Dom Capers likes defenders who can go get the football.
New Mexico State cornerback Davon House is his kind of guy.
House, a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection his final two seasons, intercepted 11 passes during his college career and returned three for touchdowns. The Packers made House their fourth-round draft choice on Saturday, the 131st overall pick in the 2011 draft.
“We think he has good ball skills,” Capers said. “We think he’ll fit in with the skill set of our defensive backs. One of the things we have is defensive backs that can take the ball away.
“I’ve always believed the more people you put on the field take that can take the ball away, the more you increase your chances of winning. To me, it’s a big factor.”
House chose a pretty good role model to watch on Sundays this past year. He said he took a liking to the Packers’ Tramon Williams, who also came from a smaller WAC school, Louisiana Tech.
Williams wasn’t drafted but has developed into one of the Packers’ top playmakers on defense. House can’t wait to meet him.
“I watched him last year, and what he does is amazing,” House said. “He’s a ball hawk. That’s what I think I am. I’m a ball hawk, too.”
House set a school record with 319 interception-return yards in his career as a four-year starter. He also scored once on a fumble return.
Much of House’s background is playing press, man-to-man coverage at the line of scrimmage. Capers’ defense requires his corners to play various types of coverages, but the man-to-man skills should provide a good foundation.
“To me that’s a good place to start,” Capers said. “If you’re going to pressure (quarterbacks) much, you’re going to have those guys out there one-on-one.”
In time, House may see one of his old WAC foes twice annually. Boise State receiver Titus Young was drafted in the second round by the Lions, and it’s facing competition like him that has House feeling he’s ready for the NFL, though he admits he has plenty of room to improve.
He thinks he can learn quickly, noting he was forced to absorb three different defenses over his last three seasons in college. He also comes from a high-level athletic family, with an older brother playing baseball in the minor leagues.
Ideally, House will develop as quickly as Sam Shields did for the Packers last year and will be ready to step in as one of the team’s top three corners when Charles Woodson’s career winds down.
Of course, he could be needed sooner than that, too.
“As we know and we’ve experienced as late as the Super Bowl, you can’t ever have enough corner-type guys that can go out and cover,” Capers said.