CB Jaire Alexander
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.
CB Josh Jackson
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.
WR J’Mon Moore
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.
LB Oren Burks
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.