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Preseason Enemy Report: Jaire Alexander

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The Titans head to Lambeau Field to face the Packers in their first preseason game of 2018, and the rookie corner out of Louisville is one player to keep track of on Thursday.

NFL: Green Bay Packers-Training Camp Jim Matthews-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers’ offseason has been defined not just by changes in the front office, but also a revamped secondary.

In 2017, the starters for the secondary were corners Davon House and Demarious Randall and safeties Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix is the only returning starter for the secondary, as the Packers decided this was no laughing matter.

Now, the starters for the secondary are safeties Josh Jones and Clinton-Dix and corners Tramon Williams, Kevin King and Jaire Alexander (listed as the nickelback as of this writing).

Drafted out of Louisville with the 18th overall pick of this year’s draft, rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander had 77 tackles and seven interceptions during his college career. His junior season in 2017 was cut short due to injuries, but his 2016 season gave him Second team All-ACC honors.

The Titans will play at Lambeau Field on Thursday, so we can expect Jaire Alexander to get some significant playing time in the first preseason action of his career.

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Though he has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his college career, Alexander is a very talented corner. As shown on this play, he had great coverage skills and vision in college, allowing him to stuff the screen pass here for a loss. He initially covers the outside receiver before setting his site on the receiving back, making this play all too easy.

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New Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is known for running press coverage, and Alexander’s selection made perfect sense because of his ability in press man. He has strong hands which make him valuable in this area on the line of scrimmage, and especially in 2016 (when he was healthy) his quality in press made him a star for Louisville’s secondary.

Alexander has also been used to blitz the quarterback on a few occasions during his time at Louisville. Whether Pettine will use him as a weapon in the blitz has yet to be determined.

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Alexander’s ability against man is good. He’s a fast corner that can get a few breaks due to the accuracy of the quarterback he’s facing, but in general he should be a boost to the Packers’ secondary.

Here, then Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson throws behind his intended receiver. Alexander covers outside, meaning an accurate throw would seal a touchdown, as Alexander’s route is going inside. But Watson throws it behind, allowing Alexander to catch up and haul the ball away from the receiver for a great effort interception.

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Alexander’s toughness lends itself on tackles, as is expected. Here, he strips the ball out of the receiver’s hands operating on zone coverage. His speed is apparent here, as he catches up to the tight end and uses his strong hands to jar the ball loose.

Jaire Alexander should be a good fit in Mike Pettine’s defense, and a guy to look out for when the Titans’ receiving corps attempts to go to town.

The Titans-Packers game starts on Thursday night at 7 p.m. Central time.