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Green and Bold: Packers Get Thinner at Cornerback

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Green and Bold: Packers Get Thinner at Cornerback

It looks like the cornerback position is going to get worse before it gets better for the Packers, as they waived former undrafted free agent Makinton Dorleant on Tuesday with a failed physical designation. 

Dorleant was never going to be the catalyst to the Packers improving dramatically in the secondary in 2017; that role will belong especially to Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, incumbent starters, as well as Davon House, who recently returned to the fold. 

But, as the Packers had to discover the hard way in 2016, depth is essential at the position, and the team needs to have players who can step into the starting role should injuries necessitate it. The team felt Dorleant was the man for that job last season; after he spent the first 11 weeks of the season on injured reserve following a hamstring injury suffered in training camp, the team activated him later in the season. 

However, four games later, Dorleant tore his ACL, and seemingly hasn't made the kind of progress the Packers had hoped to see at this point in his rehab ahead of offseason workouts. 

While the failed physical is reason enough to release a player, it's likely that Dorleant's arrest in late March for interference in a bar in Iowa didn't help his case. 

As the position continues to get thinner, questions remain about whether Ted Thompson will address the need in Round 1. While there are many talented corners who are projected to be available near the end of the first round, including Florida's Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor, Green Bay could also make an impact with a pass-rusher like Wisconsin's T.J. Watt.

Some analysts think that because Thompson signed House—as a "street" free agent, no less, meaning he won't count against the team's compensatory pick formula for next season—he took pressure off himself to have to add cornerback talent in the first round.

That strategy works as long as Randall and Rollins step up. But Randall, who was straight-up benched for poor play in his sophomore slump last season, has a lot to prove this year in training camp to give Thompson and the Packers that kind of peace of mind. 

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BradHTX's picture

The position is thinner without Dorleant, but realistically, not worse. He's a replacement-level player. Would have been nice if he'd developed into something, but at this stage he was nothing that can't be found in another low round pick or UDFA.

I believe the secondary is going to be fine with Randall and Rollins healthy and more experienced, House back in the house, and if the pass rush can improve. I do believe TT will draft another corner but on the second day, after an OLB in the first and probably a WR in the second.

marpag1's picture

Agree. There really isn't anything "thinner" than an undrafted rookie free agent with a blown out knee on top of it. According to Football Outsiders, he played FIVE defensive snaps for GB last year. There was no realistic possibility that this guy was going to be a game day active anytime soon.

RCPackerFan's picture

I liked Dorleant. I thought he had a chance to be the next Wiliams or Shields type of player. I'm not saying he would have been that good, but saying that he had a chance to be a good player.

I expect the Packers to add at least 1 CB in the draft and probably bring in a few UDFA's as well. Almost every year it seems they keep at least 1 UDFA CB on the roster. This year should be no different.

Nick Perry's picture

Randalls confidence has to be one of the more concerning aspects of his game right now. He finished the 2015 season with a blown coverage in the playoff loss to the Cardinals, then picked up where he left off in Arizona up to the time he was injured. He showed signs last year he could do the job, they were just too few and far between.

House might be the key to this whole thing, or at least an important part of a turnaround. If he plays like he did in 2015 for the Jags the Packers might be in business. If not then the Packers are back to hoping Randall or Gunter can do it.

I can't remember a draft that I'm hoping the Packers can get immediate help from in a long time. This IS an extremely important draft for the Packers moving forward.

porupack's picture

Not a real setback, but now I'd say in addition to drafting CB in round 1-2, you now need another veteran CB. Just not enough experience back there...and drafting 2 CBs is just too much inexperience on top of a young corps. Capers supposedly has a very complex scheme....and often failed 3rd-and 11 stops were result of miscommunication and blown assignments. So get a vet, before draft or during the August roster cuts.

