Brian Gutekunst came into the 2018 NFL Draft looking to make an impact for the Green Bay Packers on the defensive side of the football in the first round. When the No. 14 overall pick came up, however, the Packers decided to trade down with the New Orleans Saints. Green Bay received the No. 27 overall pick, a 2018 fifth-round pick, and the Saints’ 2019 first rounder as well.
Needless to say, the Packers received quite a bit in order to move back. Gutekunst was not done with making trades. He moved back up with the Seattle Seahawks at No. 18, giving up the N0. 27 pick and a third rounder.
Finally, with the No. 18 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Packers drafted Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander.
Alexander was a player that many mock drafts connected to the Packers. Green Bay needed help in their secondary and Alexander was largely viewed as the fourth-best defensive back in the draft. Sure enough, he ended up being drafted behind Denzel Ward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Derwin James.
During the 2017 college football season with the Louisville Cardinals, Alexander ended up playing in just six games due to a knee injury, as Sports-Reference noted. He recorded 19 total tackles to go along with an interception and four defended passes in limited time. Back in 2016, however, Alexander showed off some of his full potential with 39 tackles, five interceptions, a forced fumble, and nine defended passes.
Green Bay adds to its defense!— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 27, 2018
Packers trade back up and select CB Jaire Alexander with the No. 18 pick pic.twitter.com/AjLW5M8v0L
Green Bay will pair Alexander with second-year cornerback Kevin King next season. Tramon Williams was also brought back in free agency this offseason and will be a great veteran mentor for Alexander and King.
Standing in at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, Alexander is a solid size to defend against any type of receiver. King, on the other hand, is 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. Green Bay has put together a huge corner with a quick corner, which is a deadly combination if both players reach their full potential.
All of that being said, what grade do the Packers deserve for their selection of Alexander in the first round?
Quite simply, this grade deserves big numbers for Gutekunst. Not only did he get a playmaking cornerback in the first round, he also brought in a 2019 first round pick. Alexander is a huge addition to the Packers’ secondary, but they now have two first rounders in 2019 to work with.
When everything is said and done, the Packers will end up being one of the winners of the first round. They may not have gotten one of the “elite” defensive back prospects, but Alexander is a perfect fit in Mike Pettine’s defense and has the potential to become a special player in Green Bay.
Jaire Alexander Draft Grade: A-