The Green Bay Packers are set to open training camp later this month. This is the next in a series of articles previewing the Packers position by position, analyzing the talent on the roster and discussing key questions that are facing the Packers as they begin preparation for the 2023 season. Today we look at the cornerbacks. For our look at the quarterbacks, click here, click here for the defensive line, here for running backs, here for inside linebackers, here for tight ends, here for edge rushers, the offensive line can be found here, the safeties here and you can find special teams here. We will examine another position each day until the start of training camp.

Packers Cornerbacks

The Starters

Jaire Alexander

Jaire Alexander earned Pro Bowl honors last season for the second time in his career. The Louisville alum remains one of the NFL’s top cover corners and he can shut down top receivers for long stretches of a game. He has elite speed and can keep up with the fastest wideouts in the game.

Alexander set a career high with five interceptions last season which matched his total for his previous four seasons.

Another thing Alexander supplies is confidence. His brash approach to the game sets the tone for the defense and the team.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry must use Alexander properly and that includes having him cover the opposition’s best receiver when necessary.

Alexander is in his prime and should have another strong season ahead.

Rasul Douglas

The Packers signed Rasul Douglas off the Cardinals practice squad in 2021 and he turned out to be a valuable pickup. Douglas intercepted five passes in just 12 games in 2021 and that included two pick-sixes and a game-saving pick against Arizona in the final minute.

Last season, Douglas struggled early in the season in part due to Douglas’ soft zone concept which didn’t fit his skill set well. The former West Virginia star is at his best when he can jam receivers near the line of scrimmage. While Douglas lacks elite speed, he is smart and anticipates plays well.

Douglas fits best on the perimeter and if Barry uses him correctly, he should have a better season in 2023 than he did a year ago.

Keisean Nixon

Keisean Nixon enters training camp as the favorite to start as the slot cornerback. Nixon has great speed. He took over that spot when Eric Stokes was injured last year and is likely to start the season there because Stokes is likely to start the season on the PUP list.

Nixon played 28 percent of the team’s defensive snaps last season and intercepted the first pass of his NFL career.

Opposing quarterbacks completed 69 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by Nixon according to

He has the speed to cover slot receivers all over the field but must prove he can consistently get the job done to secure the slot corner position long term.

Battling for backup spots and a place on the roster

Eric Stokes

Former first-round pick Eric Stokes is likely to start the season on the PUP list as he continues to recover from knee and foot injuries.

The former Georgia star had a strong rookie campaign and then struggled last season in Barry’s system which was not in line with his strengths as a cornerback.

Stokes will be at a crossroads in his career when he returns to action. He is better suited to playing the perimeter but so are Douglas and Alexander so where he will fit in will be a question.

The Packers are hoping Stokes regains his confidence and the form that made him so good as a rookie. He will need to improve at tracking the ball in the air to take his game to the next level.

Shemar Jean-Charles

Shemar Jean-Charles enters his third training camp with the Packers looking for a role on the team. He was making a big jump from Appalachian State to the NFL but was limited to six games last season and only played three snaps on defense and 72 on special teams.

Jean-Charles needs to stay healthy and show he can be a solid depth corner to make the roster this year. He will also need to contribute on special teams.

Corey Ballentine

Corey Ballentine is a journeyman special teams player who can give a team depth at corner. He played eight games for the Packers last season but only 17 plays on defense.

Ballentine will make this team if he carves out a role for himself on special teams which he did last season. The Packers are his fourth NFL team in four seasons.

Carrington Valentine

The Packers selected Carrington Valentine in the seventh round of this year’s draft. The Kentucky alum gives the Packers the athleticism they crave and had an RAS of 9.29 and ran a 4.44 40-yard dash.

Valentine has long arms and should do well in press coverage. He also played on special teams in college and will need to find a role there to make the roster this season.

The Packers liked what they saw out of Valentine at OTAs and minicamp. Now he needs a strong preseason to stick with the team.

Tyrell Ford

Canadian-born Tyrell Ford has already been in minicamps with the Jets and Steelers and played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL last season.

Ford saw action on special teams in Winnipeg and will need to do likewise if he hopes to stick with the Packers. He also returned punts in college and ran three of them back for scores.

Kiondre Thomas

Kiondre Thomas played four games for the Chargers in 2021 and spent last season on the Packers practice squad. He has yet to play a snap on defense and all the action he’s seen in the NFL has been on special teams.

That will be the key to him making the team or at least earning a spot on the practice squad.

William Hooper

The Packers signed William Hooper after he participated in rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. The Northwestern State alum was outstanding in coverage in college but it’s one thing to dominate receivers in the Southland Conference and another to do it in the NFL.

Hooper possesses good speed and was a sure tackler in college. He’ll have an uphill battle making the roster but has a chance to stick on the practice squad if he can show enough potential.

Three Key Questions

Packers cornerbacks Question Number 1: Can Keisean Nixon be effective in the slot?

Nixon has the tools to be a good slot corner but now he must prove he can do the job. There will be competition in training camp for the job.

Since the Packers already have a lot of questions at safety, finding a solid slot corner will be even more important for this defense.

Packers cornerbacks Question Number 2: Where does Eric Stokes play when he returns?

The Packers have three talented cornerbacks who are all best suited to play on the perimeter in Alexander, Stokes, and Douglas but only two spots in the lineup for them. When Stokes returns to the team, where does he play?

This is a “good” problem to have in some ways, but it’s one the coaching staff will have to figure out. Moving Alexander to the slot if the other team’s top defender goes there is one option or rotating the three to keep offenses guessing is another.

Either way, this is something the coaching staff will have to work out when Stokes returns.

Packers cornerbacks Question 3: Will Joe Barry play a defense that matches his players skill sets?

In the first half of the season, Barry played a soft zone defense that gave up too many key third-and-long conversions and didn’t play to his players’ strengths.

Late in the season, the defense got more aggressive and was more effective at shutting down opposing passing games and creating turnovers.

But will Barry start the 2023 season with something close to what worked late last year, or will he revert to his original, ineffective strategy?

The Packers cannot afford to squander the talent they have on defense with eight former first-round picks and a strong group of cornerbacks.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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