Since '61's picture

I'd actually like to see TT draft 2 CBs and bring in 2 or more UDFA CBs and make everyone compete for the 4-5 spots on the roster. With the possible exception of House I'd be fine if the Packers replaced all of their existing corners assuming the rookies are upgrades over who we have now (which would not be very difficult). We need a better level of play and we need consistency at the position. House should be an improvement, after that I don't have a lot of confidence in the existing group. Given the alleged depth of CB talent in this year's draft maybe we can come away with the 2 starting CBs we failed to acquire in Randall and Rollins. Barring injuries we will be facing 6-7 very good QBs this season, including Brees, Ryan, Newton, Rothlesberger, Wilson, Flacco and Stafford 2X. It would nice to have some confidence in our CBs and in our defense overall by the time we face them. Thanks, Since '61

BradHTX's picture

Hey Since'61, I always enjoy your comments and generally consider you a voice of reason, so I'm actually going to respond. I think you're kicking Randall and Rollins to your mind's curb way too early.

Yeah, they were awful last year, but both were injured all season long and Randall was thrust into the role of #1 by Shields' injury and wasn't ready for it yet. I think a wait-and-see attitude is warranted for both of them, they deserve a chance to redeem themselves in their third seasons. Randall's shattered confidence is concerning, but players CAN be coached through that — see Crosby, Mason.

I think that what happens in the draft will actually say a lot about what we can expect from R&R in the future. If TT doesn't take a CB in the first two rounds, and selects Sidney Jones in, say, the third then I think that shows those far closer to the situation than we are have confidence that R&R are healthy and ready to make good on their promising rookie seasons. If TT selects a CB in the first two rounds, then I think it's a good bet they are concerned R&R don't have it.

Since '61's picture

Brad - appreciate your reply and generous comments. I haven't necessarily given up on Randall and Rollins, at least not yet. I would just like to see how they respond to a real challenge during TC. Hopefully the result is that we learn at least one of them is a starting caliber NFL CB. The worst that could happen is we learn that we have drafted a CB or 2 that can play better than either or both of Randall and Rollins and we start one or both of the rookies with House, Randall and Rollins as our 3, 4 & 5 CBs. Or a combination of Randall, Rollins and House are the starters and our drafted rookies are 4 & 5 CBs. Either way we go into the season with our best players on the field and more confidence in our CB position group than we have today. Thanks, Since '61

Nick Perry's picture

I agree Since '61, the Packers need to draft at least 2 new CB's and have a long list prepared of possible priority UDFA CB's they might be able to get signed after the draft. I don't see how anybody could say Randall, Rollins, or even House are set in stone as the starters this year. They need depth and competition at the position. If House or even Randall are being viewed as the Packers #1 CB this year that should concern you a bit. I'm optimistic Randall and Rollins will turn it around, House will be better because he's back to playing man, but the reality is who the hell knows?

It would be a damn shame to count on the Packers "Big 3" in 2017 only to have 2016 repeated. They've rolled the dice at ILB, RB, TE, S, and LT a few years ago at one time or another and the results weren't pretty. Rodgers is turning 34 in December...tick, tick, tick

stockholder's picture

A-Rod 34 tick tick tick. Nick I want your opinion on A-rod. Would you trade A-Rod for 3 picks from Houston. 2 #1s and a 2. They want a Qb. Would you trade A-Rod. (Do you remember the Hadl trade?) Are the Packers there.

Nick Perry's picture

Me personally I wouldn't stockholder, just because he's so damn good and takes great care of himself. I think Rodgers can be effective for at least another 5 seasons. After 38 who knows, but I'll take him until then barring injury. I remember the Hadl trade and it was a huge reason for the Packers problems into the 80's even. I lived in Minneapolis then and remember all the Vikings writers having a laugh at the thought of trading all those picks for a washed up QB. At 33 (Rodgers) I don't think the Packers are there. I also don't think Hundley is close to being ready. He had a great PRESEASON 2 years ago. He's 2 of 10 in the regular season with an interception.

Rodgers himself is worth 10 wins or so a year. Could you imagine if TT actually did everything he could to put a team around him? I've said it before, I would rather not qualify for the playoffs in 2020 for example if the Packers were to go for it and win in 2017 and 2018 or 2018 and 2019. Hell if they managed just one more by 2020 I'd be happy. That's worth it to me but that's me. The Packers have won a TON of NFC North/Central titles in the last 22 years, but only 2 SB's. If you're Cleveland 2 SB are great. In GB with 2 HOF QB not so much.

