Packers Starter Named One of NFL’s Best-Kept Secrets

Getty The Green Bay Packers have one of the NFL's best-kept secrets on their defense.

The Green Bay Packers have had a lot of success over the last few years finding under-the-radar veterans and turning them into stars, and one of those veterans is being recognized as one of the best-kept secrets in the NFL.

General manager Brian Gutekunst has hit some home runs with bargain bin free agents since taking over in Green Bay. De’Vondre Campbell was a late offseason signing in June of 2021 and became an overnight All-Pro linebacker, while Keisean Nixon was initially brought in as a backup cornerback before he became an All-Pro kickoff return specialist.

Now that those two are getting their flowers, another home run signing by Gutekunst is getting recognized. Alex Ballentine with Bleacher Report named cornerback Rasul Douglas as one of the best-kept secrets in the NFL, with the 2021 breakout star playing behind Jaire Alexander.

“Both [Alexander and Eric Stokes] cast a bit of a shadow on Rasul Douglas, but neither take away from his importance to the defense,” Ballentine wrote. “Douglas has been a revelation since the Packers signed him in 2021 free agency. After a rough start to his career with the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers, Douglas has become a reliable starter in Green Bay.”

Rasul Douglas’ Path to Green Bay

Despite having so much success with the Packers, Douglas nearly flamed out of the NFL before landing in Green Bay.

Douglas was a star cornerback by the end of his college career at West Virginia, leading the FBS with eight interceptions as a senior. He was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft and kicked off his career on a high note with a Super Bowl ring and five interceptions in his first two seasons.

Unfortunately, a down year in 2019 led to Douglas being cut during final roster cuts prior to the 2020 season, and from there he bounced around with the Panthers, Raiders, Texans, and Cardinals over the next 13 months.

The veteran cornerback was given another opportunity in October of 2021 when the Packers picked him up off of Arizona’s practice squad. Just a few weeks later, Douglas got his revenge on his former team, coming away with a game-winning interception against the Cardinals in a walk-off win on Thursday Night Football.

Douglas took off after that moment, and in 29 career games for Green Bay he’s logged nine interceptions, 26 pass breakups, and two defensive touchdowns. Considering where his career was headed, Douglas has become one of Green Bay’s most impressive success stories.

Will Rasul Douglas Start Outside Again in 2023?

Despite having so much success, Douglas will still have to compete with former first-round pick Eric Stokes to start on the outside alongside Alexander in 2023.

That being said, with the Packers starting OTAs on  Monday, May 22, Stokes still has not been cleared to return to practice. The speedy third-year cornerback suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the Detroit Lions halfway through the 2022 season, and it’s unclear when he will be healthy enough to return.

If that’s the case, then Douglas will likely be starting on the outside, at least to start the year, leaving someone like Nixon or Darnell Savage to take over in the slot.

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