Jaire Alexander: Packers defense has ‘all the pieces’ entering 2022

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Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander understands his group must prove it on the field first, but the returning All-Pro sees a complete defense on paper entering the 2022 season.

“We’ve got to play a game first, you know, I can’t really say that right now. But we have all the pieces,” Alexander said Wednesday when asked about tight end Marcedes Lewis calling the defense “salty.”

Alexander had his own adjective for the goal of the group: “Nasty, just nasty.”

The Packers defense certainly looks impressive on paper. This offseason, general manager Brian Gutekunst re-signed linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and cornerback Rasul Douglas, added veteran defensive lineman Jarran Reed and used first-round picks on linebacker Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt. The starting defense could have as many as seven first-round picks, including at least one at defensive line (Wyatt, Kenny Clark), edge rusher (Rashan Gary), linebacker (Walker), cornerback (Alexander, Eric Stokes) and safety (Darnell Savage).

There’s no obvious weak link. The Packers have experience and difference-makers at every level of the defense. Clark finally has help up front along the defensive line. Gary and Preston Smith are a terrific pass-rushing tandem on the edges. Walker joins Campbell, an All-Pro in 2021, to form a dynamic duo at linebacker. Alexander, Stokes and Rasul Douglas might be the best top-3 at cornerback in the NFL. And Savage and Adrian Amos are going into Year 4 working together at safety.

There’s a potential Pro Bowl player at all the important spots, including edge rusher and cornerback. And there’s a good mix of young, ascending talent and established veterans. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry just needs to put all the pieces together the right way.

Alexander’s return after missing 12 games last year gives the Packers secondary an incredible amount of potential entering 2022.

“Sky’s the limit. You know who’s back, the general is back,” Alexander said. “The sky is the limit.