Packers move Rico Gafford from receiver back to cornerback

Sport

Rico Gafford was a receiver learning the Packers’ offensive playbook when the team signed Sammy Watkins and drafted three receivers. Now, he’s a cornerback learning the Packers’ defensive playbook.

“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 was a cornerback at Wyoming, intercepting two passes as a junior in 2016 and four as a senior in 2017. After running a 4.22 in the 40-yard dash, the Titans signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2018 when Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was in his one season as the Titans’ offensive coordinator.

The Raiders moved Gafford to receiver, and he played eight games with them on offense the past three seasons, catching two passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. He signed with the Packers as a receiver in January.

After the addition of Watkins in free agency and Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure, the Packers had plenty of receivers but a lack of depth at corner.

So, LaFleur approached Gafford about the possibility of moving back to corner.

“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.’”

Gafford, 26, called himself a DB at heart. He showed in the offseason program he was comfortable back on defense, giving him a chance to make the roster.