Packer Report gets you ready for the Combine with a position-by-position look at the 329 players on the invitation list.
State of the Packers
Even with reigning defensive player of the year Charles Woodson and solid Tramon Williams, the Packers had no answers for Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger or Kurt Warner. Maybe Al Harris and Will Blackmon will bounce back from serious injuries. Maybe Pat Lee finally will stay healthy and contribute. Maybe Brandon Underwood will develop. Maybe there's something to all of the zany rumors revolving around the Chargers enigmatic Antonio Cromartie. Or, maybe Packers general manager Ted Thompson needs to dive into a deep class of cornerbacks.
Combine guest list
Interior offensive line
Javier Arenas, Alabama
Cornelius Brown, UTEP
Crezdon Butler, Clemson
Nolan Carroll, Maryland
Chris Chancellor, Clemson
Chris Cook, Virginia
Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State
Dominique Franks, Oklahoma
Brandon Ghee, Wake Forest
Marshay Green, Mississippi
Joe Haden, Florida
Chris Hawkins, LSU
Brian Jackson, Oklahoma
Kareem Jackson, Alabama
A.J. Jefferson, Fresno State
Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt
Trevard Lindley, Kentucky
Devin McCourty, Rutgers
Sherrick McManis, Northwestern
Joshua Moore, Kansas State
Jerome Murphy, South Florida
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Indiana (Pa.)
David Pender, Purdue
Josh Pinkard, USC
Patrick Robinson, Florida State
Devin Ross, Arizona
Amari Spievey, Iowa
Kevin Thomas, USC
Syd'quan Thompson, California
Walter Thurmond, Oregon
Alterraun Verner, UCLA
Stephan Virgil, Virginia Tech
Jamar Wall, Texas Tech
Donovan Warren, Michigan
Kyle Wilson, Boise State
Who to watch
The long and short of it is the Packers value height. They simply don't draft short cornerbacks. Not early in the draft. Not late in the draft.
Outside of the 5-foot-10 Ahmad Carroll in the first round in 2004, they haven't selected a single cornerback standing less than 6 feet since using a second-rounder on 5-foot-11 Fred Vinson in 1999. Incredibly, they haven't drafted a cornerback of 5-foot-10 or shorter since Ron Wolf's first draft, 1992, when he took the 5-foot-10 Terrell Buckley.
So, that almost certainly rules out big-play machine Javier Arenas of Alabama and four-year starter Syd'Quan Thompson of California, who are both 5-foot-9, and maybe even fast-rising Kyle Wilson of Boise State and talented early entrant Kareem Jackson of Alabama, who are both 5-foot-10.
Florida CB Joe Haden
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
— Crezdon Butler (6-0), Clemson: Picked off 11 passes in career. Has some tools but is a project, even with 40 career starts. Probably undrafted.
— Nolan Carroll, Maryland (6-0): No career interceptions and coming off a broken leg that cost him most of the season. Probably undrafted.
— Chris Cook, Virginia (6-2): Talked to the Packers at the Senior Bowl, where he had a big week. Perfect size and a nose for the ball but missed 2008 with academic suspension. Four interceptions as a senior. Might not have the speed to play corner. Could go second round.
— Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State (5-11): Cox talked to the Packers at the Senior Bowl and at the Combine. No doubt they asked why he was suspended for the Cotton Bowl because of a missed curfew. Leading kickoff returner in Big 12 history and 10 career interceptions. Could go second round.
— Dominique Franks, Oklahoma (6-0): Early entrant picked off six passes in his two seasons as a starter. Not like Cox, but a pretty good kick returner. Talented and aggressive. Could go late in the first but probably the second.
— Brandon Ghee, Wake Forest (6-0): Ghee talked to the Packers at the Senior Bowl. Has the tools to be a good player but just one career interception. Missed 2006 season for academic reasons. Probably a third-rounder.
— Joe Haden, Florida (5-11). The clear top corner in this draft and will be long, long gone by No. 23. Eight interceptions in his three seasons. Only true freshman to ever start at corner for Gators.
— Chris Hawkins, LSU (6-0): The two-year starter never lived up to his prep billing. Size and athletic ability will get him drafted late, though.
