With the 18th Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Packers took Jaire Alexander, Cornerback from Louisville.
Jaire Alexander is a versatile, agile, and tough football player. He is aggressive and isn’t afraid to make a play on the field. Alexander is from Charlotte, North Carolina. He went to high school in Mint Hill and after originally committing to the University of South Carolina, he changed his mind and committed to Louisville. While at Louisville, he played in 12 games in 2015, making just one start. His athleticism allowed him to be a star on special teams as well. In 2015, he returned 23 punts for 223 yards, a 9.7-yard average. In 2016 he started all 13 games and developed into a solid corner, one of the toughest in the nation and was named to the all-ACC second team.
There is no doubt that Alexander is a tough and versatile player. On film he is seen ripping balls away from receivers. He has great awareness on the field as well. Communicating is essential on the field, and that is something that Alexander is seen doing frequently. He has quick feet and can break down the field with ease. One thing that stands out about Alexander is his ability to get to the ball and stay with the receiver. He runs well alongside his opponent and doesn’t let receivers get behind him often.
Alexander has had a few injuries the past few years, including hyper-extending his knee last season. The last thing the Packers need is another injury-prone player. Not that Alexander is one or could be one, but it is something to watch for. Being 5’11, 196lbs, he could possibly be a little bigger, and that will most likely come in the offseason. The most noticeable issue that Alexander has is his inconsistency in tackling. As aggressive as he is, it comes with a high risk, high reward outcome. Missing tackles could be an issue in the future, and rookie camp will give the Packers’ staff a larger sample size. Another downside to his aggressiveness is his touchy tendency while covering receivers.
If Jaire Alexander were placed onto the Packers’ squad today, he would most likely play in the slot corner position. While on the phone with the Packers after being drafted, Alexander mentioned that he played mostly slot corner, and some nickel as well. He is able to play all around the field, so he could pair up with Josh Jones. It is difficult to determine how much playing time he would have, but it looks as if the Packers will give him many opportunities depending on how new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine wants him to play.
If Alexander puts on some muscle, stays away from penalties and the injury bug, he could be quite the playmaker. He is one of the fastest players in this year’s draft class, and his special team’s abilities show how agile he truly is. He is going to be the replacement for Damarious Randall. After trading Randall to Cleveland, the Packers have deep holes in their defensive back depth chart. Alexander should look to be the number one corner on the Packers’ squad in the future if he earns the position. The Packers are always looking for a player that can play in multiple spots, and that is something that Alexander could be doing. He has the athleticism to create plays all around the field, and the Packers should expect him to do just that.