In the NFC Championship game, the Buccaneers exposed every cornerback not named Jaire Alexander. In the first round of the 2021 draft, the Packers countered by adding talented cornerback Eric Stokes to the roster. Then, Green Bay shifted focused and drafted three consecutive offensive players — WR Amari Rodgers sandwiched between two offensive linemen (C Josh Myers and G/T Royce Newman). After addressing the offense, Brian Gutekunst and company shifted back to the defense in the fifth round and selected run-stuffing DT Tedarrell Slaton. With Green Bay’s second pick in the fifth round the Packers selected Appalachian State cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles.
The 5′ 11″, 190 lb. fifth-year cornerback allowed a 30.4 percent completion rate and led the FBS in pass defensed (17) on his way being a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award — awarded to the Nations top defender. He is undersized for the typical outside cornerback in the NFL, and his length and disruptive abilities could be put into question at the next level. He excels in press coverage by mirroring opponents, but he lacks straight line speed against top competitors. I have seen varying 40-yard times from different sources, so it’ll be interesting to see how fast he looks in green and gold.
Jean-Charles went to Appalachian State as a 2-star recruit out of Miramar, FL and transformed himself into an All-American during his five years in college. His RAS score is less than spectacular, but the Packers are banking that his desire and dedication will once again be enough to overcome the odds.
“He made himself into an NFL prospect with the way he has worked and progressed,” Mel Kiper said on ESPN after the pick.
Jean-Charles made a name for himself on special teams before breaking through on the cornerback depth chart in college. I expect him to have a similar path to success in Green Bay’s organization. The special team struggles have been obvious and well documented, so bringing in a young, instinctual player looking to make a name for himself is a no-brainer. Obviously, the Packers didn’t select Jean-Charles strictly for his special team production, but he could also translate into a solid nickel cornerback. He will have a long ladder to climb to overcome Chandon Sullivan for the primary role, but with his work ethic, anything is possible.
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Kirien is a big fan of the Packers, Beer, and Battlestar Galactica. You can follow him on twitter at @KirienSprecher.