Jaire Alexander is coming off a frustrating season, but he remains a vital starter for the Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay's new-look defense under Jeff Hafley could feature more man coverage, allowing Alexander to do what he does best. Alexander loves the challenge of following an opponent's top wide receiver, and he often comes out on top.
One potential matchup is against Los Angeles Rams star wide receiver Puka Nacua.
The Rams selected Nacua in the fifth round, but he finished his rookie season with 105 catches for 1,486 yards and six touchdowns, ranking fourth in the league for receiving yards. Nacua was named a second-team All-Pro, Pro Bowler, and made the PFWA All-Rookie Team.
In a Radio Row interview, Nacua revealed his previous love of the Packers and named Jaire Alexander one of the best cornerbacks he faced this season.
Puka Nacua grew up Packers fan, names Jaire Alexander one of top corners he faced in rookie year
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst shut down any talk of trading Alexander during his end-of-season press conference. And it's for reasons like this. Nacua is already one of the league's stars at wide receiver, but he named Alexander one of the toughest corners he faced in his rookie season.
"Stephon Gilmore and Jaire Alexander. I used to be a Packers fan, so that was one I had kind of marked up on my schedule," said Nacua. "My first catch was actually against Jaire Alexander."
Nacua had a surprisingly quiet game against the Packers, catching three of seven targets for 32 yards. The Rams were without starting quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Nacua revealed that he grew up a Packers fan, but who was his favorite player?
"Aaron Rodgers," said Nacua. "Everybody in my family wore No. 12 at some point."
The Packers need work in the secondary, but they are right to stick with Alexander. He battled back and shoulder injuries and struggled for consistency this season, but he is still one of the league's best cornerbacks. A shift in defensive scheme should help Alexander get back to his All-Pro best in 2024.
And Alexander will see more of Nacua. The Packers will play a road game against the Rams next season, and there's always the possibility of the two teams meeting again in the playoffs.
Alexander received high praise from Nacua, which highlights how tough Alexander is to play against, even in what was a down year by his standards. The Packers made the correct decision to shut down any talk about trading their All-Pro corner.