Packers go defensive in 2nd, 3rd rounds

Green Bay chooses King with first pick
By: 

The Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers made shoring up the secondary their first priority in the NFL draft.

They took Washington cornerback Kevin King with the first selection of the second round on Friday to fill a big need on defense. The 6-foot-3 King adds size and speed to a secondary that was burned in the passing game and maligned by injuries.

Later in the second round, Green Bay took Josh Jones, a 6-foot-2 safety out of North Carolina State. They added beef in the third round by taking 6-foot-4, 304-pound defensive lineman Montravius Adams out of Auburn.

Once again, the Packers focused on defense early in the draft. Team executives expressed a need to add versatility, height and speed on the back end, three months after getting blown out by the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC title game.

King had a 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds, according to NFL.com, while Jones was timed at 4.41 seconds.

“I just think that’s the way the game’s going. You just don’t want to get outflanked. You’ve got to have guys who can run and chase,” player personnel director Brian Gutekunst said about drafting fast players. “I don’t think that ever changes, I think we’ve always wanted to get faster.”

Green Bay traded the 29th overall pick in the first round on Thursday to Cleveland for the 33rd overall pick to take King, as well as first pick of the fourth round on Saturday, the 108th overall. General manager Ted Thompson had said that he was fielding calls about his first pick Friday, a potential hint that the Packers may not have been done dealing.

But minutes before the pick was announced, defensive coordinator Dom Capers was spotted in the Packers draft room at Lambeau Field speaking with Thompson. Team officials then exchanged handshakes.

“One of our goals this year was to try to get faster,” director of football operations Eliot Wolf said. “I think we got the tallest corner in the draft and one that runs really fast.”

Green Bay also brought back veteran cornerback Davon House in the offseason as a free agent after he spent the last two years in Jacksonville. King and House will join third-year holdovers Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter at cornerback.

Randall was a first-round draft pick in 2015, while Rollins was taken in the second round that season. Gunter joined the Packers that year as an undrafted free agent.

Those three players took on more responsibility last year after veteran cornerback Sam Shields went down with a concussion in the season opener. He never returned and was released this offseason. Randall and Rollins were also bothered by injuries.

Jones could be a possible replacement for Micah Hyde, who played both cornerback and safety and saw a lot of time in passing situations. Hyde departed as a free agent for the Buffalo Bills this offseason.

“We went in with the idea of trying to find more defenders, especially versatile guys like Josh who could switch from safety to corner,” Thompson said. “It’s nice to add people to that equation.”

Jones, who has played both safety positions in college, left North Carolina State after his junior season. He played in 38 career games, making 32 starts, with 229 tackles and eight interceptions.

“I dropped to my knees and thanked the Lord,” Jones said about his reaction when he was drafted.

Adams was selected with the 93rd overall pick in the third round. Adams is a three-year starter who may be able to play different positions along the line.