Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers Day 2 Lookahead: Safeties

With Micah Hyde leaving in free agency and Morgan Burnett heading to free agency, the Packers could be shopping for a safety in what's left of a loaded class.

After three players were selected in the first round, here are the Day 2 options at safety. The Green Bay Packers own two picks in the second round (Nos. 33 and 61) and one pick in the third round (No. 93).

Marcus Williams, Utah (6-0 5/8, 202; 4.56 40; 4.20 shuttle; 6.85 3-cone; 43.5 vertical): Junior. Williams started 30 games in three seasons. As a sophomore, he was first-team all-conference with five interceptions, five pass breakups and 66 tackles. As a junior, he was second-team all-conference with five interceptions, two forced fumbles, three breakups and 64 tackles. Williams ranked 14th in run-stop percentage but fifth in tackling efficiency (five misses). Quarterbacks didn’t throw his way often and they didn’t have much success when they did, with 46.7 percent accuracy and a 53.5 rating. His three-year totals were 188 tackles, 11 interceptions and four forced fumbles. He’ll need to get stronger and add some bulk to deal with physical play. But athleticism is not an issue. While out recruiting, a Utah coach became sold on Williams after he watched him dunk over three defenders. That showed up in that 43 1/2-inch vertical. He posted the fifth-fastest shuttle.

Marcus Maye, Florida (6-0, 210; 4.50 40; 4.25 shuttle; 7.10 3-cone; 33.5 vertical): Coming off first-team All-America honors as a junior, huge things were expected out of Maye in 2016. However, he sustained a broken arm in a November game against South Carolina. In nine games, he had 50 tackles, one interception and six breakups. Statistically, he is the best tackler in this class with just one missed tackle. He ranked 10th in run-stop percentage while allowing a 31.6 completion percentage and 50.3 passer rating. Those numbers pale to his junior-year production of 82 tackles, two interceptions, five forced fumbles and six breakups, when he impressed the coaches by playing safety and linebacker. As a senior, he allowed one touchdown pass; he yielded four in each of the previous two seasons. While he put up good coverage numbers at Florida and occasionally worked in the slot, he’s probably better suited for action at the line of scrimmage. In that regard, he sounds a bit like Burnett — an intelligent combo safety who is better at the line of scrimmage than when in coverage. From the get-go, he’d probably feel at home as the dime linebacker.

Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut (6-3 7/8, 224; 4.40 40; 4.30 shuttle; 7.03 3-cone; 44 vertical): Melifonwu is pure projection based on his outrageous combination of height, speed and explosion. He was a four-year starter who finished his career with a bang by posting 128 tackles and four interceptions. That includes a 24-tackle game against Tulane. He ranked ninth in run-stop percentage and sixth in tackling efficiency (nine misses). For a big guy, he plays well in space — as shown by the tackling numbers. But for a player with his size and range, his coverage numbers are disappointing (71.4 percent, 88.5 rating). There’s talk of him playing corner; at the very least, he’d be a matchup guy against tight ends. For a 48-game career, Melifonwu piled up 351 tackles, 11 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and eight interceptions. Melifonwu’s parents are from Nigeria and Henry William Obiajulu Melifonwu was born in London. He was a 1,400-yard rusher in high school.

Josh Jones, N.C. State (6-1 3/8, 220; 4.41 40; 4.32 shuttle; 7.05 3-cone; 37.5 vertical): Junior. After a self-described “bad year,” Jones posted big numbers — 109 tackles, 3.5 tackles for losses, three interceptions, eight pass breakups and one forced fumble — in his final season. Jones was an all-around impact performer. He ranked second-in run-stop percentage and 11th in tackling efficiency (13 misses), and yielded a 54.3 percent completion rate and a 50.0 passer rating. In three seasons, he posted 229 tackles, eight interceptions, 17 pass breakups and three forced fumbles. That includes four interceptions as a freshman, when he was a Freshman All-American. He led the Combine safeties with 20 reps on the bench but his so-so times in the shuttle and three-cone drill could portend issues in coverage and in space.

John Johnson, Boston College (6-0 1/2, 208; 4.61 40; 4.18 shuttle; 6.72 3-cone; 37 vertical): Johnson was a two-year starter who turned in back-to-back seasons of three interceptions. As a senior, he had 77 tackles, including 2.5 for losses, and broke up nine passes with one forced fumble. He was an all-around impact player at safety and in the slot, as he finished 12th in run-stop percentage and second in tackling efficiency (five misses). In coverage, he allowed a 65.9 percent completion rate and a 97 passer rating. As a junior, when he finished the season at cornerback, he had 63 tackles, three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one blocked kick. While he didn’t run a good 40, his three-cone time was tied for the fastest in our safety group and posted the fifth-fastest shuttle. The combination of above-average production, intelligence and versatility offer an easy comparison to Hyde. He’s also been an ace on special teams.

Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech (5-11 1/8, 197; 4.54 40; 4.13 shuttle; 6.72 3-cone; 33.5 vertical): Woods led Conference USA and tied for 13th in the nation with five interceptions. A weapon at safety and in the slot, he ranked second on the team with 89 tackles and added 6.5 tackles for losses, six pass breakups, three sacks and one forced fumble. Woods ranked 15th in run-stop percentage and 10th in tackling (10 misses). Quarterbacks completed 57.8 percent with a 60.4 rating. He tied for fourth among active FBS players with 14 career interceptions. Like Hyde, Woods has shown a nose for the ball and the quarterback as a blitzer. He also forced six fumbles. Woods tied for the fastest three-cone drill and the third-fastest shuttle. He is small and has the shortest arms in our group of safeties. With that, he might never be a full-time starting safety but he could be close to a full-time player.

Bill Huber is publisher of 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 www.twitter.com/PackerReport.


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