Packers mailbag: Cornerback possibilities

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- We're making a slight change to our mailbag format going forward. The Saturday edition will remain a collection of various topics pertaining to the Green Bay Packers, but we're adding a Sunday edition that will go in depth on one issue or topic.

Questions for both can still be submitted via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail.

In this edition, we will discuss the following subjects:

  • A cornerback as the Packers' first-round pick

  • The need for more help on defense

  • The Wes Welker rumor

  • Compensatory draft picks

Let's get started:

Demovsky: Is it that the linebacker position is so deep or rather that it's not very strong? Certainly, it does not look good, at least at the top of the inside linebacker spot. Neither Mel Kiper Jr. nor Todd McShay has a single inside linebacker in the first round of their latest mock drafts. There would certainly be more value in taking a player like Kevin Johnson, the cornerback from Wake Forest, at No. 30 in the first round. Kiper has him going at No. 27 in his latest mock draft, while McShay has him going at No. 14. So there's a good chance he will not even be there for the Packers. But if Johnson -- or one of the other top cornerbacks -- is available at that spot, you would think GM Ted Thompson would pull the trigger given the loss of Tramon Williams and Davon House in free agency.

Demovsky: Let's focus on the second-year players because there are several of them who could make a jump. Coach Mike McCarthy always says the offseason between a player's first and second year is the most important, and that's especially true for guys such as defensive tackle Khyri Thornton and linebacker Carl Bradford. They were high picks -- Thornton went in the third round and Bradford in the fourth -- who didn’t play a single snap last season. While it might be a stretch to think they could be starters this season, they will need to be contributors if the Packers are to make a jump defensively. Also, the Packers think last year's first-round pick, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, will take a big jump this year. So even though they haven't added anyone on defense and lost a couple of key players in Williams and House, there's reason to think they will improve because of their second-year guys.

Demovsky: I was never able to substantiate that rumor/report, nor has anyone else at ESPN or on the Packers beat, and Welker is still on the market. The Packers may have been compiling a list of receivers as fall-back options in case they failed to re-sign Randall Cobb. The Packers believe in their top three receivers -- Jordy Nelson, Cobb and Davante Adams -- and remain high on Jared Abbrederis and the possibility that Jeff Janis could develop into another playmaker.

Demovsky: It would have been the only consolation -- and I stress the word "only" -- had they lost Cobb and Bryan Bulaga. They'll end up with two compensatory picks next year for losing Williams and House but given that the highest compensatory picks come at the end of the third round, the reality is that wouldn't be compensation enough. But I get your point. Thompson does love those compensatory picks.

Demovsky: I'd probably say the third-round compensatory pick, and here's why: If you're re-signing a player that's valued as a third-rounder, his ceiling probably isn't as high given that because he's a free agent it means that he's already four years into his career. But when you have another crack at picking a player in the third round, there's always the chance that player could end up being great.