Packers Turn to Their Defense in Fifth Round

The Packers took Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde and Mississippi State defensive lineman Josh Boyd with their two fifth-round selections. Hyde, a three-year starter, had eight interceptions. Boyd caught the eye of the Packers when scouting Fletcher Cox last year.

With the first of their two fifth-round selections, the Green Bay Packers selected Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde with pick No. 159.

"It's an awesome feeling," Hyde said. "I'm a versatile player. I know that special teams is vital and I know I can do that. I consider myself a very smart player. I think I have a real knack for the game."

With their second pick of the round, the Packers took Mississippi State defensive tackle Josh Boyd, a player Packers position coach Mike Trgovac said he took notice of when scouting 2012 first-round pick Fletcher Cox.

Hyde had a fantastic senior season as he finished with 78 tackles, 14 pass breakups, one interception, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries to claim the Tatum-Woodson Award as the Big Ten's top defensive back. He was named first-team conference and ranked fourth in the Big Ten and 22nd nationally in pass break-ups (1.22), fourth in the Big Ten in punt returns (7.4) and tied for 25th in tackles per game (6.5) in 2012.

On Oct. 6, however, he was arrested for public intoxication and interference with official acts.

"It was back in October during our bye week," Hyde said. "I made a stupid mistake. They all questioned me about it. They wanted know every single detail. I let them know. It's still ongoing. My court date is still coming up. I'm confident I can battle through it. I just learned a life lesson with the whole thing, especially dealing with the media. I learned a life lesson and now I'm just going to go from there."

Hyde (6-0, 197) ran 4.56 with a 33-inch vertical at the Scouting Combine. A durable player, he played in all 51 games at Iowa and started the final 38 games. His 240 career tackles rank 34th in school history and he's tied for 18th with eight interceptions.

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said Hyde would start at cornerback and get a shot at nickel and dime. Safety, at this point, is not in the equation.

"I think he can play corner, he can play nickel or dime," Whitt said. "That's where a lot of his value is at because he's a kid who can play a number of positions. We're going to bring him and see what he can do."

Hyde moved from cornerback to free safety during 2011 spring practice and played both positions as a junior, opening the first two games at safety before starting the final 11 at corner. He tied for the Big Ten lead with 11 passes defensed and tied for eighth with three interceptions, and he also averaged 8.2 yards on punt returns.

As a sophomore, he started all 13 games at cornerback, tallying four interceptions to tie for fourth in the Big Ten. He had the eighth- and 10th-longest interception returns in school history, with a 72-yard touchdown return vs. Missouri in the Insight Bowl and a 66-yard touchdown return vs. Michigan State.

"My physicality," he said when asked what he needs to improve. "I think I'm a good tackler and I do it well. But I think I can do it with a little more physicality. Use my legs more and wrap up. Not always lower my head and dive at people's legs. I make the tackle but sometimes they get three or four yards falling forward. So definitely my physicality. I think with the ball in the air and covering guys I'm really comfortable with that."

At Fostorio (Ohio) High School, he was a three-year team captain and was first-team all-state as a senior. He piled up 111 total touchdowns during his prep career.

"He's a smart kid," Whitt said. "He's a tough kid, a willing tackler. He'll be able to go in and play the nickel, play outside at the corner. He has decent long speed. He didn't let balls go over his head. He understands football. That's one thing I like is bringing in kids who have a high football IQ. There's a number of things that he has that we like."

Later, the Packers took Mississippi State defensive tackle Josh Boyd (6-3, 310).

When scouts flocked to Starkville to see first-round defensive tackle Fletcher Cox attack quarterbacks in 2011, they couldn't help but notice the play of the Bulldogs' high-motor starting nose tackle. Boyd was constantly handling multiple blockers, but the second-team All-Southeastern Conference choice registered a career-best 51 tackles, 4.5 sacks and eight tackles for losses.

"When I was looking at Cox, I noticed him, and it kind of took off from there when I looked at tape this year," Trgovac said. "He's a big man and he's got some explosion to him. We think he's got a little versatility to him. He was able to get some pop. For a big man, he's got good movement. He's got some pretty nimble feet. He'll go in there and fight you. He's got a pretty decent motor."

As a senior, Boyd was again named All-SEC second-team, in addition to being placed on the Outland Trophy Watch List. Without Cox as a sidekick, he did not come close to matching his tackle total from the previous season, posting 33 stops in 2012, but he had 1.5 sacks with a career-high seven pressures. He would conclude his college career with a solid showing in practices leading up to the 2013 East-West Shrine Game.

"I think I'm a true D-tackle," he said. "I can play from the end to the nose. I'm a pretty hard worker. I pride myself on playing hard and being as physical as possible."

In all, he started 41 games – 28 at nose tackle and 13 at strong-side tackle – and registered 125 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 18 tackles for losses, 10 pressures and a blocked kick.

"I think I've got a pretty good shot (at having a good career)," Boyd said. "I'm going to come in and get coached and work as hard as possible.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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