Packers' Cornerback Competition: Good Tackling Makes a Case for Hayward

Joe Robbins

The best tackler among the Packers' 2012 defensive backs was one of the most recent additions, and that adds another feather to his cap in a quest to become a full-time starter.

Casey Hayward was an excellent corner during his rookie year of 2012. He played well in the slot to start, then seamlessly transitioned to the outside where he recorded four of his six interceptions on the year. With the news that there will likely be an open competition at cornerback in training camp814/open-competition-at-corner-casey-hayward-shields-wililams-house, Hayward will likely take snaps at every corner position while the team tries to find the most effective use of all of the talent at the position.

One factor which will be taken into account is tackling. Tramon Williams struggled with his tackling in 2012, perhaps due to lasting effects of his shoulder injury from early 2011. Sam Shields developed a good nose for bringing offensive players down, after appearing tentative a season earlier. But surprise, surprise - the best-tackling Packers cornerback in 2012 (at least by one measure) was none other than the rookie Hayward.

That's right, Hayward was the 8th-best cornerback in terms of converting his tackle opportunities. For Hayward to put up that type of number while playing both outside against bigger, stronger receivers and in the slot against quicker, more agile wideouts says a lot about his ability and versatility in that phase of the game. Knowing these stats, would you rather see #29 or #38 on the edge with Adrian Peterson barreling towards him?

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