25/06/2024

Packers optimistic about Carrington Valentine, depth at cornerback

Hace 3 meses

Packers optimistic about Carrington Valentine, depth at cornerback

Re-signing slot cornerback Keisean Nixon and the team's optimism in Carrington Valentine's ability entering Year 2 has Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst feeling good about the depth he has at the cornerback position.

Re-signing slot cornerback Keisean Nixon and the team's optimism in Carrington Valentine's ability entering Year 2 has Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst feeling good about the depth he has at the cornerback position.

Re-signing slot cornerback Keisean Nixon and the team’s building optimism in Carrington Valentine’s ability entering Year 2 has Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst feeling good about the depth he has at the cornerback position entering the 2024 draft.

“If we can stay healthy there (cornerback), I like the way the competition in that room is shaping up,” Gutekunst said from the league meetings on Monday.

The Packers re-signed Nixon on a three-year deal, providing a likely starter in the slot. Gutekunst also brought back Corey Ballentine on a deal above the minimum, and the Packers think Valentine — a seventh-round pick last year who made 13 starts — is a capable starter.

“I think he showed last year that he was (a starting level player),” Gutekunst said. “He played very consistent football for us, and I think his best football is ahead of him, like a lot of our guys. He needs to get a little bit stronger, and I think he will. But I think the positions we put him in this past season, he answered the bell quite a bit throughout. Some of those were on short notice. And to come in and compete like he did, you don’t see that a lot out of seventh-round players. He had a lot of belief in himself and when the opportunities came, he certainly capitalized on them.”

Valentine was on the field for 695 defensive snaps as a rookie, and he led the team with nine pass breakups. According to Pro Football Focus, Valentine allowed just one touchdown pass and a completion percentage of 57.4 into his coverage last season. He committed only two penalties, missed only two tackles against the pass and gave up a passer rating of 84.1.

Adding play strength may allow Valentine to be a disruptive press cornerback type in Jeff Hafley’s new defense. His play style would appear to be a better match for Hafley’s aggressive style than Joe Barry’s more passive style.

One month out from the draft, the Packers have likely starters in Nixon and Jaire Alexander, a recent first-round pick in Eric Stokes who is coming back from another injury-plagued season and two starting competitors in Valentine and Ballentine. Stokes is a question mark, and the long-term depth at cornerback isn’t necessarily solidified, so the Packers could still make another big investment at the position. But it’s clear Gutekunst is more comfortable with the depth he’s built at cornerback than the current outside perception.

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