Is Ted Thompson doing this just to placate me? For years I have harped on the need for a prime time free safety for the Packers, and in the third round of the draft this year, Thompson traded up in order to take Morgan Burnett, a safety from Georgia Tech, and keep him from going to the Bears.
Now, I don't mind trading up to prevent a division rival from getting a player they are salivating over, but hey...if we're playing that game, it might have been nice to have pulled the wool over on the Lions when they selected Suh.
I like Burnett, who has a lot of athleticism and potential to be a more solid partner with Nick Collins than oft-injured Atari Bigby. And, let's face it...injuries at safety meant that we were literally looking to start Jarrett Bush and Matt Giordano during a game last season. Depth is a problem, and this selection goes a long way in fixing that problem.
Burnett, however, fits that same mold that Thompson has been going for at safety for years: hard-hitting, solid tackling, aggressive strong safety-type that is going to come in and give us some ear-popping hits. And, I'll be honest, I'm excited to see how he develops.
My concern comes in with his negatives, the same ones we've seen with Collins, Bigby, Manuel...they are all so solid in run support and tackling, but struggle in coverage. "Slow to react....questionable instincts and awareness".
I've been looking for that Eugene Robinson for so long to come in and be the instinctive quarterback of the defense, and allow Nick Collins to become LeRoy Butler, creating chaos closer to the line of scrimmage, knowing the back of the defense is in good hands. I would have been thrilled with Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, or Nate Allen, who tend to fit that FS mold.
But, with Burnett, we get a definite influx of talent and excitement in the backfield, and perhaps most importantly, a ballhawk that can continue the recent trend of interceptions, led by Charles Woodson and Collins.
The only thing that worries me are games like the Steeler or Cardinal games, when we need that coverage to be there and stops to be made. In order for Burnett to make this defense better, he will need to develop those skills as a strong free safety to compliment Collins.
However, assuming Collins keeps his free safety title, Burnett does seem like the kind of player that could become another Butler, too. A good pick, good end to Day 2.