Packers: Jaire Alexander has become a shutdown cornerback

Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Packers CB Jaire Alexander has been dominant so far this year.

Entering the season, expectations were sky-high for Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander. Now in his third year, the Packers needed Alexander to take the next step to becoming a star cornerback.

A quarter of the way through the season, Alexander has delivered.

Alexander’s numbers might not seem all that impressive, but there’s good reason for that. Quarterbacks are quickly learning that it’s not a great idea to throw his way. For example, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, Alexander only had two targets on 38 coverage snaps in Week 3. The result? One reception for minus-two yards.

On the season, Alexander has 19 tackles, two pass defenses, and an interception.

In Monday night’s win over the Atlanta Falcons, Alexander had a tough matchup against Calvin Ridley. The Falcons’ star wide receiver had put up over 100 yards receiving in each of the three games to start the season and would need another strong performance to give the road team a chance at pulling off the upset.

Ridley didn’t have a single catch all night, and a lot of that was due to the performance of Alexander.

For Alexander to take the next step, we needed to see more performances like this one. A matchup against a great receiver with Alexander dominating. He’s done exactly that in the first quarter of the season. Moving forward, teams aren’t going to want to throw his way, which can make the field much smaller for the defense.

It’s been an incredible start to the year for the Packers’ third-year star, who is Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded cornerback after four weeks.

Some tough matchups are to come later in the season, starting immediately after the bye. If Chris Godwin is healthy, Alexander could be matched up against him often in Week 6. If not Godwin, Alexander could see a lot of Mike Evans.

But if Alexander can continue to put in performances like he has so far this season, there’s no doubt he’ll be a first-team All-Pro.