Third-Rounder Burnett Has Deal

S Morgan Burnett

The big-play safety from Georgia Tech has agreed to a four-year contract. His agent broke the news to Packer Report on Friday.

The Green Bay Packers agreed to terms with third-round draft pick Morgan Burnett, agent Kevin Conner told Packer Report on Friday afternoon.

"He's excited to be officially a Packer," Conner said. "He has set high expectations for himself to become a starter his rookie year. I am very confident he will make a significant contribution this upcoming season and years to come."

Terms were not available, but the Packers typically sign their non-first-round draft picks to four-year deals.

Burnett was the 71st overall selection of the draft. Oakland reportedly gave offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, taken at No. 69, a four-year deal worth $2.685 million, with a signing bonus of $895,000.

Burnett picked off 14 passes during three seasons at Georgia Tech, and those playmaking skills were apparent during the Packers' offseason practices. Taking advantage of incumbent starter Atari Bigby's refusal to sign his restricted free agent tender, Burnett took advantage of the first-team reps to such an extent that he's probably no worse than a 50-50 proposition to win the starting job.

"I think he's very professional," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "He's done a nice job of picking up the system and the calls and the communication. He has very good size for the position. He's got good flexibility in his body. He's benefitted from having all the repetitions in the OTAs. I like him. I think he'll give us another playmaker at the safety position."

A big part of playing safety is the ability to learn the calls. All of those extra reps without Bigby were invaluable.

"I like his professional approach. He's all business," Capers said. "I think he's smart enough, he's certainly a good enough athlete, I think he'll be able to go get the ball. We're going to have to wait until we put the pads on to see the physical part of things. But, to this point, I think he's done everything we could ask him to do."

Safeties coach Darren Perry also was left with a positive first impression, especially considering how Burnett has responded when facing the Packers' multi-faceted offense.

"His movement is obviously very natural," Perry said. "He's got a good feel for routes and has a good understanding of the game. He seems to be at the right place, takes good angles, can play the deep part of the field. At this point, when we've asked him to come down to the box, he's been where he's supposed to be. Obviously, the physical part of it will be something that we have to wait and see on in terms of how consistently and how well he does that from what our standards our."


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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 and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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