The Green Bay Packers scored big in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft by taking defensive end Datone Jones No. 26 overall. Now, the Packers must hit again in the second round by taking another defensive player.
Expect Packers general manger Ted Thompson to draft a safety with the 23rd pick in the second round. There is no question this is a need for Green Bay as the team has struggled to replace Nick Collins. Since numerous defensive backs were taken in the first round, it is even more critical that the Packers select one in the second before they are completely picked over.
There are two safeties in particular that would be a great fit in Green Bay’s secondary. Florida International University strong safety Jonathan Cyprien and Fresno State free safety Phillip Thomas are both great possibilities. It does not matter if the Packers select a strong or free safety because starter Morgan Burnett is capable of playing both positions.
Cyprien would be the better fit of the two, but there is a good chance he could be taken before Green Bay gets a chance to make the selection. However, he is still someone the Packers should have their eye on just in case he falls to them.
The 6-foot, 217-pound safety is a player that could have easily gone in the late first round. However, the fact that he is still around is huge because not a lot of teams ahead of Green Bay will be taking a safety in the second round. Cyprien has an aggressive playing style who hits hard, something the Packers need desperately in the secondary. His 93 tackles and four interceptions are everything the organization needs to know about his instincts and ball handling skills.
Even though Cyprien is not afraid to make the hit, sometimes he tackles too high which causes the ball carrier to break free. Tackling lower will be something he will need to work on at the next level if he wants to be a starter for the Packers.
The 6-foot-1, 208-pound Thomas recorded the most interceptions (eight) in FBS last season, three of which were returned for touchdowns. He is faster than Cyprien, which means he is capable of closing in on ball carriers quicker. His overall speed is his biggest asset, while his natural instincts to pick off a pass will be utilized to the fullest extent in the NFL. Thomas is also a very hard hitter who is not afraid to get physical.
The major downside to Thomas is that he sometimes goes for the big play instead of making the safe play. However, going for the home run is what the Packers have missed with Collins not on the team.