Grading the Packers: Cornerbacks

Harris, Woodson live up to expectations in defensive backfield

Al Harris: Should have been named to the NFC squad for February's Pro Bowl, but was beat out by Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber, Atlanta's De Angelo Hall, and Philadelphia's Lito Sheppard. What? C'mon. Harris again covered opponents' top receivers throughout the season and was effective.

Harris finished with three interceptions, which probably hurt him in Pro Bowl voting, but he had chances for at least three other pickoffs. He had 38 tackles and 20 passes defensed, second to Charles Woodson. Even more, Harris has yet to miss an an NFL game as a game-day active NFL player since 1998, a streak of 153 games, including the playoffs.

Harris was flagged nine times, most on the team, including six for holding.

The Packers are in position with the salary cap to extend Harris' current contract and bring him up to a level of compensation similar to other top cornerbacks in the league. Green Bay should proceed as soon as possible.
Grade: A-

Charles Woodson: The veteran cornerback started slow, perhaps because he skipped all of the team's voluntary workouts in May and June, but finished at a Pro Bowl level. However, like Harris, Woodson was passed over for the NFL all-star game, despite a career-high eight interceptions, one sack and a team- and career-high 26 passes defensed.

Woodson was penalized six times, four for pass interference.

Woodson signed a seven-year, $39.5 million deal last April that included $10 million in bonus money. He was reliable at fielding the ball as a punt returner, and had a 40-yard return against San Francisco on Dec. 10. However, he only averaged a mediocre 8.9 yards per return. The Packers likely will seek someone who is more of a threat at returning punts in 2007.
Grade: A-

Patrick Dendy: Ahmad Carroll's inability to cover receivers without holding them was good for Dendy, who was promoted from the practice squad a day after the team released Carroll on Oct. 3. Dendy played in 10 games as the team's nickel back and on special teams. He finished with three interceptions, including a 30-yard return for a touchdown in the season-finale against the Chicago Bears.

Dendy finished with 29 tackles and seven passes defensed. He tied for third on the team with 13 special teams tackles. He continues to improve after he was promoted to the 53-man roster by the Packers in November of 2005. He struggled in coverage, at times, but showed resiliency.
Grade: C

Jarrett Bush: The rookie was claimed on waivers by the Packers from Carolina on Sept. 3, and played in all 16 games, mainly on special teams. He tied for third on the team with Dendy in special teams tackles with 13.
Grade: C-

Will Blackmon: The Packers selected Blackmon in the fourth round of last April's NFL draft with hopes that he could contribute as the team's nickel defensive back and also return punts and/or kickoffs. Blackmon did neither, as he was plagued by injuries.

Blackmon broke a bone in his foot during the final practice of a May minicamp, causing him to miss all of the team's voluntary workouts in June, and all of training camp. Blackmon attempted a comeback in early September, but aggravated the injury. When he got over the foot injury, he played in four games as a reserve, then injured his ribs Nov. 12 at Minnesota and wound up on injured reserve.
Grade: Incomplete

Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of and Packer Report. E-mail him at

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