Realistically, Herb Waters probably has about a 10 percent chance to make the Green Bay Packers’ roster this season, unless some other guys start to get injured. Still, he’s an intriguing guy and someone we’ll be watching come training camp.
Waters is a second-year cornerback. That right there — his position — is why he’ll face tough odds to make the roster. With the additions of Davon House and Kevin King to go along with Damarious Randall, LaDarius Gunter and Quinten Rollins, there isn’t much room on the depth chart.
You also have to consider the Packers have two other cornerbacks who were on the roster last season in the mix — Demetri Goodson and Josh Hawkins. Goodson will very likely end up on the physically unable to perform list, but more on that later.
So what’s so great about Herb Waters? Why will we be paying attention?
Second year jump, baby!
Positives for Herb Waters
If you know the Herb Waters’ story, you know he was a 2016 undrafted free agent signing. You also know he played receiver at Miami.
Have you heard this story before? Kind of.
The Green Bay Packers’ former No. 1 cornerback, Sam Shields, also played receiver at Miami. The Packers also signed Shields as an undrafted free agent.
The difference between Waters and Shields is when they were converted to corner. Shields was converted before his senior year of college. Waters was converted by the Packers as a rookie, after going through camp as a receiver.
So Waters is likely still somewhat raw, but he did spend the 2016 season on the Packers’ practice squad. And of course, he’ll now have a full offseason at the cornerback position.
More interestingly, Packers’ cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt compared Waters not to Shields, but to another undrafted corner the Packers once started — Tramon Williams.
“He’s further along at this point than I thought he’d be,” Whitt said.
“If he is (ready for training camp), he’s going to (push) Gunt, Q, D, Kevin, House. He has that type of ability in his body. Don’t be surprised. Like I told you back in ’09 about Tramon, how I said Tramon was the best cover guy we had. I think you guys said I was crazy at the time. This kid has that kind of ability. He does.”
That’s a pretty nice endorsement.
Now let’s look at the position.
The top five guys are a good bet to make the roster, unless Rollins either totally flames out or ends up getting traded. The Packers kept six cornerbacks on their opening roster last year. A seventh — Goodson — was suspended to open the season.
So we are likely looking at one spot that comes down to Hawkins and Waters. Goodson, who tore his ACL and MCL in November won’t be ready for the start of the season. That opens things up a bit.
The guy who makes it among Hawkins and Waters will make it not only by playing corner well, but also by excelling on special teams.
Hawkins, another 2016 undrafted rookie, has speed to burn and we love that about him. However, he spent a good deal of the 2016 season in Mike McCarthy’s doghouse and rarely saw the field.
If Waters lives up to Whitt’s billing, there’s no reason he can’t make the team and even turn into a pleasant surprise.