared to that of the Steelers’ Ike Taylor.

“I wouldn’t say I surprised myself, because if anyone knows what I’m capable of, it’s me,” Rollins said at the Combine. “I just didn’t expect it to come that fast. I thought I’d have a solid year but to have a year like that, it was special. I just can’t do nothing but say I was blessed and fortunate and hopefully just more seasons to come.”

P.J. Williams, Florida State (6-0, 194; 4.57): Williams was first-team all-ACC as a junior in 2014 with one interception, 11 passes defensed and 6.5 tackles for losses. He had three interceptions in 2013, including a huge one to help rally Florida State in the national championship game. Quarterbacks were 11-of-78 and picked up only five first downs against him in 2014. His 40 time leads to questions about his position, as well.

“I think P.J. Williams could still be a first-round corner at the end of the day because of his length,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “Some teams are looking at him inside (at safety), but I think most of the teams will continue to look at him outside in the NFL's continuing quest to get longer.”

Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest (6-0, 188; 4.52): Johnson was second-team all-ACC as a senior with one interception and six passes defensed. He was an honorable mention in his previous two seasons after sitting out 2011 due to academic issues. He finished his career with seven interceptions and another 35 passes defensed. Not only does he have good speed but he flashed a 41.5-inch vertical. That’s the best of this four-man group. However, he’s also the lightest of the group and the least physical.

“He is quick to pick up schemes and gets a good jump on the ball because of the way he can anticipate the receiver’s moves through the route,” reads the NFL’s official scouting report, provided to Packer Report by NFL head scout Dave-Te’ Thomas. “He is active with his feet, especially when moving back, planting and changing direction. He keeps his pad level low and is usually in control through transition. He no longer gets high on his heels, which used to cause him to look a little sluggish when shuffling his feet through routes. The thing you see on film is that he shows very little hesitation or wasted motion in his plant-and-drive.”

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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