Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde welcome cornerback competition


GREEN BAY, Wis. – Casey Hayward hasdeclared himself a qualified candidate to replace Tramon Williams in the Green Bay Packers' secondary.

Add Micah Hyde to that list, too.

"I think I can do whatever I put my mind to," Hyde said Tuesday before departing on the Packers' annual tailgate tour. "Wherever they put me, I think I can play. But I'm not here to make the coaching decisions, whether to put me outside or inside, whatever it is."

Like Hayward, Hyde has spent most of his time lined up inside, where he has covered slot receivers. Williams, who signed a three-year, $21 million free-agent contract with the Cleveland Browns last month, played almost exclusively on the outside as one of the two starting cornerbacks. Without Williams, the Packers are looking for a running mate for their other starter corner, Sam Shields.

The concern about Hyde is the same knock that has followed him since the Packers drafted him in the fifth round two years ago.

"I'm slow?" Hyde asked rhetorically.

Perhaps too slow to play on the outside.

"I don't know, you guys can probably answer that question better," said Hyde, who saw the fifth-most snaps among players in the Packers' secondary last season at 65.1 percent.

Hyde's perceived lack of speed – he ran a pedestrian 4.56-second 40-yard dash at the combine before the 2013 draft – was supposed to limit his effectiveness as a returner, too, but he has three career punt returns for touchdowns (including two last season) in only 38 attempts.

General manager Ted Thompson seems likely to draft a cornerback, perhaps even in the first round at No. 30 overall, but even after losing Williams and Davon House (to the Jacksonville Jaguars) in free agency, Hyde believes the players to fill that role are probably on the roster already.

"I have 100 percent faith in the guys that are here," said Hyde, who split his snaps between safety and the nickel cornerback spot last season. "We're a close-knit group, and we've got some competitors. The past couple years we've had a lot of depth and a lot of guys weren't able to perform because of the depth. The guys that are here will be ready to go, and we're looking forward to it."

Hayward, who got on the field for only 37.8 percent of the defensive snaps last season, believes it will be an open competition.

"It’s a long process," said Hayward, who joined Hyde on the tailgate tour. "Hopefully everybody will come in here and compete. The best man is going to play. So it really doesn't matter who comes in because the best two people are going to play outside."