Thompson's contract runs through 2018 and what the might mean is anyone's guess. There's all kind of stories about TT staying, going after this year, or staying through next seasons draft. The Packers say they have a plan in place when it happens and I'm sure they do.

My hope there plan is having TT step away after this season, remain as a draft consultant, and let Wolf take over. Once that happens I think you'll see an approach of using all the tools available to you as a GM to win. Not just the draft or sporadic use of FA. When the constant response to signing FA is Woodson that's kinda san considering it was 12 seasons ago. It worked out well in 2010 but lets move on folks.

dobber's picture

Most of us would agree that TT doesn't hear a ticking clock when he manages the roster. I think this leads to the frustration many voice here.

I think ARod is currently worth more than 2-1's and a 2 (even at his age) but I'd never try to deal him from this team -- with no clear succession or backup plan -- unless you're blowing the whole thing up a la Cleveland. Look at how far he carried this group last fall with a piecemeal running game and no defensive help. Just how much improvement is necessary to put THAT team in the SB?

Nick Perry's picture

I think he's worth more than that too. I just couldn't imagine trading Rodgers away from this team, especially at 33. I keep having visions of the the 2011 Indianapolis Colts!

Since '61's picture

No way we ever trade Rodgers unless we learn for certain that he is going to sign with another team when his current contract ends. I don't know how that would happen unless we offer him an extension and he turns it down flat. But then, no team would give up the draft picks if they know he's going the FA route. They would just keep their picks and sign him as an FA and the Packers would get a comp pick. After lingering in QB hell from 1971 until 1992 (except for the Lynn Dickey years) I don't see the Packers in a hurry to return to that situation. Keep Rodgers a Packer! Thanks, Since '61

Nick Perry's picture

"This isn't even a story. Little more than make an announcement and move on. Not even worth writing about."

Yet you seem to give your opinion multiple times to a story "not worth writing about". It was a question Dan, just a question on a Packers fan site to promote conversation, ask an opinion. YOU don't have to like it, agree with it, or hopefully even comment on it.

Now you're back to being a critic about the writers huh? Haven't you learned your lesson from the previous 2 or 3 times your intolerant attitude got you kicked off here?
It's 2 weeks before the draft Dan. The writers are doing their best to try to provide Packers fans with stories, thoughts, opinions, or ideas and I for one appreciate. YOU should try to appreciate it. Hell you should try to just appreciate ANYTHING!

"Is that clear enough?"

Nick Perry's picture

How old are you? I mean really. "always wrong"?? Common Dan, you're pretty sharp, you can do better than that.

It's not for you to decide if it's a story or not. Why comment at all is the point.

Yes, it might be more interesting at the end of the but they all can't be to the liking 100% of the people who visit CHTV. Is it really that difficult for you to not comment at all??

stockholder's picture

DP. It wasn't being Unbelievable. It was draft talk. You can't want to trade a back up QB. (as Written by some) And let the starter ,Tick,Tick,Tick away, without winning a super-bowl. A-Rods personal Life is now changing with that. (As Written) The cap has been a issue with many on this site. Consider it draft Talk! (And how to get the packers to win the super-bowl. ) Farve left, A-Rod some day will leave. And like most all-pros that have left their original teams. Their still going back and retiring from them. Grow up man!

stockholder's picture

Stupid is not keeping your options open. The draft picks make you younger, faster, stronger. A-Rod could be going through a mid life crisis. As the tools get old. It usually becomes a PR game with a lot of stars. So I hope A-rod finds his new love soon. But above all I hope he keeps his head. Something you totally are not doing.

Since '61's picture

Nick, I agree. We need better play at CB and we need it fast. Thanks, Since '61

stockholder's picture

Conley is going off the board before 29. Next in line is Wilson,Jackson, or King. ??? which one In your opinion ?

