The Green Bay Packers made 13 picks overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Understandably, their offensive picks in rounds two through five are getting the most attention from fans and the media. However, one of their defensive picks, safety Anthony Johnson Jr., whom they drafted in the seventh round, was named the biggest steal of the seventh round by PFF. With the safety position possibly the biggest question mark on the defense, it would be immensely beneficial if he turns out to be a solid player.
Green Bay Packers Rookie Safety Anthony Johnson Jr. Named Biggest Steal of the Seventh Round
In his article posted by PFF, Trevor Sikkema identified each round’s biggest steal. While this year’s safety class was relatively shallow in terms of talent, Johnson Jr. could end up being the best pick of the entire seventh round:
“Johnson was the 90th-ranked player on PFF’s final big board, and unless there’s something about his scouting report that we don’t know about medically, he should not have been drafted so late. Johnson started for five seasons at Iowa State, four of them at cornerback, and moved to a hybrid safety-nickel cornerback role in his final season. He never recorded a coverage grade below 70.0 in his five years of experience. He pairs that experience with a desirable physical play style and shows good instincts in coverage at multiple defensive back positions. We believe the Packers got a good one.”
This is excellent news for the Packers and their fans as safety is arguably the weakest position on the defense. While they have no lack of depth (many of their special teams players are safeties by trade), they do lack players with the ability to be an every-down player at the position. Darnell Savage, who just restructured his contract, will likely be a starter. The other possible starting candidate is Rudy Ford who had a solid season on special teams, but does not offer much confidence as an every-down safety.
With the talent depth of the team in question, Anthony Johnson Jr. could very well become a big contributor on defense. As Sikkema noted, he should not have fallen to the seventh round. He could end up being an excellent player for years to come in Green Bay.
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