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Packers to bring in Minnesota S Jordan Howden for top-30 visit

Howden is the first safety that Green Bay will reportedly bring in

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Minnesota Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, Ryan Fowler of The Draft Network broke the news that former Minnesota safety Jordan Howden had scheduled pre-draft visits with both the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. This is interesting, as a source told me during the Gophers’ pro day that Milt Hendrickson, the Packers’ director of football operations, was showing interest in Howden at the event.

Howden is currently ranked 293rd on the consensus draft board, which means that he is likely to either sign with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent or be picked with one of the Packers’ four seventh-round selections in the upcoming 2023 draft. While general manager Brian Gutekunst has recently used the team’s allotted 30 visits to get a better look at his eventual draft picks, historically, the Packers have used this tool as an arm of undrafted free agent recruitment. Last offseason, Green Bay’s visits included three seventh-round selections in safety Tariq Carpenter, receiver Samori Toure and tackle Rasheed Walker.

At the moment, the Packers’ safety room is comprised of returning starter Darnell Savage, spot starter Rudy Ford, special teams signing Tarvarius Moore, special teamer and occasional big nickel Innis Gaines, Capenter and reserve/futures player James Wiggins. It was not abnormal for Green Bay to roster six safeties in 2022, which is likely a preference of special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who seems to rely on the position in the third phase of football.

At the combine, Howden ran an official 4.49-second 40-yard dash and later posted his above-average 6.87-second three-cone at his pro day. At the college level, Howden notched 49 starts over five years with the Gophers and was able to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a senior. He also was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten player who was named a team captain on the defensive side of the ball.

According to Pro Football Focus’ stats (h/t Paul Bretl of Packers Wire and Dairyland Express), Howden played 1,257 snaps in the slot, 912 snaps as a high safety and 597 snaps as a box defender during his college career. That’s a similar deployment to how Moore was used with the 49ers, which is interesting considering Moore’s recent signing with Green Bay and San Francisco also arranging a visit with Howden.

Those two teams aren’t the only ones in the running for Howden, though. As Fowler reported, he’s attending both the Las Vegas Raiders’ local pro day and the Minnesota Vikings’ local pro day, which basically translates to a free top-30 visit for those squads. He played in Las Vegas as a prep, where he won state in three different tack and field events, and obviously played down the street from the Vikings at the college level. Fowler also noted, following Howden’s pro day, that the safety was going to visit with the Seattle Seahawks and that the New Orleans Saints schedule a private workout with him.

Howden’s scheduled visit with the Packers is the third one reported in the 2023 class. The previously reported visits, confirmed by Instagram posts from the players themselves, were with Georgia tight end Darnell Washington and Iowa State pass-rusher Will McDonald.