There still seems to be great concern about the Green Bay Packers condition at the cornerback position. At the same time the rumbling for a free-agent or trade at the position is still not fading. I personally think we will be okay, but Ted Thompson (if he's as smart as I think he is) needs to take a long hard look at one guy getting no love right now. Can you name that player?
I don't think that there is any debate about the Al Harris trade back in 2003. Harris, who had surprisingly been cut a few years earlier by the Buccaneers, started mostly at nickelback in 2002 and made a few starts in injury situations. The Packers, in a move not seen by this organization in years, traded their second and fourth round pick for Harris after he came off a 25 tackle (18 solo) one interception and 13 pass defensed season. In his first full year with the Packers, he recorded 45 tackles 3 interceptions and 14 passes defensed. Safe to say a superstar was born.
It was a gutsy move at the time. Al Harris, although solid, had been beat a few times, and parting with a high round draft pick for what looked like a star was still a risk. Al Harris signed a $4.3m base + $1.6 million roster bonus shortly thereafter. The rest is history.
There is a free-agent sitting out there right now that looks a lot like Harris did when the Packers gambled on him in 2003. He's been beat a couple of times, but most certainly has pro-bowl ball skills. He, much like Harris currently plays in a nickel role while periodically starting in injury situations. He's going to cost a team a first round pick, which is a little higher than Harris, but he is coming off a a 49 tackle, four interception season while credited with 15 passes defensed. That performance is even slightly nicer looking than Al's in 2002.
I know it's always a gamble make a long term commitment to a guy who hasn't totally proven themselves as a starter yet. But, in 2003 the Packers had the nuts to take a gamble on a nickel back stuck behind a couple of superstars in Philadelphia. It worked out pretty good, and I bet that the Eagles wish they would have never parted ways with Al.
The next Al Harris is sitting out there right now, and if we judge stat lines (like so many of you seem to think are the Bible) there is absolutely no reason Ted should not be pulling the trigger on this guy today. It's a smart move, and to me anyway is really a no-brainer. It worked out great in 2003, and there is no reason the same can't be said in 2010.
Okay all you supposed football guru's... name that player.