Unpacking Future Packers: No. 38, Maryland S Beau Brade

The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects that could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2024 NFL draft.

The Green Bay Packers addressed their need for safety help by signing Xavier McKinney, one of the best safeties on the market to a four-year contract. That was the first step in remaking the safety room on the fly this offseason. The next step is to add more pieces around McKinney.

A safety that the Packers could target in the 2024 NFL Draft is Beau Brade. The Maryland defensive back checks in at No. 38 in the Unpacking Future Packers Countdown.

A Maryland native, Brade became a full-time starter for the Terrapins in 2022 and finished the season with 85 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions and five pass deflections. This past season, Brade recorded 75 tackles, four tackles for loss, one interception and six pass deflections.

Brade plays the game with his foot stomped down on the accelerator. He’s a well-built pocket rocket and has an aggressive trigger. 

“His greatest strength is his trigger, whether it’s breaking and driving on a football thrown in front of him or running the alley,” Devin Jackson, the sports editor and NFL Draft writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, said. “His instincts and change of direction ability allow him to be a factor in the intermediate passing game and a viable box defender as well.”

Brade sees the field well and has a great understanding of spacing. The Maryland product shows good route recognition and is quick to drive on underneath routes. He has the versatility to wear multiple hats in the secondary. 

“He’s very instinctual and anticipatory in coverage,” Jackson said. “He works his curl to flat drops from inside the box and as a nickel player, but can play a robber role from two high alignments. He could be a candidate for a nickel/dime hybrid third down second level role.”

He has soft hands and capitalizes on throws in his zip code. During his two seasons as a starter, Brade recorded three interceptions and 11 pass deflections. 

“His ability to sink underneath crossing routes and anticipate in breaking routes gives him a bead on the football,” Jackson said. “He can patrol the middle of the field as a robber and bait quarterbacks to throw his way in zone coverage.” 

Brade runs the alley with purpose and he delivers a pop upon contact. He’s at his best working north to south. While Brade plays with relentless energy, he’ll have to find a way to harness that energy to play more under control and settle his feet. According to Pro Football Focus, Brade was tagged with 35 missed tackles over the past two seasons. 

“He’s a suitable and willing tackler in space,” Jackson said. “He can be the extra man on the line of scrimmage to fly in from the backside to chase down a running back. He embraces contact and is a physical, hard-hitting safety.”

Brade finished his career at Maryland with 425 snaps on special teams and recorded seven tackles. 

Fit with the Packers

As it stands right the Packers have already upgraded their safety room by adding McKinney. Now they need to find a running mate for the veteran safety. Gutekunst wants versatility in the backend and Brade fits the bill with his ability to align deep and in the slot. 

“Brade is a scheme versatile player who is at his best attacking downhill and driving on routes in front of him,” Jackson said. “His dual safety ability, along with playing a hybrid nickel role can have him deployed in different situations depending on the scheme. He’s not a true post-safety, but can drop vertically and take away half the field. His instincts and ball-hawking mindset will add value to a secondary who can be a mainstay in the secondary.”

Versatility, plus ball skills, relentless motor and special teams experience. Brade checks a lot of boxes. The Maryland safety could battle for starting reps alongside McKinney. Even if he doesn’t win a starting role, he would provide quality depth in the secondary while giving Rich Bisaccia a hired gun on special teams.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire