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2018 Draft

Jaire Alexander – Louisville’s Defensive Heisman

Overview

Jaire will be a junior this year at Louisville. Coming out of high school he wasn’t very highly recruited, he played both CB and WR. Despite being an “under the radar” recruit, the athletic ability was there and would shine early. As a freshmen, Jaire played in 12 games (1 start). He played a big role on special teams as a returner more so than defense (9.7 yards per punt return), did well in kick coverage too. He finished his freshmen year with 19 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBUs. Last year in 2016, he really broke onto the national stage, to be known as one of best young DBs in the country. He accounted for 39 tackles, 5 INTs (37 yards), and 9 PBUs. He added some dynamic punt returns as well, averaging 10.3 yards per return, 1 touchdown. This resulted in him being named 2nd Team All-ACC as a first year starter.

Strengths

Jaire stands at a listed 5’11” 192 pounds, average arm length to go with it. This guy is just a fantastic athlete though. He has smooth quickness that allows him to stay tight in coverage. Extremely fluid in/out of breaks, leaves no wasted motion or false steps. Great flexibility in the hips and ankles to turn and run with guys. Doesn’t have great size but he’ll get physical with WRs throughout the route. I would say he has really good speed but not sub 4.35 speed or anything like that, I’d imagine low 4.4s. Guys aren’t running away from him down the field, saw him save a touchdown chasing a guy down against Duke. Attacks the ball in the air like its his, you can tell that he used to play WR in high school. Didn’t have many opportunities to make plays after the INT but the ability is there, he had a nice return against Virginia. Plays with great feel and awareness of the game, understands where he needs to be as well as where his teammates should be. Has a great feel for zone spacing, uses his teammates and sidelines to his full advantage. Plays with great enthusiasm and passion, wants to win every snap. Primarily, plays as the boundary corner for Louisville so he has experience on either side of the field, even has some work in the slot. He’s left on an island a lot with no help over the top, doesn’t panic when teams try and test him deep. Despite his size he’s actually a very good and willing tackler. Uses his quickness to stay square with guys and wraps up well around the hips. He’ll come full force with some nice pop, have seen him blow up guys legs on underneath routes. He’s a big time play maker. Nearly returned two punts for a touchdown against Florida State (returned 1), had a bogus call ruin a punt return TD against Duke (at the 1:54 min mark in the highlight video). In their big time showdown against Clemson, early in the season, he put his name on the map by snatching 2 INTs and forcing a fumble. They blitzed him some, think he could make some plays doing that next season. Very smooth and balanced in coverage, always looking to make plays. Ability to stick to even the most elusive of route runners. Louisville coverages are pretty diverse so Jaire is comfortable with a lot of different coverages. I preferred him in the bail technique over others, but he can play straight man coverage, off in cover 2 type looks and straight cover 3. Love his field awareness.

Weaknesses/Concerns/Room for Improvement

His size does limit him a bit. He does very well at driving underneath on WRs but often lacks the pop to jar the ball loose. Doesn’t have the length/strength to knock the ball away against bigger WRs who are able to shield him off. My biggest concern is him in press man coverage. He allows his feet to stop at the line of scrimmage without getting his hands on guys. This leaves his WRs with some separation down the field, now he hasn’t really been getting beat in college but in the NFL they can get him with that. He doesn’t have the strength to bother big WRs routes from press. He fights and positions himself the best he can but he’s limited and can get exposed there. If you watch him on the goal line situations, he’s attacked by fade routes consistently and is a liability. He really struggles to get up in the air and defend those routes. Down the field, I believe he could do a better job of finding the football and making a play. Too often he leaves question whether there could potentially be a pass interference flag thrown by not getting his head around or continuing to hand fight with the WR. He doesn’t make a ton of plays on the ball deep down field. As a punt returner he muffed and bobbled a few last year, that’s kind of a situation where you take the good with the bad because of how dynamic he can be. He could do a better job of getting off blocks. His size creates concerns of increased risk of injury in his future. If he finds a way to play the ball better when its up over his head, he’ll be a much improved player.

The Rundown

Overall, Jaire is an extremely fun player to watch. He could be a dynamic playmaker at the next level with his ball skills and mentality. The ability to take a punt to the house should only increase his value. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he’s an NFL team’s top CB going into the 2017 season. With a great junior season he could find himself in the top 15 and I would be a little surprised to see him drop out of the first round. People talk a lot about Heisman winning Lamar Jackson on offense, but don’t sleep on Jaire Alexander on defense ,at Louisville. He could easily end up being the first player selected of the two.

Scheme Fit

Cowboys have been playing a lot of man bail technique (cover 3)  lately under coach Rod Marinelli. Jaire would be perfect doing this and would give any team playing this scheme a really nice play maker. He can play cover 3, off cover 2 as well. I just worry about him playing press man, believe it opens himself up to beaten down the field. Has the ability to tackle well if he’s needed in those zone defenses. He can develop into a nickel corner as well, although I think his ability would probably be wasted there.

Draft Position

Potential Top 15

First Round 🔐

Highlights/2016 Game vs Clemson

Other Comments

If there’s someone else you want me to do a report on, let me know and I’ll definitely check him out. You can either leave a comment on this report or you can tweet me @dexterharris28 on twitter.

 

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