Here is a look at the Green Bay Packers’ projected depth chart at cornerback for the start of training camp:
Note: Coverage stats are from ProFootballFocus.com.
Tramon Williams (5-11, 191; seventh season): A surprising target by fans, Williams remains an upper-echelon cover man. Of 71 corners who played 50 percent of their teams’ defensive snaps, Williams ranked third with 14 passes defensed, 16th with 53.5 percent accuracy and 17th with a 74.3 passer rating allowed. On the other hand, he’s not a physical tackler — in part due to lingering shoulder issues — and had just two interceptions. Still, he's one of the top thieves in the league. The 30-year-old Williams has cap charges of $8.5 million this season and $9.5 million in 2014.
Casey Hayward (5-11, 192; second season): Hayward finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting. He had a team-high six interceptions and league-best 31.1 passer rating against. His six interceptions and no touchdowns allowed was the best ratio in the league. Position coach Joe Whitt said it’s not far-fetched to think Hayward could get 10 interceptions this season.
Sam Shields (5-11, 184; fourth season): Shields didn’t get the long-term contract he wanted. If he plays like he did when healthy in 2012, he’ll get it. Taking his demotion to heart to become the unit’s best tackler, Shields regained the starting job. He ranked No. 1 in the NFL among corners with 21 receptions allowed and one catch for every 16.3 snaps in coverage, and sixth with 47.7 percent accuracy.
Davon House (6-1, 195; third season): House just needs to stay healthy after playing in two games as a rookie and nine games last season. In 2012, he allowed 51.1 percent accuracy but yielded a team-high four touchdowns. He didn’t practice during the offseason due to last year’s shoulder injury.
Jarrett Bush (6-0, 200; eighth season): Bush’s calling card is special teams. His 17 stops in the kicking game matched his career high, and he set a franchise record with seven consecutive seasons of at least 10 special-teams tackles. The 29-year-old has cap charges of $1.78 million in 2013 and $2.03 million in 2014.
Micah Hyde (6-0, 197; rookie/R-5): Hyde worked mostly at the nickel position during offseason practices. He’s not blessed with great speed but has shown a good feel for the game. At Iowa, he picked off eight passes and forced four fumbles.
James Nixon (6-0, 186; first season): Nixon spent most of 2012 on the Packers’ practice squad. He played both sides of the ball and averaged 25.8 yards per kickoff at Temple before playing at California (Pa.) as a senior. He’s got big-time speed with a 4.31 in the 40.
Brandon Smith (6-1, 205; first season): A receiver at Arizona State who couldn’t stay on the field, he failed to make a team in 2011. At the urging of Seattle coach Pete Carroll, who while at USC recruited Smith as a cornerback, he moved back to defense. Smith was signed after trying out at the rookie camp. He’s a superb athlete with 4.39 in the 40 and 40-inch vertical. Position coach Joe Whitt is intrigued by his upside because of his measurables and raw ability.
Loyce Means (5-10, 188; first season): Means’ road to Green Bay started when he bumped into Packers scout Alonzo Highsmith at an airport in Memphis. When Highsmith worked him out, Means ran a 4.34 40-yard dash. At the University of Houston, Means intercepted eight passes as a part-time starter.
Total: 9. On 2012 opening roster: 5 (Williams, Shields, Hayward, House, Bush).
Final prediction: 5 (Hayward, House, Hyde, Shields, Williams).