The Packers CB Situation in 2021 remains to be figured out. Obviously, Jaire Alexander is CB #1 and given good health, is a lock to be the Packers best cornerback and one of the best, if not the best Corner in the NFL. Alexander, still just 24 years young, heads into his 4th NFL season and the prime of his career. Notably, he picked off Tom Brady twice in the NFC Championship game.
However, outside of Alexander, there are many questions. For the most part, we know who the players will be. How they perform is an entirely different question.
The Packers re-signed King, their 1st pick in the 2017 Draft, to a 1 year deal this off-season. When healthy, King has proven to be a willing tackler and a decent cover-corner (which are hard to find in the NFL). King’s best season came in 2019, when he was able to stay healthy. He played in 15 regular season games, recorded 5 interceptions, 15 passes-defensed, a career-high 66 tackles and added a sack.
In King’s other 3 NFL seasons, he’s played in a total of 26 regular season games. It’s hard to gauge how healthy King was in the 2021 NFC Championship game, which could’ve factored into the Packers bringing him back. At the very least, he adds a veteran presence to the defense. At most, we could see a 2019-esq. season from King, which would significantly elevate the secondary, while giving younger guys a little more room for error.
Sullivan signed his restricted free agent tender back in April, which keeps him in Green Bay for another season. Sullivan improved nicely in 2020, playing steady football in the Nickel position. However, it’s fair to question if he’s a long-term, viable option. Although the soon to be 25 year old improved, there’s still significant improvement to be desired, especially in man to man coverage. The Buccaneers picked on Sullivan early and often in the NFC Title game, which resulted in an opening drive touchdown.
The Packers 1st round pick in the 2021 Draft brings excitement, blazing speed and a big smile. Stokes, 22 from the University of Georgia, runs a 4.29 40 Yard Dash and set several records in high-school track. In an article written by Bill Huber, Stokes’ college coach, Kirby Smart, said this about the CB before the 2019 College Football Season:
“That’s a kid who has come a long way that really wasn’t a DB coming out of high school, he was just an athlete. He’s very conscientious to doing things the right way. When you teach Stokes something, he listens and he applies it. When you combine that ability, you’ve got a pretty good player.”
When you combine insanely gifted talent with a person who wants to succeed, that usually produces a strong end-result. That’s what the Packers saw when they selected him 29th Overall.
The 4th Year CB from University of Iowa is familiar with the Packers and adds needed depth. Jackson, a 2nd round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, hasn’t lived up to his pre-draft expectations thus far. In his 3 NFL seasons, Jackson has yet to record an NFL interception, despite tying the single-season school record with 8 in 2017 for Iowa.
Jean-Charles, pronounced John Charles, is a rookie CB from Appalachian State. Last year, he led all of college football in passes defensed (17). He was First-Team All-Sunbelt and a semi-finalist for the Bednarik Award (nation’s top defender).
Kabion Ento, Ka’dar Hollman and Stanford Samuels round out the current group. The Packers certainly have depth behind their All-Pro Alexander. Now, it’s about finding a few players who take the “next step” to ensure the Packers defense remains effective.
Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a diehard Packers fan. Alex\’s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.