Jaire Alexander

Packers Sign CB Jaire Alexander

The Packers announced the signing of first-round pick Jaire Alexander. The cornerback out of Louisville was the No. 18 overall selection in the draft.

Alexander put himself squarely in the Round 1 conversation despite missing time with a knee injury in 2017. Some evaluators had concerns about Alexander’s slender build leading to another injury, but the potential was too much for Green Bay to pass up.

The Packers moved around on draft night and still came away with the cornerback they wanted. The Packers shipped their original pick to the Saints for the No. 27 pick, a fifth-round choice, and the Saints’ first-round selection in 2019. Then, the Packers moved up nine spots by giving up their third and sixth-round choices in a swap with the Seahawks.

Alexander will get an opportunity to prove himself right off the bat with the Packers as he projects to start alongside free agent addition Tramon Williams. Veteran Davon House, 2017 second-round pick Kevin King, and this year’s second-rounder Josh Jackson are also in support.

As shown on PFR’s rookie contract tracker, the Alexander signing leaves Jackson and third-round linebacker Oren Burks as the last remaining unsigned members of the Packers’ draft class.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Ravens, Seahawks, Saints, Browns

Let’s take a look at some assorted notes as we get ready for the start of the draft…

  • There are a number of teams currently picking in the twenties that would be interested in moving up to the teens, reports Jason La Canfora (via Twitter). Interestingly, those teams may have some suitors, as the reporter notes that the Ravens and Seahawks are among the teams interested in trading back.
  • Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland told Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune that running back Saquon Barkley is the top player on their draft board (Twitter link). “He’s rare,” Ireland gushed. “He’s unique.” Of course, barring some crazy development, the Saints are unlikely to have an opportunity to select Barkley, as they’re only armed with one pick in the first two rounds. Plus, the team is already rostering several talented running backs, including Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.
  • There could end up being a flurry of trades if the Browns select Baker Mayfield with the first-overall pick, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter video). All of the potential scenarios have seemingly stalled trade talks, although Rapoport notes that the Browns (No. 4), Broncos (No. 5), and Colts (No. 6) are among the teams who’d consider moving down. The Bills could be among the teams looking to trade into the top-six range, and the Broncos could ultimately choose to keep their pick if someone like Josh Allen falls into their lap.
  • Rapoport also notes (via Twitter) that several prospects are expected to be selected earlier than initially thought: Maryland wideout D.J. Moore, UTSA defensive end Marcus Davenport, and Louisville Jaire Alexander. Davenport and Alexander both landed in the top-20 of Daniel Jeremiah’s rankings, while Moore was listed 37th.

NFL Draft Rumors: Nelson, 49ers, Eagles

Good news for Wisconsin product Nick Nelson. The surgery to fix the cornerback’s torn meniscus was successful and he did not need a full repair, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Because it was not a full repair, he is expected to recover in six weeks rather than 3-4 months and should be ready for training camp. Nelson was projected to come off the board no later than the third round before the injury and he should be in consideration for rounds 2 and 3 once again after the operation.

Here’s a look at the latest NFL Draft news:

  • The 49ers met with Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith on Tuesday, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Smith had 137 tackles and 6.5 sacks last season and could be a replacement for Reuben Foster, who is embroiled in serious legal trouble stemming from a domestic violence arrest.
  • Iowa center James Daniels, who is widely regarded as the top center in this year’s draft, visited with the Eagles this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. On Tuesday, he’ll meet with Bears before traveling to the 49ers on Wednesday. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com says that Daniels is one of the best center prospects he’s seen in the last five years and has him ranked as the 23rd best prospect overall in this year’s draft.
  • South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, met with the Lions on Tuesday, Rapoport tweets. If the Lions select Hurst in the first round, that will make three first round tight ends for them in the last ten years, following Brandon Pettigrew (2009) and Eric Ebron (2014).
  • Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander visited the Eagles and Dolphins this week, Rapoport tweets. Alexander is widely projected to be a first round pick and may be the second CB to come off the board after Ohio State’s Denzel Ward.
  • Teams like Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, but the belief that he is a two-down defender and not an adept pass-rusher may keep him out of the Top 10, Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com hears.
  • Speaking of Payne, he visited the Redskins on Monday, a source tells ESPN.com’s John Keim (on Twitter). Washington owns the No. 13 overall pick in the draft.