— Brian Jackson, Oklahoma (6-1): Two-year starter picked off four passes as a senior. Great size and physical but lacks big-time speed. Would have been interesting Day 2 pick under Packers' old scheme, though the Packers still play plenty of bump. Day 2 pick.
— A.J. Jefferson, Fresno State (6-0): Here's a name to remember. He's got height and speed and is a real project on defense. No interceptions and 12 breakups in career. There weren't many better kick returners in the collegiate ranks, though. Averaged 23.2 yards on kickoff returns as a senior; entered season with career average of 32.3 yards with three touchdowns. Probably undrafted.
— Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt (6-2): Three-year starter might not have the speed to play corner but he's got great height and instincts. Finished career with 10 interceptions, including four as a senior. A very intriguing Day 2 pick.
Kentucky CB Trevard Lindley
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
— Devin McCourty, Rutgers (5-11): Actually, 5-foot-10 1/2 at the Senior Bowl so he might be off the Packers' list. A superb corner who was named team MVP, defensive MVP, special teams MVP and honorable-mention all-America. Picked off just one pass as a senior but broke up 10, along with blocking three kicks and returning a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. ... Also was finalist for the academic version of the Heisman. Twin brother Jason was sixth-round pick for Titans in 2009. A definite target at No. 23 if he's not too short.
— Sherrick McManis, Northwestern (5-11): The three-year starter had a big senior season with five interceptions. Not great in man, which the Packers still play frequently. Late Day 2 or undrafted.
— Joshua Moore, Kansas State (5-11): Early entrant earned honorable mention on all-Big 12 team in his final two seasons, when he had five interceptions. Superb speed and isn't afraid to play the run. Could sneak into Day 2.
— Jerome Murphy, South Florida (6-0): Murphy has the size the Packers crave. He started final two seasons, with four interceptions, eight breakups and two forced fumbles as senior, when named second-team all-Big East. Physical corner with 144 tackles as starter. He averaged 24.3 yards on kickoff returns as sophomore. Could go in the second round.
— Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Indiana of Pennsylvania (6-0): He burst onto the scene by picking off eight passes in 2008, including seven in the final four games. As senior, he returned three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns. Had two interceptions and was named a Little All-America by Associated Press (Division II, Division III, NAIA). Shoulder injury in season finale kept him out of Combine. Might sneak into Day 2, depending on if/when/how he works out.
— David Pender, Purdue (6-0): The three-year starter's 33 pass breakups rank second in school history. His only interception of the season was one of only four thrown by Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen.
— Josh Pinkard, USC (6-1): His third torn ACL came in the season finale. Picked off two passes and broke up nine as senior. Probably won't be drafted.
— Patrick Robinson, Florida State (5-11): Robinson has been compared to the Packers' Al Harris. He picked off five passes as a sophomore but just one since. Played a lot of man and has big-time speed. Could go late in Round 1 and is on the Packers' radar.
— Amari Spievey, Iowa (5-11): He landed at Iowa in 2006 but lost his scholarship for academic reasons. After a year at junior college, he returned to Iowa and started 26 games in two seasons. He was all-Big Ten both years with a total of six interceptions. Should go in Day 2.
— Kevin Thomas, USC (5-11): He picked off one pass and broke up 11 as a senior. Sprained ankle, broken foot and sprained shoulder in career mean he'll be a seventh-rounder, at best.
— Walter Thurmond, Oregon (5-11): The four-year starter finished with 12 interceptions and 37 passes defensed but missed most of this season with a torn ACL. Am electric kick returner with five career touchdowns. He's probably a sixth-rounder; would have gone much earlier if healthy.
— Stephan Virgil, Virginia Tech (5-11): He started 10 games as a senior, with one interception, but missed two games with a knee bruise and the bowl game for academic reasons. Picked off six passes as a junior. Should go late in Day 2.
— Donovan Warren, Michigan (5-11): He left after junior season in which he was all-Big Ten with four interceptions (40-yard touchdown vs Iowa), 11 breakups and career-high 66 tackles. Started 34 of 36 games, with six interceptions and was a freshman all-American. Might go in Day 2.
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.