Okay, no more stalling. It’s time to unveil the cornerbacks for the all-time defense.
I’m serious, guys!
Also, please note that this closes out the offensive and defensive part of the roster. There are three special teams spots left – you didn’t really think I’d leave those guys off, did you? – and they will be unveiled later in the week.
Alright, everyone ready?
Starter: Herb Adderly (1961-1969) – Yesterday, I made an error in writing that Willie Wood was drafted as a running back. Actually, that was Adderly.
(Although Wood played quarterback in college before converting to safety, so I was at least kind of correct. Sorry for the error.)
The presence of Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor allowed the Green Bay coaching staff to move Adderly over to corner. He re-paid them by becoming the best cornerback in franchise history.
The guy was, simply put, a playmaker of the highest order. Seven of his 39 interceptions (third all-time for the team) went back the other way for touchdowns. That touchdown mark was tops in team history until Adderly was tied last year by a guy you’ll hear more about later. He led the team in picks four times and was rewarded with seven All-Pro selections.
He capped off his sterling career with a 1980 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Starter: Bob Jeter (1963-1970) – It’s hard to earn any notice when you’re playing opposite a guy like Adderly. It’s even harder when you played running back in college and earned your first pro duty at wide receiver.
But Jeter, who became a cornerback before the 1965 season, was ultimately able to earn plenty of attention.
His speed and hands made him a major threat at the position. Jeter used those assets to pick off 23 passes in six years as a corner with the Pack (returning two for scores). He earned two Pro Bowl trips for his efforts.
How good was Jeter? So good that I’m willing to overlook the fact that he ended his career as a member of the Chicago Bears. That’s not easy to do, but for Jeter, it was well worth it.
Backup: Al Harris (2003-Present) – Okay, so Harris has a tendency to get too keyed up for certain big games (see: 2008 NFC Championship Game).
That does not erase the fact that, week-in and week-out, he’s one of the most consistent corners in the league – remember, Chad Ochocinco once said Harris was the toughest corner to face in the entire league – and has been since he arrived in Titletown. A physical, bump-and-run specialist, Harris has never been a big factor on the stat sheet (just 14 interceptions in seven seasons with the team). But he’s always been a master at keeping the other team’s top guy off the sheet, as well.
And, for good measure, his walk-off pick-six of Matt Hasselbeck in the 2004 NFC Wild Card Game at Lambeau is one of my all-time favorite moments as a fan. Here’s to hoping Harris, who turns 36 in December, can return from last season’s gruesome knee injury and return to form.
Backup: Charles Woodson (2006-Present) – If you had told me, shortly after Woodson signed with Green Bay in 2006, that he’d one day make this list, I likely wouldn’t have believed you. After all, Woodson seemed to have no interest in being a Packer, even after he signed on.
My, how things change.
Woodson has been an absolute force of nature in Green Bay’s secondary throughout his four years with the team. He’s intercepted 28 passes (returned seven for scores, tying him with Adderly atop the team’s all-time list), forced eight fumbles and had five sacks. He’s proven himself to be one of the smartest players in the league, thriving in multiple formations and playing well against a variety of offenses.
Last season was his best yet, as he was named 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He turns 34 in October and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Backup: Willie Buchanon (1972-1978) – Buchanon’s time as a Packer was certainly filled with ups and downs.
On the downside, he broke his left leg – twice. Those injuries – a broken leg is still one of the most wince-inducing injuries, isn’t it? – caused him to miss time in two different seasons.
There were plenty of ups, as well, though. They come in the form of 21 career interceptions (including four in a 1978 game against the San Diego Chargers, tying him for the NFL record for picks in a single contest). There’s also three Pro Bowl selections and the 1972 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Backup: Bob Forte (1946-1950, 1952-1953) – Like many players in his day, Forte was a multi-purpose threat for the Pack. At various times, he played quarterback, running back and wide receiver.
But cornerback was where Forte really excelled (you could even say it was his “forte,” but that would be waaaay to ridiculous to write, even by OBOD standards).
Blessed with excellent size for his era (6-feet, 195 pounds), Forte totaled 22 interceptions in his time with the team (which was interrupted by Forte’s service in the Korean War).
That’s all for our look at the corners. Again, check back later in the week for our special teams players.