GREEN BAY, Wis. – New Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry inherited the makings of a strong defense.
Kenny Clark and Za’Darius Smith are two of the best players in the NFL at their positions. The depth at outside linebacker is superb. And the secondary is anchored by arguably the best cornerback in the NFL and perhaps the top safety tandem in the league.
In the final installments of their offseason position rankings, Pro Football Focus listed Jaire Alexander as the No. 1 cornerback in the NFL.
“Alexander … was much more stingy in coverage, allowing just 353 receiving yards all season — including Green Bay’s two postseason games — despite logging nearly 600 coverage snaps,” PFF’s Ben Linsey wrote. “The result was a season where Alexander was worth 1.4 wins above a replacement-level player, almost a full half-win more than any other cornerback.”
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Alexander is coming off a banner season in which he was selected to the Pro Bowl. According to PFF, 78 corners played at least half of the passing snaps. He ranked sixth with 15.1 snaps per reception, third with 0.64 yards per snap and fifth with a 68.3 passer rating, according to PFF. Sports Info Solutions had Alexander giving up a paltry 40.6 percent completion rate. That was the lowest in the NFL among starters.
The Packers, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos and Washington Football Team were the only teams with two safeties ranked among PFF’s top 30.
Adrian Amos ranked ninth, thanks to a dominant second half of the season. In the first eight games, he had zero interceptions, one pass defensed and eight missed tackles. In the final eight games, he had two interceptions, eight passes defensed and two missed tackles. Playing a defense-high 1,008 snaps, Amos was first with 83 tackles, second with two interceptions, third with nine passes defensed and fourth with five tackles for losses.
With an excellent second season, Savage ranked 18th. Like Amos, he hit his stride during the second half of the season with four interceptions and 11 passes defensed in his final nine games.
“Savage is moving in the right direction but is still a little more flash than substance,” Linsey wrote. “Watching him, you get the real sense that he is on the precipice of being a genuinely great player rather than the very good one that he is right now. Savage recorded four picks and seven pass breakups and made several critical hits last year. His biggest issue was with missed tackles, with 16 total on the year.”
Chandon Sullivan did not make PFF's list of the top 10 slot corners.