The Green Bay Packers have moved lightning-quick wide receiver Rico Gafford to defense where he’ll play cornerback for the upcoming season. The move came as a surprise to Gafford, but after the team selected three wideouts in this year’s NFL Draft and signed Sammy Watkins – the crowded receivers room had to be thinned out.
“No, I didn’t know I was going to corner,” Gafford told Bill Huber of SI.com. “We showed up for offseason workouts, and I was with the receivers, with the offense. I was learning the playbook, doing routes on air and going over certain plays and all that stuff.”
Gafford said he was a defensive back at heart, which makes sense as he was a cornerback at Wyoming. During his tenure, he intercepted two passes as a junior in 2016 and four as a senior the following season. After running a 4.22 in the 40-yard dash, the Tennessee Titans signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2018.
Back then, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was in his one season as the Titans’ offensive coordinator before taking over in Green Bay. LaFleur knows what Gafford is capable of, and wanted to be honest with the former wideout about his stance on making the final roster cut this offseason.
“After the draft, Coach LaFleur came up to me and was like, ‘It would be in your best interests to go back to corner. You’ll probably have a better chance of making this team,’” Gafford said. “He told me straight up, ‘We love the things that you’re doing right now. You’re showing us a lot and we see that you can play.’”
It was the Las Vegas Raiders whop originally moved Gafford over to receiver. In three seasons, he played eight games with them on offense with only two receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown to show for it before signing with the Packers as a receiver back in January.
With a new lease on his NFL career, Gafford has the chance to carve out his own path in Green Bay if the switch goes as planned. Then, the Packers would have a two-way Swiss army knife on their roster – something vastly unique to them.