Let’s start with the Green Bay Packers top pick, Jaire Alexander. He’s within an inch in height of a guy I have in mind. He’s not quite as fast, but he’s within a 10th of a second in the dash. He’s a bit better leaper and nearly as agile. The two players are just one bench press rep apart.
The big difference is that Alexander is a sturdy 196 pounds, while Sam Shields was feather-light at 184. I’d gladly give up a small amount of speed (4.38 vs. 4.30 dashes) in exchange for 12 pounds of bulk. Even with that bulk, Alexander was still among the fastest of all the cornerbacks at the NFL Combine this spring.
When Shields lined up to make a tackle, most of Packer Nation cringed. Alexander should be able to bring down large receivers and running backs without need of a stretcher.
Next, we have the very athletic Josh Jackson, another cornerback. By the way, Pro Football Focus had tagged him as the sixth best player in the draft. The knock on Jackson is he ran a surprisingly slow dash time of 4.56 seconds. Another tall guy who had a similar time, 4.54, was former Seahawks corner Richard Sherman. Sherman stands 6’ 3”, while Jackson is still tall for a cornerback (70th percentile) at 6’ 3/8”.
I waited years for someone to go deep on Sherman, but it rarely if ever happened. While Sherman weighs in at only 195, Jackson is 196, so he’s more substantially built and his 18 bench presses were two more than Sherman’s. Both are fine leapers, which is a big part of their games. Jackson had two above-average agility tests, while Sherman were both below average – his 20-yaard shuttle time was only 11th percentile.
Jackson’s coverage style is very similar to that of the four-time All-Pro. They each like to stay between the receiver and the passer or be at angles where they can jump in front of him. That aggressiveness has led to 32 interceptions for Sherman, which ties him for sixth among active players – with Tramon Williams. Causing turnovers is a big part of Jackson’s game, too – he led the NCAA last season with eight interceptions.
Another draftee who looks familiar to me on his highlight tape is fourth-rounder J’Mon Moore. At 6’ 2 5/8” and 207 pounds, he’s a little taller though five pounds lighter than Packers’ wideout Davante Adams. On tape, both are fluid and have great cutting ability.
The NFL Combine scores suggest that Moore has the more athletic upside. On the two agility tests, Moore was in the 88th and 96th percentiles, while Adams rated 69th and 30th. Adams bested Moore in the vertical jump 39 ½” to 38”, though both lengths are terrific.
A final new Packer athletic wonder is linebacker Oren Burks. I haven’t been able to come up with a comparable NFL player – maybe someone else can? Take a look at these Combine percentiles: 40-yard dash, 81st (4.59); 20-yard shuttle, 81st; 3-cone, 90th; vertical jump, 90th; and broad jump, 97th. His height of 6’ 3 1/8” is also desirable. He only comes up short in weight, at 233, and bench presses (18).
Here are some dash times of other Packers linebackers: A.J. Hawk, 4.59; Clay Matthews, 4.62; Jake Ryan, 4.65; Nick Barnett, 4.67; Joe Thomas, 4.70; Blake Martinez and Jamari Lattimore, 4.71; Desmond Bishop, 4.78.
Mockdraftable.com based Burks’ percentiles on outside linebacker comparisons. The Packers, however, plan to use him as an inside/hybrid linebacker – so his lighter weight and great suppleness should only aid in his versatility. His physique will enable him to pursue runners, pass defend and blitz the quarterback about equally well.
Burks played at Vanderbilt, which also produced All-Pro cornerback Casey Hayward.
With Jaire Alexander, his play style sort of reminds me of Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan didn’t have the athletic measurables, he was a smaller body too but was physical and played bigger than his size much like Alexander.
Part of the reason teams didn’t test Sherman deep often is he was rarely out of position, and the presence of Earl Thomas on the back end helps a ton.
When I watch J’Mon Moore, I see a lot of Marques Colston. Similar body build, similar speed, above average route runners and good after the catch. He has about the same ceiling to me as well as low end #1/high end #2 guy. Never going to be a dominate guy but will make plays if he is in the right system and has help.
I said in another post Oren Burks reminds me of a poor man’s Brian Urlacher. Not the same ceiling as Urlacher was a special player and athlete, but Burks size, speed, and lower body explosiveness are similar, he just lacks the ability to be a strong player at the point of attack and needs a little more bulk and some coaching. Both played a very similar position in college.
Hopefully Moore doesn’t take as long and as many drops as Davante to develop.
If you guys want to drink koolaid, found this tid bit on Walter football which tends to be fairly accurate and definitely not subject to homer opinion
4/24/18: St. Brown had 33 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdowns in 2017. Throughout the season, St. Brown got open through his excellent route-running while also seeing a lot of double teams, but the immense struggles of Notre Dame’s quarterback play and passing offense limited St. Brown. At the NFL Scouting Combine, St. Brown helped himself with an impressive 40 time for a big receiver. He is a sleeper prospect who could be a steal.
7/17/17: Sources who have done advance work on the 2018 class are really impressed and intrigued with St. Brown. They say he is a super-polished route runner with tremendous speed, athletic ability, body control, and hands. They said they think St. Brown could be more gifted and talented than the three wideouts who went in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft, but St. Brown gets fewer opportunities to show his skill. In 2016, he had 58 receptions for 961 yards with nine touchdowns
Comparing just size and athleticism (not style of play) St. Brown is 6’ 4 ¾”, 214, 4.48 dash, passed on combine tests. Mike Evans is also 6’ 4 3/4, 231, 4.53, under average on combine tests except vertical jump (37”). Brandon Marshall is 6’ 5”, 229, 4.52, also under average on the tests. Except for about 15 pounds (and that can change), the new Packer conceivably, if unlikely, has the potential of these two All-Pros. Tall guys rarely do well on the test scores, probably why ESB passed them up.
I think this St Brown guy could shock everyone. Look at the highlights on YouTube, he looks like a better receiver than Moore, much more polished. He’s making incredible plays. Good moves. I am very surprised he fell to the 6th round.
There’s a smile! Positive thoughts around here always.
You know who was even closer to Jaire Alexander than Sam Shields? Ahmad Carroll. Same height. Same weight. Same speed.
I don’t think you can compare Josh Jackson to Richard Sherman. Sherman and the Seahawks played press coverage, which is what Pettine will play, but Jackson played zone in college. In fact, I worry Jackson won’t be able to transition to the NFL because of this.
I don’t know about that. I think he can be a good player in the league, but I don’t know if that will be in Pettine’s scheme. Actually, oddly enough, I feel like he is a better fit in Capers scheme
If you play rookie corners in the NFL they are going to be tested often. Both of the corners drafted this year can go get the ball when it is in the air. Remember Hayward his first year?
I would have preferred Oliver over Jackson because Oliver played more press man. Jackson is much better tracking and finding the ball when it is in the air over Oliver. Jackson will adapt to press man and the good thing is he played zone well in college. Pettine will be mixing up coverages.
If the Packers play the rookies a lot expect the int. totals to go way up this year. That doesn’t mean there won’t be struggles. There will just be a lot of opportunities for two players who in college showed they could take the ball away.
I don’t know who they remind me of, but….
I can tell you what this draft reminds me of. The annual feeling of we need our rookie draft class to perform 1st year.
Don’t mean to be negative, but i was positive up above, and i like to keep things fair and balanced.