His story is beginning to become well documented. What was an interesting story at OTAs has become much more intriguing as training camp has gone on. And that’s because Rico Gafford is starting to catch people’s attention. After switching from CB to WR with the Oakland Raiders in 2018, Gafford caught only 2 passes for 66 yards and 1 TD through three seasons. He then bounced around the league before signing a futures contract with Green Bay after the 2021 season.
Matt LaFleur approached him after the draft and recommended a position change, and that conversation might have just revitalized Gafford’s career. He now goes back to his natural position from college, with a new found understanding of how receivers can look to attack him. And the Packers depth at the cornerback position gives him a solid opportunity to secure a spot on the 53 man roster.
And through the first week of camp, Gafford has taken advantage of that opportunity. He has flashed in coverage, showing off his tremendous closing speed. Especially with Keisean Nixon still out with a groin injury, Gafford has a chance to be the 4th or 5th corner.
Where he can also continue to help his cause is through special teams contributions. This has been an obvious point of emphasis this offseason in Green Bay. And Gafford has taken reps with the first teams on kickoff coverage, as a punt gunner, and as a punt returner thus far in camp. While Gafford only returned a single kick during his time with Rich Bisaccia in Oakland, he did return kicks in college.
There is clearly still a lot left to be sorted out at the bottom of the roster. With only two days of padded practices under their belt, and three preseason games left to be played – a lot can change. But Gafford has a legitimate shot to contribute in Green Bay this season.
Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.
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