Since '61's picture

Stock - I can only reply with Wilson because I have not seen Jackson or King play.
Conley would be my first choice but I agree with you that he will probably be gone by #29.
I also like Tabor, but again he is one of the few that I have had a chance to see play.
Nowadays I watch about 10 college games per year. I think I watched 8 in 2016.
It's difficult for me to find the time among my obligations to my family, my business partner, associates and customers, plus my commitments to non- profit veteran support organizations.
I leave the draft speak to the scouts, professionals and better informed than I.
This is why I rarely comment on the draft prospect articles.
I do however watch every play of every Packer game, sometimes 2 or 3 times, and based on that I know we need to draft or sign better CBs than who we currently have on the roster. As so many, including myself have posted here before, we cannot keep waiting 2 or 3 seasons for players to develop. By the time they do another position group is in the same boat, e.g., our safety position group 2 seasons ago and our ILB group seemingly forever.
Lo Das, Lo Das, Toujours Lo Das! Thanks, Since '61

dobber's picture

How can you miss something you never had?

Dorleant was a non-factor. He wasn't likely to be a factor in 2017 with a blown ACL in week 17 and zero OTA and minicamp reps (not to mention virtually zero camp reps) going into the upcoming season. He was headed for a redshirt year or year on the PS.

I don't think this meaningfully changes the team's perspective going into the draft or in assessing FA leading up to the start of camp in July.

croatpackfan's picture

Michelle, Randall weas benched because of his injuries, and injuries consequently "produced" poor plays. YOu are not fair towards Randall and Rollins. Hip injuries are really tricky. It is like someone broke all your 10 fingers and ask you to type the article for 2 minutes, otherwise you do not have talent for that! And you'll never have...

Both players showed that they are talented enough to be starters in NFL. Unfortunatelly, they were asked to fill much bigger shoes last season and they failed, mainly because of injuries...

Thank you!

P.S. I really do not think that TT cares what analysts thinks and he is not taking pressure from himself. I'm sure that he would and will manage draft as usual. No matter if there is Davon on the rostewr or not.

PatrickGB's picture

For whatever reason our CB's regressed to the point that Capers was forced to have them in what looked like a zone defense so soft it looked like an end of game style prevent defense. Ugly. I guess the hope was that our pass rush would work. It did not. We need quality pass rushers and quality DB's. I don't care how we get them or in what round.

lou's picture

Going back many years outside of Willie Buchanon being a true starting CB in his rookie season it is very unlikely that the draft will produce one this season, just based on the law of averages. Recently, only Hayward early into his rookie season became a starter although as the nickel CB not on the boundary. Everyone hopes that Randall and Rollins had sophomore slumps mostly due to injury but know one knows that for sure with the net result being that a huge over achiever (Gunter) was their best boundary CB last season, and we saw a free agent WR being moved to CB for the playoffs. Not only are the starters not set but the backup depth losing Dorleant and Goodson to severe injuries makes CB not thin but super thin. To think their will not be multiple CB's drafted/signed undrafted would be insanity. One of those has to be the next Willie Buchanon for the Packers sake.

lou's picture

Thanks for remembering, he would have been a really good one and went on to coach in the NFL for many years. Dan Devine was not one of the most popular Packer coaches and one of the things reported that got him off on the wrong foot was during his first early practices (not called OTA's then) he showed the vets films of Willie Buchanon as "instructional film" for them as the rookie Buchanon sat and watched as well. Another note from that era is that the Packer players nick name for Willie was "Buck" for at that time the more famous Buck Buchanon of the Chief's which was comical because of the huge difference in builds.

Since '61's picture

DPF - agree. I believe that Tim Lewis would have been one of the greats. Another in a long list of Packers prematurely lost to a neck injury. Hornung, Lewis, Collins, Finley, Franklin to name just a few. What could have been. Maybe this era's Tim Lewis is waiting to be taken by the Packers in the 2017 draft. Maybe this time he remains healthy. Anything is possible. Thanks, Since '61

GVPacker's picture

Since'61 you reminded me of what kind of career Sterling Sharpe might have had if he hadn't suffered a career ending neck injury!

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