Packers HC has high expectations for rookie safety: ‘He’s a sharp guy’

The Green Bay Packers came into the 2024 offseason knowing that safety was arguably their greatest position of need. If you need proof of that, just check out how George Kittle carved up the Packers over the middle in their 24-21 NFC divisional playoff loss this past winter.

Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst addressed that need in a big way in free agency, bringing in former New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney, who has been a borderline All-Pro player over the past four seasons.

Gutey then took another big bite of the safety apple in Round 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Packers had two picks in that round and used the No. 58 overall selection on former Georgia safety Javon Bullard.

There will be major expectations for any high pick, but when speaking to the media on Monday, new Green Bay defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley set the bar extremely high for Bullard.

By the sounds of it, Hafley seems to believe he has a McKinney-light in the 21-year-old rookie safety.

“Love the versatility,” Hafley said of Bullard. “He’s a physical guy, he can run, he can cover, he can play deep, he can play in the slot, he can blitz. And he’s bigger when you see him. You guys, have you seen him yet? He’s thick, strong,” Hafley said of Bullard, per Packers News. “And then the best part about it is, and I kind of said the same thing about X (McKinney), is you don’t really know what you’re getting until you get in the meeting room with him. I mean, he’s a sharp guy. I mean, his ability to learn and process in those two days was impressive.”

It’s anticipated that Bullard will start next to McKinney and if he can replicate what he did at Georgia, there’s reason to believe he’s going to be a great Packer.

He was an All-SEC second-team player in 2023 for UGA, starting 12 games for the Bulldogs while notching 56 tackles, two interceptions and five breakups.

Bullard was profiled as a do-everything safety in the draft who could even play nickel in certain packages, and that seems to be exactly what the Packers are hoping for out of him in Year 1.

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