Earlier today, it was reported that the Green Bay Packers had requested Minnesota safety Jordan Howden to come out to Green Bay with one of their allotted “top-30” visits during the pre-draft process. It appears that he’s not the only safety who the Packers are poking around at.
According to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline (h/t Kyle Fellows of the Pack A Day Podcast), the Packers will also reportedly bring in Florida State safety Jammie Robinson, who is projected to be a much higher draft choice than Howden. As we mentioned in the Howden post, the former Gopher is projected to go in the seventh round of next month’s draft, if he’s taken at all. Meanwhile, Robinson is currently ranked as the sixth safety on the consensus draft board as the 81st overall prospect.
On the Acme Packing Company podcast feed, Tyler Brooke and I tackled the safety position first in our positional episode breakdowns. Out of the top eight safeties ranked in this class, I considered two, Robinson and Alabama’s Brian Branch, primarily slot prospects, rather than safeties. Brooke ranked Robinson as his ninth overall safety in the class. You can read Tyler’s scouting report on Robinson below:
Relentless motor and aggressiveness to attack ball carriers with zero fear. Has very good play strength to plow through WRs blocking on the perimeter, showing good extension and launching his hips into the point of attack. Good mental processing to break downhill from deep alignment when WR gets out of their break. Doesn’t always come into tackles with the cleanest technique. Can get caught creeping up in run support, allowing WRs to get open behind him. Not sure about his explosiveness and play speed as a deep safety to have sideline-to-sideline range. Looks smaller than his listed size. Significant snaps played as deep, box, and slot safety. Transferred from South Carolina for 2022 season.
For whatever it’s worth, Robinson’s two years with the Seminoles resulted in him playing about twice as many slot reps as he played high safety. Generally, defensive coordinator Joe Barry tends to play with two high safeties, as the Packers are known as a split-safety team on base downs.
While he’s not a very big player, Robinson is tough and a consistent tackler. At just over 5’10.5” and 191 pounds, he looks the part of a nickelback. The fact that he ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash at the combine may end up keeping him in the slot, too, where he doesn’t have to play much coverage without help over top of him.
Jammie Robinson is a SS prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 5.97 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 365 out of 903 SS from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/uAyrB8NCRi #RAS pic.twitter.com/jtCQr76hgj— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 26, 2023
Robinson coming in is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, he’s not really the type of player that you think about when you imagine a safety fitting into a quarters-heavy defense. Second, the Packers are actually decently deep at the slot position.
At the NFL owners’ meetings, head coach Matt LaFleur stated that return man Keisean Nixon is expected to start in the slot defensively next season, as there appears to be uncertainty around cornerback Eric Stokes’ ankle injury from 2022. Whenever Stokes does return, though, the team will have Jaire Alexander, Stokes and Rasul Douglas in the cornerback room, which will probably lead to Douglas being kicked back inside.
The Packers also signed Tarvarius Moore this offseason, a safety who is best known for his play in the slot, when he’s not being an ace on special teams. On top of that, cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles, a 5’11”, 184-pound former fifth-round pick, has primarily played in the slot for Green Bay and is still under contract for two more seasons. With how cap-strapped the Packers are and how general manager Brian Gutekunst seems to hate letting go of draft picks, it begs the question of Robinson’s fit on this current roster.
Still, that’s only if you think of Robinson in the context of being a slot. Green Bay still has a need at safety, as 2022 starter Adrian Amos has hit the open market and has even taken a visit with the Baltimore Ravens. Aside from the recently-signed Moore, the Packers’ safety unit also returns starter Darnell Savage, spot starter Rudy Ford and special teamers Innis Gaines and Tariq Carpenter. If Robinson was taken by Gutekunst in the third, for example, there’s still a decent chance he could compete with Ford for playing time as a rookie, even if he’s not an “ideal” fit.