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Packers 2018 Draft Board Projection: Safety thresholds adjusted by Josh Jones’ selection

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The Packers’ second-round draft pick last season was well outside of the team’s typical cutoff on one specific drill, which may be an indicator of an evolving set of requirements at the safety position.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Stanford Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

This is the second article in a multi-part series that will attempt to project what the Green Bay Packers’ draft board will look like at each position in the 2018 NFL Draft.

With Ted Thompson as the team’s general manager, the Green Bay Packers have been notorious in their rigidity in regards to athletic testing thresholds, at least at certain specific positions. Prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, the Packers tended to stick to similar requirements for all of their defensive backs, whether cornerbacks or safeties.

As always, Justis Mosqueda’s work last year helped to develop these practical thresholds based on previous draft picks. However, the selection of second-round safety Josh Jones threw one of those cutoffs for a loop.

Justis defined the cutoffs as follows: height at least 5-foot-10 7/8, 40 time of 4.57 seconds or less, and 3-cone time of 6.87 seconds or less, and with other reporting we expect that the height cutoff is actually about 5-foot-10 5/8. However, Jones’ 3-cone time was quite a bit slower than the cutoff, running that drill in a reported 7.05 seconds at his Pro Day. There are some possibilities here; one, the team looked at Jones as a linebacker rather than a safety. Two, the front office was willing to overlook Jones’ slow time in that drill due to his excellent testing in other areas (4.41 40, 37.5-inch vertical, 11-foot broad jump). Finally, the Packers may have taken a flier on Jones because they may have seen him as a falling talent.

In any case, Jones’ selection likely happened with the recommendation of Brian Gutekunst, who was the person who initially scouted Jones and who now sits in the GM chair.

What this tells us is that Gutekunst likely is not entirely hung up on a cutoff for a 3-cone time for safeties, meaning that we do need to consider safeties and potentially corners with slower times in that drill as well. That is a part of the reason why we expended our look out to cornerbacks with cone times up to 6.95 seconds, and for safeties we’re looking as far out as Jones’ 7.05-second time.

The other reason for this expansion is due to the Packers’ pre-draft visits with safeties this year. They have reportedly met with three safeties on top-30 visits, and two of them have cone times that fall above the 6.87-second threshold.

When looking at the top 20 players on each of the free safety and strong safety rankings from NFLDraftScout.com, we find six players in total who meet all of the thresholds Justis defined (using the 5105 height requirement), one more who would be likely to meet all the cutoffs, and six who fall within the expanded range for 3-cone times.

As with our projection for the cornerback board, the safety board is formatted based on testing success; players who are shown in bold passed all the cutoffs, players in italics did not complete full testing but appear on track to pass, and players with no special formatting were in the borderline range for either height or 3-cone time (with the offending measurement shown in strikethrough). In addition, players whose names are shown in ALL CAPS reportedly met with the Packers on an official visit. A final note: asterisks next to any of the testing results indicate that the result was obtained from his Pro Day testing, and note that those results came from either NFLDraftScout.com or from the college’s official press releases.

Projected Packers 2018 Safety Draft Board

  • DERWIN JAMES, Florida State; Projected round 1; 6016, 215; 4.47 40 time, 6.93* 3-cone
  • Justin Reid, Stanford; Round 1-2; 6004, 207; 4.40, 6.65
  • Jessie Bates, Wake Forest; Round 2-3; 6011, 200; 4.50, 6.78
  • Tarvarius Moore, Southern Mississippi; Round 3; 6011, 199; 4.32*, 6.95*
  • Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech; Round 3-4; 6004, 217; 4.47, no 3-cone
  • DANE CRUIKSHANK, Arizona; Round 3-4; 6012, 209; 4.41, 6.89
  • Troy Apke, Penn State; Round 4-5; 6012, 200; 4.34, 6.56
  • Tracy Walker, Louisiana; Round 5; 6007, 206; 4.51, 7.00
  • TRAYVON HENDERSON, Hawaii; Round 5-6; 6001, 214; 4.54*, 6.88*
  • Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern; Round 6-7; 5113, 213; 4.44, 6.56
  • Kameron Kelly, San Diego State; Round 7-UDFA; 6015, 204; 4.55*, 6.94
  • NATRELL JAMERSON, Wisconsin; Round 7-UDFA; 5105, 201; 4.40, 6.87*
  • Jamar Summers, Connecticut; Projected UDFA; 5105, 193; 4.55*, 6.85*