The cornerback position is sort of an underrated position of need for Green Bay as the NFL draft is vastly approaching. They re-signed Rasul Douglas, Jaire Alexander will be returning from injury, and Eric Stokes had a tremendous rookie season. However, with Joe Barry’s defense, the Packers can use a true slot corner to help this defense take it to the next step. Jalen Pitre, out of Baylor, can be the missing piece Barry needs.
College Career at Baylor
Pitre played five seasons at Baylor, but had his breakout year in 2021. The red-shirt senior earned an 88.6 overall defensive PFF grade, ranking sixth out of 887 cornerbacks. In fact, his 92.7 run defense grade in 2021 was the highest by any Big 12 defensive back in a season since 2014. He led all defensive backs with 47 defensive stops while playing slot corner in 2021. In 42% of his defensive snaps, Pitre was lined up to defend the run. He forced two fumbles, held defenders to a 57.4 completion percentage and just 268 total yards receiving. In addition, he had two interceptions, six pass break-ups, and held quarterbacks to a 55.2 NFL passer rating when targeted. Although Pitre had fifteen missed tackles, his 75 total tackles is more than his 2018-2020 seasons combined (64). In his five year career, Pitre had:
- 45 total pressures, including ten sacks
- 168 total tackles
- 112 defensive stops
- 9 pass break-ups
- 4 interceptions
He allowed just a 60.2 NFL passer rating when targeted, and a 61.7% completion percentage.
Jalen Pitre making back to back plays against Oklahoma. 2nd highlight shows his ability to drop in coverage, but also adapt as the play progresses.https://t.co/jM7CxOlBhu
— Dan Edwards (@PackerEddy_FF) April 15, 2022
NFL Combine And Pro Day Performance
Pitre impressed the scouts during the combine, and during his pro day at Baylor. Although he didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the combine, he proved he can easily transition into the NFL. At the NFL combine, draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah mentions, “Everything looks real natural, really comfortable. You can use him in so many different ways.” His combine results:
- 16 Bench-Press Reps (225lb)
- 35″ Vertical Leap
- 20 yard Shuttle: 4.18 seconds
- Three Cone Drill: 6.74 seconds
- Wing-Span: 73.5″
- Hand-Size: 9″
Baylor Pro Day Results:
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.46 seconds
- Broad Jump: 119″
Baylor safety Jalen Pitre showin’ off the footwork 👣
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 30, 2022
How He Fits In Green Bay’s Defense
At 6’0″ and 198lbs, Pitre fits the measurements of a true slot corner. He’s a versatile defensive back that can line up anywhere in the box. Pitre specialized as a slot corner, but also played at the safety and linebacker position. Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry loves to have that nickel defensive back to line up in different areas, and Pitre is the guy.
Pitre is a versatile, agile, elusive, and plays larger than his body frame. For what he lacks in size, he makes up with his physicality. His vision for the ball is incredible, and is able to drop his hips well to stay with the defender. When Pitre recognizes a play, he’s ridiculously explosive and relentless. In short range, he’s very elusive and uses his brute strength to make the stop. He has tremendous footwork and combines that with his quick twitch to adapt quickly as a play progresses. Pitre is an athletic and proactive defender who excels in the box, but also can drop into coverage at any given time.
Pitre has been climbing up draft boards, after both the combine and his pro day. Currently, according to PFF’s Mock Draft Simulator, his ADP (Average Draft Position) is 40.8, which is early 2nd round. Green Bay can easily take him with the 28th overall pick, or trade back a few spots and draft him in the mid 30s. As mentioned earlier, Pitre is listed as a strong safety, but played practically every position in Baylor’s defense. If Green Bay doesn’t plan on re-signing either Adrian Amos or Darnell Savage in 2023 (both UFAs), Pitre can take their place.
Green Bay hasn’t had a hybrid defensive back since drafting Micah Hyde back in 2013. This Green Bay defense is filled with playmakers on all three levels. Adding in Jalen Pitre would further signify how tough this defense can be when defending the run and in man coverage.
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