Previewing Jaire Alexander’s first season with the Green Bay Packers.
The Green Bay Packers passed up on Derwin James and Tremaine Edmunds, traded down, then traded back up before finally selecting cornerback Jaire Alexander in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
In his first draft as general manager, Brian Gutekunst was able to get the player he wanted, at a major position of need, while also acquiring an additional 2019 first-round pick from the New Orleans Saints. That’s not bad business.
The Packers desperately needed help at cornerback. It’s no surprise that Gutekunst used his top two picks at the position by selecting both Alexander in the first round, and Josh Jackson in the second.
Will Alexander make an immediate impact in Mike Pettine’s defense?
Odds of making roster: 100 percent
Jaire Alexander won’t be taking part in any positional battles at training camp. He’ll be a key member of Pettine’s defense in the coming years.
Cornerbacks usually need time to adjust to the NFL. For that reason, it would be unfair for anyone to expect either Alexander or Jackson to come in right away and play at an elite level.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. You only have to look at the New Orleans Saints last season to see an example of a rookie cornerback immediately making a defense better.
Marshon Lattimore, the Saints’ first-round pick last April, selected 11th overall, had an outstanding debut season in the NFL.
Lattimore finished the season with five interceptions, tied for fifth-most in the NFL. He was also named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, was selected to the PFWA All-Rookie Team, and was a Pro Bowler. Not bad for his first season.
Alexander, the 18th pick in this year’s draft, shouldn’t be expected to replicate Lattimore’s rookie season. But Lattimore’s performances show it’s possible.
As Peter Bukowski of Acme Packing Company wrote during minicamp this week, both Alexander and Jackson have been impressing the coaches. That’s great news. Yes, it’s early. Yes, training camp hasn’t started yet. But the early signs are good.
Working with Mike Pettine, Packers fans should be optimistic that Alexander will play well enough as a rookie to help the team’s pass defense improve significantly.