Baylor cornerback Demetri Goodson was the Packers' sixth-round draft pick. / Getty Images
As a freshman in 2009, Demetri Goodson nailed a game-winning shot to send Gonzaga to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.
Who would have thought five years later he would be drafted by the Packers as a cornerback in the sixth round?
Goodson said getting drafted Saturday was a bigger thrill than any of his basketball exploits at Gonzaga, where he started at point guard for two seasons.
“I’d say this is a better feeling,” said the 6-foot, 200-pound Goodson, who transferred to Baylor in 2011 because he believed he had a better chance to play professional football than basketball.
“I started thinking about a 6-foot point guard compared to a 6-foot cornerback,” he said.
After spending five years away from football, Goodson worked his way into a starting role at Baylor, where he became an all-Big 12 cornerback.
Goodson played only four games in 2011 because of an ankle injury and just four games in 2012 because of a broken arm. But his athleticism, instincts and willingness to compete for the ball made NFL teams take notice.
Goodson’s older brother, Mike, played running back for Carolina, Oakland and the New York Jets. His father is serving a 27-year prison term for mortgage fraud.
Goodson, who goes by the nickname Meech, said getting drafted is the fulfillment of a goal. “(It) made me feel like a little kid,” he said. “The best feeling in the world for sure.”
The Packers must have seen something they really liked in Jeff Janis. He was, after all, the third wide receiver they took in the three-day draft.
Maybe what they saw was Jordy Nelson.
“Yeah definitely, I watched him,” Janis said of the veteran Packers receiver. “I mirror my game after him, whenever anybody asks me. To be able to play with him is going to be a great experience. I’m looking forward to learning from him. Hopefully he can help me become a better player.”
What you can’t help but notice about Janis is his athleticism. The 6-27/8, 219-pounder from Division II Saginaw Valley State wowed everyone at the NFL combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds, had a 371/2-inch vertical jump and rated among the best for receivers by bench-pressing 225 pounds 20 times and running the 20-yard shuttle in 3.98 seconds.
All that translated into gaudy receiving numbers last season: 83 receptions for 1,572 yards and 14 touchdowns.
But making the jump from DII to the NFL can be treacherous, especially as a seventh-round pick. Janis isn’t worried.
“I think it’s definitely something that can be done,” he said. “I thought that at Senior Bowl week that I showed that I could compete with some of the best guys in the nation.”
Plus, he’ll have a friend to help him along. Apparently, Janis and one of Green Bay’s fifth-round picks, Jared Abbrederis, have gotten close during the draft process.
“We’re really good buddies and we were texting throughout the whole draft,” Janis said. “It’s funny, it seems everywhere we go, we were always stuck together. Roommates at the Senior Bowl. Trained together at San Diego. I’m really looking forward to going out there and competing with him.”
FINALLY, A REAL CENTER
The Packers will be on their fourth starting center in four years this season, and the pool to become the newest one just added another contender: fifth-round pick Corey Linsley.
And unlike last year’s starter — Evan Dietrich-Smith, who signed with Tampa Bay in the offseason — or the current favorite to start this year — JC Tretter, who played tackle in college at Cornell — Linsley played center in college at Ohio State.
“It’s good to finally draft one that’s played the position before,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’re all excited about that. I know James Campen’s real excited. The extra work on snapping and so forth. Tough guy. Anybody you talk to at Ohio State and the reputation he has there, and just the way he plays, it will be good just to have a natural center come in and play that position.
“And I view him as a center. I know we historically move our guys around, but I think it’s important for him to come in and play center.”
Linsley is light for an offensive lineman at 296 pounds, but is as strong as they come. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 36 times at the NFL combine. And playing for the Packers is a personal dream come true.
“Actually, I was Brett Favre for Halloween when I was like 6 or something,” he said. “I had a little Cheesehead, too. I’ve always liked them since then. I don’t know why, but I’ve stuck with it and now it’s like a childhood dream come true. It’s amazing.”