The Green Bay Packers made 11 picks during the 2018 NFL draft and signed quite a few other contributors during college or university no cost company, including an influx of initially-year expertise to the roster. Above the upcoming handful of weeks, we’ll be going by and examining the 2018 period for all of the Packers’ prime rookies.
To start with up: Cornerback Jaire Alexander, the 18th over-all pick and the Packers’ initially-spherical draft variety in 2018:
Alexander created 66 tackles, a few tackles for losses, just one interception, 11 move breakups, a 50 % sack and just one quarterback hit over 13 game titles and 11 begins. He led the workforce in passes defended and finished 2nd guiding Blake Martinez in total tackles. He also returned four punts for 25 yards, but fumbled twice. In accordance to Professional Football Focus, no cornerback in the NFL contested a larger share of passes in coverage in 2018.
Alexander played 760 defensive snaps and one more 72 on special teams. Only Tramon Williams and Blake Martinez played extra snaps on protection. Seven periods, Alexander played 100 per cent of the defensive snaps in a match, including five straight game titles spanning late November and early December.
Mike McCarthy named it an “alpha performance,” a fitting description for the clearly show Alexander produced in Los Angeles in late October. He proved his individual star electrical power, developing 7 tackles and five move breakups against the large-driven Rams offense. He broke up a few passes targeting Brandin Cooks, including just one in the close zone. It was a breakout all-close to performance. Ten different NFL players created at the very least four move breakups in a match during the 2018 period, but Alexander was the only player with five. He became the initially Packers defender given that 2005 with five or extra move breakups in a one match.
Alexander labored by the initially section of the Packers’ additional time get over the New York Jets in December, leaving right after 20 snaps. He permitted four completions in his coverage just before departing with a groin injury, which cost him a possibility to participate in in the period finale, much too.
Who claimed a 5-10 cornerback cannot be physical? In his initially match at U.S. Financial institution Stadium, Alexander played pinball with the Vikings’ two prime receivers, plowing by Adam Thielen on a quick display screen and sending Stefon Diggs careening backward. Then the rookie chased down Diggs in the backfield to finish the participate in. It was a “wow” moment for the rookie.
Alexander promptly ascended the depth chart to come to be the Packers’ prime cornerback as a rookie. Even though he lost his share of battles with No. 1 receivers, Alexander continuously displayed the variety of athleticism, competitiveness and fearlessness that really should make him a Professional Bowl-caliber cornerback for years to occur. Almost never was he cleanly conquer. It was enjoyment seeing him contend against the likes of Brandin Cooks, Julio Jones and Adam Thielen down the stretch. His unpredicted willingness to tackle in the open up area and participate in physical against the run only added to his presently remarkable profile. He just turned 22 earlier this month. The sky actually is the limit for Alexander, who could go into the 2019 season as the most critical (and valuable?) player on the protection.
A pair of injury scenarios and a handful of disappointing performances to close the period retained Alexander from earning an ‘A’ grade. But really do not get it twisted: Alexander created a great rookie period. Additional importantly, he flashed star electrical power at a high quality position the place the Packers desperately desired enable. He’s now the bedrock for the secondary and move protection. B+