The Green Bay Packers have made a habit out of drafting cornerbacks, and that figures to be the case in April, as well.
With the clock winding down on the superb careers of starters Al Harris (34) and Charles Woodson (32) and with little in the way of proven depth behind Tramon Williams, the Packers could be shopping for another cornerback in the draft.
Three of the players the Packers talked to at the NFL Scouting Combine hailed from Big Ten schools. You know about Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins and Illinois' Vontae Davis, who are top-15 picks and the best corners in this draft. Another corner who was one of the Packers' 60 allotted formal interviews was Iowa's Bradley Fletcher, Scout.com senior analyst Ed Thompson told Packer Report.
Fletcher, who stands at 6-foot, 1/2 inch and weighs 196 pounds, started four games apiece as a sophomore and junior before starting all 13 games as a senior. He was an honorable mention on the all-Big Ten team in 2008 after recording 60 tackles, 10 passes defensed and three interceptions opposite second-team Big Ten pick Amari Spievey.
No doubt, one of the issues the Packers talked to Fletcher about was a drunken driving arrest in July 2007. He pleaded guilty and entered an alcohol program as part of his punishment. Beyond that one mistake, though, he's known as a solid, intelligent and engaging kid, as well as a good teammate.
On the field, Fletcher, who played mostly zone at Iowa, had a big week at the East-West all-star game. Scouts say he got better as the season progressed, which hints that he hasn't reached his potential. He capped his career with an end-zone interception against South Carolina in the Hawkeyes' Outback Bowl victory.
Fletcher is fast but doesn't have elite speed, and our Jon Miller, who covers the Hawkeyes, says Fletcher has a knack for closing on plays. His good height is amplified with one of the best vertical leaps at the Combine (38.5 inches). Some scouts, after watching him struggle a little during position drills at the Combine, wonder if he'd be better at safety. His superb tackling skills would help in that transition. But his long arms, good-enough speed and ascending play make him an intriguing prospect at either position.
Fletcher figures to be a late-round selection, and with the Packers' affection for versatile players and questions about young players like Will Blackmon and Pat Lee, he's a name to remember.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum.