Packers.com consulted more than a dozen mock drafts from reputable national outlets and compiled a list of players most frequently mocked as draft selections in the bottom third of the first round (picks 20-32).
Between now and draft day, when the Packers are slated to select at No. 29 overall, those players will be profiled with thumbnail sketches in a new series entitled “Draft Digest.”
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Key stats: Led the Gamecocks in pass breakups each of the last two years, with nine in 2019 and six (in seven games) in 2020, including two interceptions last season. Also started as a true freshman and had a total of 29 starts over three years.
College honors: Voted second-team All-Southeastern Conference by the league’s coaches last year.
Background: The son of four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee is lauded for his size, frame and physical style of play. He stepped in as a starter for South Carolina as a true freshman, executing many coverage assignments from the slot, before settling in over the past two years as an outside corner, which is where he’s expected to play in the NFL. He opted out before the 2020 season was over when South Carolina coach Will Muschamp was fired. He also told reporters several family members had contracted COVID-19 and an aunt eventually died from it, so that played into his decision as well. Horn is considered one of the top three or four cornerbacks in this draft, and very well could be selected in the top half of the first round. But questions about his tackling and how quickly he can refine his physicality in coverage to avoid the heightened scrutiny of NFL officials could make him drop some. Then again, his strong showing at South Carolina’s pro day (4.39 40, 41½-inch vertical, 11-1 broad jump, 19 bench reps) could also prevent any slide.
Potential fit with Packers: It’s no secret the Packers have to plan for the future at cornerback, and a player of Horn’s ability would be able to earn snaps right away in nickel and dime packages and establish himself as a mainstay down the road. His size, speed and athleticism make him an attractive prospect, maybe too attractive unless the Packers want to trade up from the bottom of the first round. With so many top college players entering the draft early and/or having opted out in 2020, there are many who simply lack overall experience in high-level football. With 29 starts to his credit, that’s not the case with Horn.