The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects who could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Brian Gutekunst moves to safety. The Green Bay general manager walked out and signed Tarvarius Moore, a former third-round pick and special teams standout with the San Francisco 49ers. Gutekunst followed suit by re-signing Rudy Ford to a one-year deal.
There is still work to be done to improve the safety depth chart and there’s a good chance Gutekunst will address the position in the upcoming NFL draft.
A player who Green Bay could be a target in the 2023 NFL Draft Ji’Ayir Brown. The Penn State safety checks in at #47 on the Unpacking Future Packers countdown.
Brown transferred to Penn State from Lackawanna Community College. In 2021, Brown recorded 73 tackles, one tackle for loss, six interceptions and five pass deflections. Last season, Brown recorded 74 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and four interceptions.
“Ji’Ayir Brown was the top all-around player on the Penn State defense during the 2022 season,” said Daniel Gallen, a reporter for Lions247. “New defensive coordinator Manny Diaz capitalized on his versatility, which allowed Brown to fill the stat sheet. He was still playing in midfield, where he thrived in 2021, but Diaz got him close to the line of scrimmage as an extra linebacker in the Prowler package, and Brown showed he could be an accomplished blitzer.”
Brown has a knack for putting the ball back on offense. During his two years as a starter for Penn State, the JUCO transfer picked up 10 passes, forced three fumbles and recovered three fumbles.
“Brown’s ball skills are his greatest strength with six interceptions in 2021 and four more this past season,” Gallen said. “Brown has good instincts and he was able to catch tipped passes in the air and play for cover with the ball as well. He’s a skilled midfielder who can help shore up the back end of defence.”
Brown clocked a 4.64 40-yard time at the NFL Scouting Combine. Due to his instincts and his fast processor, he plays faster than his 40s time. He reads the quarterback’s eyes and quickly deduces the route. He shows an excellent range.
“Brown’s instincts make him an effective cover security man,” Gallen said. “His speed hasn’t performed well at the combine, but he draws on his experience as a midfielder in his baseball career to chase balls. He’s also a well-prepared and intelligent player, which allows him to be in the right place at the right time.”
Brown is able to wear multiple hats in secondary school. For the past season, he has logged in the slot as a linebacker and deep safety snaps. He likes to play close to the line of scrimmage where his physicality is on full display. He can work his way through the garbage.
If he lines up low, he’ll walk down the alley and arrive with bad intentions. He limits YAC opportunities for pass catchers and tries to halve his goal when he arrives. Last season, Brown was asked to blitz more and he responded with 4.5 sacks and 15 pressings. Brown plays with a lot of energy and could set the tone.
“Brown is built to keep up in running assist and he can trip runners in one-on-one situations,” Gallen said. “Brown has led the Nittany Lions in solo tackles for the last two seasons and he has a nose for football with three forced fumbles in the last two seasons. He’s also a fearless tackler who doesn’t make business decisions.”
During his three seasons at Penn State, Brown recorded 249 snaps on special teams and recorded two tackles. That particular team experience could help Brown see the field early in his rookie season.
Fit with the packers
Overall a weak security class. There are quality players to be had and there are bound to be some hidden gems.
Brown didn’t turn heads at the Scouting Combine and his draft stock likely took a light hit. If available on day three of the draft, he will have the tenacity, instincts, playmaking skills and special teams experience to fill a role for the Packers during his rookie season. In addition to his skills on the field, Brown would be a welcome addition to Green Bay’s dressing room with his leadership.
“Brown would help the team both on the field and in the dressing room,” Gallen said. “Brown is a strong leader who can command a defense, and he backs his words with action on the field. By all accounts at Penn State, he was a consummate teammate. He’s also a dedicated player, having considered playing Division III football before starting in the junior collegiate ranks at Lackawanna College alongside future Penn State teammate and current Chicago Bear Jaquan Brisker. Brown recognizes how rare it is for a player like him to find himself in this situation and he is focused on making the most of this opportunity.”
Gutekunst has taken steps to improve the team’s security space. Even though it’s a weak security class, it’s reasonable to expect Gutekunst to aim for a security or two in a matter of weeks. Brown could make an immediate impact on special teams as he fights for a defensive role.
Unpacking Packers of the Future: #48, Ole Miss WR Jonathan Mingo
Unboxing Future Packers: No. 49, Cincinnati TE Josh Whyle
Unboxing Future Packers: No. 50, Minnesota CB Terell Smith
Unpacking Packers of the Future: No. 51, Georgia RB Kenny McIntosh
Unpacking Packers of the Future: #52, Kansas State DB Julius Brents
Source : sports.yahoo.com