Analysis (Andrew Mertig): The Packers needed to get an impact defensive player with their first pick this year. After trading back (and picking up a haul from the Saints), the Packers moved up to grab Cornerback Jaire Alexander out of Louisville. Alexander doesn’t have the size the previous Green Bay regime favored in CBs at 5’10” 196 lbs, but he is an electric athlete (4.38 second 40 yard dash, 3.98 second 20 yard shuttle, and 6.71 second 3 cone drill). In 2016, he had five interceptions and nine pass breakups in 13 starts. He was named second-team All-ACC. Alexander missed time in 2017 with leg and hand injuries. He’s shown the ability to anticipate routes and has the quickness to make plays on the ball. The injuries last season affected his play, but he will step in and be an effective slot CB right away, with the ability to develop as a shut down outside corner. He’ll also provide value as an electric punt returner.
Team fit (Ross Uglem): Alexander fills both a long term and immediate need for Green Bay. They have premier corners from the last two classes as their long term options in Kevin King and Alexander. Alexander to take the shorter, quicker, twitchier wide receivers and King to match-up with the Julio Jones’ of the world.
Immediately Alexander can slide in and play the nickel position. Tramon Williams and Kevin King can play the outside, and all of a sudden the starting three cornerbacks have plenty of talent. Alexander shows tremendous ball skills and, like King, is an absolute freak athlete.
Alexander will likely slide inside in nickel but could start at corner in base. Long term the young man from Louisville has a chance to play a Charles Woodson role. He’ll stay on the field, but move around the formation.
NFL Player Comp (Mike Wendlandt) – Sam Shields, Green Bay Packers / Chris McAllister, Baltimore Ravens: Already a dynamite punt returner and as competitive a corner as you will find, Jaire Alexander plays a lot like Sam Shields did. Great speed and long arms are his strength and he shows great footwork to mirror receivers. His instincts and ball skills are also top-notch much like Shields was back in 2010 as a rookie. If you aren’t looking for a Packers player as a comparison, I liken his skill set to former Raven Chris McAllister as well. Both guys are hyper aggressive but have the finesse to follow through with their coverages down the field if their initial jam doesn’t stick. They also both can return punts and are pure playmakers.
Packers Big Board Rank: 18
Cheesehead TV Draft Guide Positional Rank: 3
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag