With veteran free agency essentially concluded and the 2018 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, Acme Packing Company will once again rank and break down the Green Bay Packers’ 90-man roster.
These rankings represent a composite of the individual selections from several APC contributors. Today, we continue by revealing players 20 through 11, a group comprising the majority of the Packers’ likely starting secondary.
20. Jaire Alexander, CB
After some nifty maneuvering that added an extra first-round pick in 2019, the Packers chose Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander with their top selection this past April. Alexander’s selection represents somewhat of a departure for the organization, which has largely shunned corners shorter than 5-foot-10 1⁄2 since the early 1990s. While the rookie might not possess prototypical size for the position, he does offer plenty of experience in press coverage, something which should benefit him greatly under Green Bay’s new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Alexander could also contribute early as a returner.
19. Tramon Williams, CB
Back in Green Bay after a three-year absence, Tramon Williams signed a multiyear deal with the Packers to provide a veteran presence and, likely, hold down a significant role on the defense. Williams not only has more than a decade of NFL experience, he played two seasons under Pettine as a member of the Cleveland Browns. While rookies Alexander and Josh Jackson will push for starting jobs, Williams probably has the inside track entering training camp.
18. Josh Jones, S
As a rookie, Josh Jones shuffled between linebacker and safety. The variance in role possibly hindered his development, as Jones never became the do-it-all coverage monster the Packers envisioned when they selected him in the second round. A new year and new defensive coordinator could bring clarity for Jones, who will likely see less time as an off-ball linebacker and more at safety. Green Bay appears to have faith in him as illustrated by the team’s decision not to re-sign Morgan Burnett.
17. Kevin King, CB
The Packers’ de facto 2017 first-round pick, Kevin King offered just about everything desired of a cornerback in the modern NFL. His size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) dwarfs most wideouts while his athleticism (99th percentile of corners by SPARQ) suggests nearly unmatched potential. Still, a lingering shoulder injury prevented King from playing up to his billing last season, eventually landing him on injured reserve in early December. Finally healthy, Green Bay expects more from him in 2018.
16. Aaron Jones, RB
The most efficient of the Packers’ running backs last season, Aaron Jones expects to see plenty of work during his second NFL season. Jones’ explosion and nose for the end zone make him an enticing option to lead Green Bay’s backfield rotation. Jamaal Williams will receive plenty of opportunities, but Jones offers a higher ceiling.
15. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S
After a breakout 2016 campaign that ended in a Pro Bowl selection, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix backslid considerably last season. Opposing offenses too frequently caught him out of position for deep strikes, an alarming trend that contributed to the demise of longtime defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Now in a contract year, Clinton-Dix has to prove last year’s performance represents an anomaly rather than the beginning of a trend.
14. Lane Taylor, G
Few could have predicted Lane Taylor’s into an indispensable piece of the Packers’ offensive line when he arrived as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Not only has Taylor admirably replaced Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton over the past two seasons, he also held his own at left tackle when injuries created a void early in 2017. Green Bay extended Taylor last season, securing the future of the left side of the O-line for the foreseeable future.
13. Bryan Bulaga, T
For the second time in his NFL career, Bryan Bulaga enters an offseason while recovering from a torn ACL. Unlike last time, this knee reconstruction threatens to delay the start of his 2018 campaign. With right guard already in question with last year’s starter Jahri Evans unsigned, Bulaga’s health becomes one of the biggest topics of Green Bay’s offseason.
12. Randall Cobb, WR
Randall Cobb’s productivity has waned since the breakout 2014 campaign that won him a multiyear contract, but he remains a key piece of the Packers’ passing attack. With Jordy Nelson out of the picture and no proven veteran boundary receiver acquired to fill his spot, Green Bay will depend on Cobb to reclaim his old form in 2018.
11. Blake Martinez, ILB
One of the few bright spots on the Packers defense last season, Blake Martinez developed into a playmaking inside linebacker the unit has lacked since Clay Matthews moved back to the edge full time. Martinez will likely inherit the communication duties vacated by Burnett, making the third-year linebacker one of the most important players on the team.