Will Jaire Alexander have a breakout season in 2019?
But he could be set for an even better 2019. NFL Network analyst Gil Brandt has predicted that Alexander could have a breakout season this year.
Brandt ranked nine defensive backs who could break out in 2019, and Alexander was at No. 1, ahead of John Johnson of the LA Rams and Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Miami Dolphins. Here’s what Brandt wrote about Alexander:
"“Alexander is competitive and has ball skills, and I think we’ll see him follow up his strong debut by graduating to shutdown corner status.”"
That’s certainly high praise, and it’s hard to disagree with Brandt. Alexander was impressive, very impressive, throughout his rookie season. He consistently made game-changing plays and quickly became the most important player in the secondary.
There was a reason why Green Bay traded up to draft Alexander in last year’s draft. The secondary seemingly couldn’t defend a pass in the previous couple of seasons — the Packers finished 31st in passing defense in 2016, and 23rd in 2017. In the NFC Championship Game in the 2016 season, Green Bay’s defense allowed Matt Ryan to throw for 392 yards and four touchdowns.
The defense desperately needed a number one cornerback who could cover some of the best wide receivers in the game, and they look to have found that player with Alexander. In Alexander’s first season, the Packers’ pass defense jumped up to No. 12 in the NFL, and that was without much help from the pass rush.
But if the defense is to make the next step and finish in the top 10 overall, they’ll need a big second season from Alexander. If he has a breakout year as Brandt believes could happen, the Packers’ defense could be one of the most improved in all of the NFL.
Will Alexander have a big season in 2019? What are your predictions for the Green Bay Packers’ defense this year?