How the Media Graded Packers Pick Jaire Alexander in 2018 NFL Draft
The first round of the NFL Draft is in the books, and the Packers came away with a top-tier cornerback in Jaire Alexander. General manager Brian Gutekunst kept fans guessing, trading down thirteen spots before trading back up nine to select Alexander.
One thing is true about the NFL Draft: every single person has an opinion. And many have expressed their opinions in draft grades. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from an eventful Thursday night.
Positive draft grades for Packers, Jaire Alexander
Even with talented safety Derwin James on the board, the Saints gave the Packers a deal too rich to give up, as Green Bay traded down from No. 14. Getting a 2019 first-round pick was a steal for new GM Brian Gutekunst. Later on, he made a strong move up to pick Alexander, the second-best corner in the draft to most teams, despite being a little undersized. They did give up a third-round pick in this deal, but the net effect of the two deals is still a positive, and they met their biggest position need with a guy who can be an above-average starter. - NFL.com: A
Jaire Alexander certainly fits. You talk about attitude, toughness. He has all of those physical skills to be a lockdown corner on the outside. - Sporting News: A
Alexander boasts elite speed and quickness — he posted a 4.38-second 40 time with a 6.71-second three-cone and a 3.98-second short shuttle at the combine — and has a nose for the ball, with seven interceptions and 15 pass breakups in his college career. This pick makes a ton of sense for Green Bay, which gave up a 102.0 passer rating and 30 passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks last year (both second worst); Alexander has the chance to provide an immediate impact in the slot, and long term should be Tramon Williams’s eventual replacement on the outside. The Packers … got a versatile day-one contributor. - The Ringer: Fit: A+, Value: B+
They get a smooth cover player who plays with a swagger. They wanted a corner and get a darn good one. - CBS Sports (Pete Prisco): A
In Alexander, they get a player who would have made sense with the 14th selection. The Packers need a cornerback, and Alexander is arguably the best cornerback after Ward. Injuries knocked him a little bit, but he can go get the football. If he can stay healthy, Alexander can finally end Green Bay’s quest for a cornerback. - SB Nation: A-
The Packers traded back, landed an extra first-round pick in 2019 and still landed a top-15 talent who fills a hole on the roster. Alexander can play man coverage on an island, which is a requirement to play in Mike Pettine’s defense. - For The Win: B+
Negative draft grades for Packers, Jaire Alexander
Some might cite edge rusher as a bigger need, with almost-32-year-old Clay Matthews in a contract year. But new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine never had great edge rushers with the Jets, where he made his bones—he had great cover corners, which he put on islands to enhance his interior pressures and zone blitz disguises. Presumably, that’s how head coach Mike McCarthy wants to play, given that Pettine’s predecessor, Dom Capers, subscribed to a similar philosophy. The Packers appear to have a quality cover corner in Kevin King (though the 2017 second-rounder has played just nine NFL games). The hope now is they have another with Alexander. - MMQB: B+
The Green Bay Packers added extra draft capital, but they missed out on the top three defensive backs in the draft. However, they still get a guy who is going to play tough and will be willing to go toe-to-toe with any receiver you match him up with in Jaire Alexander. Defensive back was in dire straits heading into the draft, and Alexander helps Green Bay's situation immediately—especially if he cuts back on the mental mistakes to want to try to make a big play. - Bleacher Report: B
Is Alexander tall enough? He measured just 5-foot-10¼ at the scouting combine. Pro Football Hall of Fame general manager Ron Wolf had a rule that he wouldn’t take a DB under 5-foot-11 after he made the mistake of taking Terrell Buckley (5-foot-10) with his very first pick as the Packers GM in 1992. New GM Brian Gutekunst, who was hired by Wolf, wasn’t scared away by Alexander’s height after trading back from No. 14 overall, where he had the chance to take Marcus Davenport, Tremaine Edmunds or Derwin James. - ESPN (Rob Demovsky)