South Notes: Titans, Hubbard, Bucs, Saints

Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard is scheduled to meet with the Titans this week, tweets Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports. During his final season with the Buckeyes, the 6’5″, 265-pound Hubbard posted seven sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, and is widely viewed as a late-first- or early-second-round selection. While Hubbard reportedly ran a disappointing 4.96-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, his three-cone time places him in the 96th percentile among defensive ends, and he ranks 15th among 2018’s edge rushing prospects in SPARQ, a composite score that measures athleticism. Tennessee ranked 12th in pressure rate a season ago, but could be searching for a young edge rusher to play behind starters Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • The Buccaneers are hosting LSU cornerback Donte Jackson on Wednesday, according to Josh Norris of Rotoworld (Twitter link). Even after re-signing veteran Brent Grimes, Tampa Bay is still on the lookout for additional defensive backs after not only ranking 31st in pass defense DVOA, but giving up a ton of big plays in the passing game. Last season, the Buccaneers allowed allowed 57 completions of at least 20 yards, which was third-most in the league. A three-year starter, Jackson “may be the fastest player in this year’s draft,” as Lance Zierlein of NFL.com writes, adding Jackson offers “plus body control to handle tight or off coverage.”
  • Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander visited the Titans today, reports Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com (Twitter link). Tennessee has invested heavily its in secondary over the past two years, adding free agents such as Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan while expending a first-round pick on Adoree’ Jackson. Alexander would give the club yet another option, and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com — who ranks Alexander as the draft’s 16th-best prospect — says the ex-Cardinal is “rarely out of position” and has “elite ball awareness.”
  • Fullback Zach Line‘s new two-year deal with the Saints is worth $2.2MM, per Nick Underhill of the Advocate (Twitter link). Line will collect a $200K signing bonus, which is the only guaranteed portion of the contract. New Orleans signed Line to replace the injured John Kuhn last October, and the 27-year-old went on to play on 16.3% of the Saints’ offensive snaps (12th among NFL fullbacks) and 27.6% of the club’s special teams snaps.

WR Courtland Sutton and CB Jaire Alexander Enter 2018 NFL Draft

We have two more draft eligible college prospects announcing their intent to turn pro after we learned highly-touted quarterback Josh Allen would be skipping his senior season and declaring for the draft.

Coutland Sutton (Vertical)

SMU wide receiver Courtland Sutton revealed his decision to forego his final year of eligibility in an Instagram post tonight.

“It has been an incredible run and after discussing things with my family, I have decided to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft.

The relationships I have built, and the experiences I have had are absolutely priceless. My SMU family is full of teammates, coaches, and friends that have been there for me since Day 1! Going to school and playing ball with my brothers is something that I wouldn’t change for the world. 
I would like to give a huge thanks to all those who helped me behind the scenes, Coach Stepp, TMFSS, the equipment room, the training room, Ms. Lisa, and all those that work in the Loyd building who have had an impact on my life while at SMU.

I am absolutely humbled by the opportunity that I have ahead of me, and I couldn’t have gotten here without the support and love from my family. My degree from SMU is something I will forever cherish, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next!”

Sutton has been considered one of the draft’s top wideout prospects since the start of the season, and he’ll certainly have a chance to be selected in the first round. The junior receiver stands 6’4”, 216 lbs., having caught 12 touchdowns on 68 receptions for over 1,000 yards in 2017. Sutton is currently ranked as the draft’s second best best wide receiver, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report.

Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander will enter the 2018 NFL Draft as well, according to college football reporter Brett McMurphy (Twitter link). In addition to the announcement, McMurphy also reported that Alexander would be skipping the TaxSlayer Bowl because of his decision to turn pro. Alexander only recorded one interception this season, but is ranked as the seventh best corner on Matt Miller’s most recent draft board.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.