Packers Begin Scanning Cream of Corner Crop

After horrendous performances against the Vikings, Cardinals and Steelers, it's obvious the Packers need help in the secondary. With the cornerbacks doing their Combine workouts on Tuesday, the Packers have talked to this former Freshman All-American.

The Green Bay Packers enter this offseason in desperate need of another cornerback to pair with aging University of Michigan legend Charles Woodson.

At the Scouting Combine, the Packers talked to Donovan Warren, who left Michigan following a standout career as a three-year starter.

With Al Harris having turned 35 in December and coming off a season-ending knee injury, Will Blackmon having missed significant chunks of three of his four seasons in the NFL with foot and knee injuries and Pat Lee having played only five games in two seasons because of knee problems, the Packers have a crisis at cornerback.

Woodson, the NFL's ageless defensive player of the year, needs big-time help in the secondary to reach his ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl and never has been hesitant to act as a mentor to younger players.

"Charles Woodson — a great guy, a great player," Warren told reporters on Sunday. "He's been a mentor to me since I've been at Michigan, somebody that I definitely mold my game after or try to.

"I talked to Charles about three weeks ago. He just told me to stay focused. There's going to be a lot of stuff coming from everywhere. He just told me to stay on my grind and keep my head going forward, not looking back."

Warren made the Sporting News' and's Freshman all-America teams in 2007, when he started 11 games with one interception and six pass breakups. He started 10 games at corner and one game at safety in 2008, finishing with one interception and five pass breakups.

That preceded his stellar junior season in which he was a first-team all-Big Ten selection with four interceptions and 11 breakups.

"It helped me a lot because I learned the game, the game of football, about concepts and formations and things at an early age," Warren said of starting since his freshman year. "The game slowed down a lot more. Me playing with three different defensive coordinators and going through three different defenses, I think it's helped me a lot learning for this next level. Anything they might come up with, I might have seen it already."

CB Donovan Warren
Domenic Centofanti/Getty Images
The Wolverines played almost entirely zone last season, but Warren said man is his forte. All along, he's been a solid tackler, posting a total of 170 stops in his career, though he acknowledges he needs to add muscle to his 193-pound frame.

"I feel I did good in run support, coming up, making some nice tackles this year," he said. "I was satisfied with my tackling ability, how it's progressed since I was a freshman."

Warren certainly knows the game. His godfather is former Bears safety Mark Carrier, a close friend of Warren's father, Alvin, since their high school days. Donovan Warren went to Long Beach Polytechnic, the alma mater of NFL stars such as Carrier, DeSean Jackson and Willie McGinest. Warren called Carrier "a great mentor" and spoke highly of McGinest.

Warren is considered a second- or third-round prospect. He entered the Combine as's ninth-ranked cornerback. Joe Haden will be long gone by No. 23 and a few others ranked ahead of Warren probably don't meet the height requirements of the Packers, who have selected only one corner shorter than 5-foot-11 in the last 17 drafts (Ahmad Carroll).

Bigger corners are a necessity in today's NFL. That's especially true in the NFC North, with the Lions featuring 6-foot-5 Calvin Johnson and the Vikings boasting 6-foot-4 Sidney Rice. Plus, NFC heavyweights New Orleans and Arizona have big receivers in 6-foot-4 Marques Colston and 6-foot-3 Larry Fitzgerald, respectively.

"Anybody that's in front of me, I feel like I can play with and I can dominate," he said. "That's just my mind-set. It doesn't matter who it is."

Warren will work out with the rest of the cornerbacks on Tuesday.

"My mind-set right now is just going out on Tuesday, competing with the best," he said. "I let the rest of that, whatever happens, happens. I'm just going out there to compete and do what I have to do to prove I'm one of the best."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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