There has been a great deal of attention given to the Green Bay Packers’ cornerback group, and rightfully so.
After re-signing Rasul Douglas and extending Jaire Alexander in the spring, the Packers arguably have one of the top corner trios in the league with Alexander, Douglas, and second-year player Eric Stokes who had a strong rookie season in his own right.
That’s a discussion for Friday, however, as today we are looking at the players at the safety position. While the praise the cornerbacks are receiving is certainly well deserved, don’t sleep on the other part of the Green Bay secondary.
We continue our predictions for the Packers’ initial 53-man roster with a position that is settled in terms of starters but also where this competition for the backup role. One could argue safety depth is the one area of concern for an otherwise stout Packers defense entering the regular season and hopefully one or two players will emerge from training camp and the preseason to solidify the back end of the position group.
If not, general manager Brian Gutekunst may be taking in-season fliers on players like he did a year ago at inside linebacker and cornerback. He won’t need to stick the landing as much on those barring injury to either Adrian Amos or Darnell Savage, but extra depth can come in handy especially in sub packages.
Here is how APC sees the safety position shaking out to begin the 2022 campaign.
Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage
Both Amos and Savage are entrenched as the starters and could be one of the top safety tandems in the NFL.
Amos is probably one of the most underappreciated safeties on the defense and in the league as you don’t hear his name on the broadcast all that often. That is a sign of rock solid safety play, which is precisely what Gutekunst brought him in to do in 2019 to replace the enigmatic Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He has not missed a game since arriving in Green Bay and had his best season last year, setting career highs in combined tackles with 93 and solo stops with 75.
Savage has shown both promise and inconsistency since he arrived in the NFL the same year Amos came to Green Bay, but it’s easy to see why the Packers fell in love with him. He’s a tremendous athlete and has flashed playmaking skills, but Savage also dropped multiple interceptions and has missed more than twice as many tackles as Amos over the past three seasons (42 vs 20, per Pro Football Focus).
Both players face uncertainty over their long-term future in Green Bay, though Savage saw his fifth-year option picked up for 2023 earlier this spring. Amos should be a top priority for an extension, especially with more cap gymnastics like coming for Green Bay in the spring.
Tariq Carpenter, Shawn Davis
While fans may be relieved to see the liability that was Henry Black is off the roster, this is not exactly an ideal depth chart.
Tariq Carpenter was a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft and could very well see some time or perhaps even move full-time to inside linebacker. He has the speed to be a sideline-to-sideline player but a player drafted so late usually takes time to adjust to the speed of the NFL game. He will likely contribute to special teams immediately and get the first crack at the third safety position.
Shawn Davis was a 2021 fifth-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts who was picked up by Green Bay in September after his release. He spent most of the year on Green Bay’s practice squad and only logged one assisted tackle last season. He’ll get a shot at special teams as well.
Vernon Scott, Innis Gaines, Tre Sterling
Vernon Scott misses the initial roster after spending the past two seasons in Green Bay including being active for 15 games in 2020. He was beaten out by Black last year, however. Gaines has a lot of strong qualities but he will have to beat out Carpenter as well. However, don’t be surprised if Gaines makes the roster. Sterling is an undrafted free agent who will face a steep hill to make the roster given he missed most of 2021 with injury. That said, anything can happen in training camp!