The Green Bay Packers are open to the idea of moving second-year defensive back Micah Hyde to safety.
Coach Mike McCarthy, speaking Friday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, said the organization wants Hyde to compete and hopefully contribute as an every-down player next season after working primarily as a slot cornerback in the nickel and dime sub-packages.
With the team’s cornerback depth – Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward and Davon House are all under contract for next season – the most logical play would be a shift to safety, a notion that’s followed Hyde since he was taken in the fifth round of last year’s draft.
Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt expressed confidence earlier this season that Hyde could play safety. A 4.56-second time in the 40-yard dash at last year’s scouting combine also made the move logical to some pundits.
“Micah’s, to me, a multiple-position player,” McCarthy said. “I think Micah, just like we talked about the running backs, I’d like to see Micah compete to play all three downs on defense, so if there’s a personnel group that he has to play safety, yeah that’s an option.
“He’s also played nickel, he’s played dime, he’s played corner. He’s definitely someone that I think has earned the opportunity to compete to be on the field all three downs.”
Hyde’s quick maturation was key for what was supposed to be the team’s deepest position heading into the season, especially after Hayward was placed on injured reserve due to a recurring hamstring injury.
One of the Packers’ greatest needs this offseason is at safety after the combination of Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian, Chris Banjo and Sean Richardson failed to register a single interception in 2013 and was routinely criticized for its lack of playmaking.
Hyde, a 6-foot, 197-pound player out of Iowa, played in all 16 games with 55 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
“Morgan was very productive as far as tackles but, yeah, we want more plays made by our safeties,” McCarthy said. “I think that's important. Really, it all fits together. We need to go back, which we have, and look at exactly how we're utilizing everybody.
“What are you practicing? What’s getting called in the games? You go through this every single year. Are we creating enough playmaking opportunities for our players? Why are they not making more plays? We grade it each and every week, grade the same way during practices, and it's definitely an area that we need to improve. We need to make more plays on defense, period.”