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2016 Packers Training Camp Preview: Great Depth Returns at Cornerback

The Packers return a deep, talented group of players who have the versatility to play outside and in the slot.

Kansas City Chiefs v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Packers return a great deal of depth at the cornerback position in 2016. After drafting cornerbacks in the first and second rounds last year, as well as adding another as an undrafted free agent, the Packers drafted none this year. The Packers did add a few cornerbacks through undrafted free agency again. With the departure of Casey Hayward, there might be another spot for one of these players or maybe someone off last year’s practice squad.

Sam Shields, #37

5’11”, 184 pounds
7th season
College: University of Miami

Shields was the surprising young rookie free agent just a few years ago. Now, Shields stands as the old man, the most experienced veteran among the defensive backs on the team. Shields still has great speed and good height. Shields is a slight player and durability has always been an issue as he has never played all 16 games. Shields is great and solid when on the field. The depth behind him will matter greatly.

Damarious Randall, #23

5’11”, 196 pounds
2nd season
College: Arizona State

Randall had a very productive rookie year. Randall started nine games and had three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown). Randall will be on the field as the clear number two on the outside this season. He showed great athleticism and had his hands on far more passes throughout the season. If Randall can improve this season it could be an incredibly dominant set of cornerbacks.

Quinten Rollins, #24

5’11”, 195 pounds
2nd season
College: Miami University

Rollins will be gaining the snaps that once belonged to Hayward. Rollins continues in the idea of the Ted Thompson cornerback with good height and great feet. Rollins showed a great strength in playing the outside cornerback positions, but he will be asked to play more slot coverage this season. Rollins has the quickness and aggressiveness to play slot coverage. The former point guard will have to get his nose in plays this season.

LaDarius Gunter, #36

6’2”, 201 pounds
2nd season
College: University of Miami

Gunter become the second Miami cornerback to make the Packers roster after joining the team as an undrafted rookie free agent. Gunter is the largest player among the cornerbacks. Gunter shows good athleticism. His ability to get his hands on the ball and stay with outside receivers down the field in last year’s preseason earned him the roster spot. Gunter has to show continued improvement to keep in the footsteps of Shields.

Demetri Goodson, #39

5’11”, 197 pounds
3rd season
College: Baylor

Goodson moved from the practice squad to the 53 man roster last year. After moving forward last year, Goodson will begin with a four game suspension hanging over his head. Goodson is another former college point guard who has the ability to play the slot. He has a toughness to him, but he has been passed by younger players over the last season. Making mental lapses in his preparation does not bode well for Goodson, but if he can get back to showing what he can do on the field he might still be successful this year. He also will be suspended for the first four games of the season due to a violation of the NFL substance abuse policy.

Robertson Daniel, #31

6’1”, 205 pounds
First NFL season (practice squad last year)
College: BYU

Daniel joined the Packers practice squad in September of 2015 after being cut by the Raiders. He was able to spend a brief amount of time on the 53 man roster in January, being promoted when Davante Adams was placed on the injured reserve with an ankle injury after the playoff game in Washington. Daniel presents another large body for the Packers and maybe he can hold on to the back end of the roster with the exit of Hayward, but he will have several rookies right behind.

Makinton Dorleant, #20

5’11”, 182 pounds
College: Northen Iowa

Dorleant played well in the FCS ranks and was able to make a name for himself at the UNI pro day. Dorleant presents some of the same skill sets that attracted the Packers to Shields initially. Dorleant is very fast and athletic. Dorleant was overlooked by every team with a draft pick because, like Shields, he is a slight player who will need to add some bulk to play against the more physical competition in the NFL. It will likely be a steep learning curve with a possible practice squad chance.

Josh Hawkins, #28

5’10”, 189 pounds
East Carolina

Hawkins is the smallest of the players the Packers have in their cornerback ranks. Hawkins was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe award at the end of his college career. The best asset Hawkins presents is his ball hawking ability. Hawkins had nine interceptions in his college career, five of them in his senior year. For his size, Hawkins does not lack in toughness. He is a sure tackler and does not shy away from contact.

Randall Jette, #41

5’11”, 193 pounds
College: UMass

Jette did well in the Mid-American Conference and showed some of ball skills that Hawkins also demonstrated. The biggest problem for Jette is the 4.65 40 yard dash he put up at his pro day. Jette has the sort of size that matches the current set of starters, but it will be difficult to make the roster if he cannot demonstrate that he is much faster in pads than in shorts.

Warren Gatewood

5’11”, 188 pounds
College: Alcorn State

Gatewood is the newest Packer, signing on July 20. This young rookie had a nice career with a total of eight interceptions in his career with the Braves. Gatewood has average speed and decent size. The fact that he was still sitting available in July is not a particularly great sign for his prospects, however, but Chris Banjo was signed just before training camp in 2013 and made the team so anything is possible.