GREEN BAY—Cornerbacks Coach Joe Whitt feels Iowa’s Micah Hyde fits right in with his young cornerback group. It’s a group that emphasizes versatility, meaning the ability to cover on the outside and in the slot.
The Packers drafted Hyde with the first of two fifth-round picks on Saturday, using the 159th overall selection.
Sam Shields is the only Green Bay corner who plays strictly on the outside, while Tramon Williams, Davon House and Casey Hayward play multiple spots. Hyde will be moved around to see where he fits best.
“He can play corner, he can play nickel, dime. That’s where a lot of his value is at. We’re going to bring him in and see what he can do,” said Whitt, who reiterated his mantra regarding the ongoing competition at his position that “the best players will play, and the next ones will watch.”
Hyde also started two games at safety as a junior at Iowa but moved back to corner and that’s where the Packers see him. He’ll join friend and former Iowa teammate Mike Daniels in Green Bay. The Packers drafted Daniels in the fourth round last year, and Hyde recalled staying at Daniels’ house the summer before his freshman year.
Hyde was named the top defensive back in the Big Ten last season, winning the Tatum-Woodson Award and being named first-team all-conference by both coaches and media. He finished his career with eight interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns as a sophomore in 2010.
“I liked what he did,” Whitt said. “He didn’t let balls get over his head. He understands football. I like bringing guys in that have a football IQ. There’s a number of things he has that we like.”
How much Hyde’s off-the-field arrest contributed to his falling to the fifth round is debatable. When Iowa was on its bye week last season, Hyde was arrested and charged with public intoxication. He said the case is still pending, with a court date coming up, but he called it a “life lesson” and said he explained the incident to every team he talked to through the pre-draft process.
Listed at 6-1, 197, Hyde is a “willing tackler,” according to Whitt, but Hyde acknowledged he could still take that part of his game up a notch.
“I think I’m a good tackler and I do it well, but I can do it with more physicality,” he said. “Bring my legs more and wrap up.”
He even mentioned a willingness to play special teams, which is where a lot of defensive players who aren’t starters get their first shot in the pros.
“I know special teams is vital on a team,” Hyde said. “I can do that. I consider myself a very smart player. I think I have a real knack for the game.”