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Posts tagged with "Randall"

The Packers’ best new face so far is the player selected with the 33rd pick in the draft.

Green Bay Press Gazette-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Green Bay Packers have 21 players on the current 53-man roster who were not on it at the end of last season.

Of those 21, the Packers acquired them as follows:

  • Nine free agent signings
  • Six picks from the 2017 NFL Draft
  • Three undrafted rookies
  • One player claimed on waivers from another team (Chris Odom)
  • One player signed off another team’s practice squad (Ulrick JohnCardinals)
  • One player who spent 2016 on the Packers’ practice squad (Lucas Patrick)

Of those players, however, two stand out among all others as the best newcomers to the Packers’ roster so far in this early season. Those two are the Packers’ top two draft picks, cornerback Kevin King and safety/nitro linebacker Josh Jones.

However, while Jones has been a playmaker in the middle of the defense, playing primarily inside linebacker over the past two games, King’s early emergence as a boundary corner has been critical to the Packers’ success in defending the pass.

For some context, the Packers are currently 5th in passing yards allowed, though their ranking drops to 17th in opponents’ passer rating and they are 15th in pass DVOA. Last season in those three measures, the team ranked 31st, 26th, and 23rd, respectively.

Still, the Packers have faced significant issues at the cornerback position this season, with veteran free agent signing Davon House missing two-plus games with an injury and third-year players Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins effectively being benched over the past two weeks. Not coincidentally, King has stepped into the starting lineup and since doing so he has largely held his own against a few of the premier wide receivers in the NFL.

After Julio Jones was torching the Packers in the early going during their week two game in Atlanta, King entered the game and shadowed him for much of the rest of the game, keeping him largely in check and not allowing a reception into his coverage. King struggled a bit more when asked to shadow the Bengals’ A.J. Green in week three, but played well against a brutally weak Bears’ receiving corps in week four. Furthermore, APC’s Peter Bukowski found this little nugget which, small sample size aside, is certainly notable:

Packers rookie Kevin King has a better passer rating allowed in coverage than Patrick Peterson, Desmond Trufant, and Marcus Peters.

Meanwhile, the players lining up at the other corner spots have rotated heavily. Randall’s struggles led to his benching against the Bears, meaning Josh Hawkins played every snap in the second half last Thursday. Rollins, meanwhile, was removed from the lineup prior to week three’s game, being replaced as the primary slot cornerback by Morgan Burnett.

Of course, Josh Jones has provided some highlight-reel plays, including a pair of sacks in week three and some notable tackles for loss. However, the Packers’ defense would still be able to function without him lining up in the middle — in fact, they did so for much of the first half against Chicago, moving him around and giving him some rest when they lined up with a pair of more conventional inside linebackers.

Remove King from the equation and the Packers would be down to an injured veteran, two benched third-year pros, a second-year undrafted free agent, and an undrafted rookie who has yet to take a snap on defense in a regular season game.

For that reason, Kevin King earns our vote as the Packers’ best newcomer over the first quarter of the 2017 season.

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Breaking down the good and bad from Green Bay’s young rookies in their first preseason game.

The Post-Crescent-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers took on the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday in their first live game action of the preseason. There were injuries, big plays and not so great plays that defined the first night of action. While veterans like Aaron Rodgers were able to take the night off, the rookies with the team were the ones that needed a high volume of snaps.

Coach Mike McCarthy has to see what these players are made of, but keep in mind that any one preseason game won’t define a player’s chances to make the roster. It’s an accumulation of practice, preseason games, as well as effort that can impact whether a player makes the practice squad, active roster, or be looking for work elsewhere.

Let’s recap some key performances by who rookies may have improved or harmed their position on the roster.

Kevin King had a big spotlight on him during this first preseason matchup. As the Packers’ top overall pick, it’s expected that he should be competing for a spot as the top corner on the defense. King had to replace Damarious Randall on the defense quite early as Randall was removed from the game with a concussion. Overall, King had an okay night. He recorded five tackles (one of which led to another defender being able to jar the ball loose), but also had one pretty badly missed tackle that led to a first quarter Eagles touchdown. He was also beaten pretty badly in the second quarter for a big gain. King will need to use this game to learn from mistakes, but he’s coming along.

Rookie safety Josh Jones had a similar game experience. He was hampered by some rough plays and bad angles, but he did tie for the most snaps of the night so I believe the coaching staff has a lot of confidence in him to overcome mistakes.

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A groin injury slowed former Packers first-round pick Damarious Randall in 2016. Jim Matthews/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — Two years after the Green Bay Packers used their top-two draft picks on cornerbacks Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, they’re back at the NFL scouting combine with an apparent need at the same position.

The team might be willing to chalk up its problems at that position to injuries that plagued both players in their second seasons. After promising rookie years, Randall (the 30th overall pick in 2015) and Rollins (No. 62 overall), didn’t progress the way the Packers needed last season after they lost veteran cornerback Sam Shields to a concussion in the season opener. The Packers ranked 31st in the NFL passing yards allowed.

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