In a Loaded CB Room, SJC could be in-store for a Larger Role

In a loaded Packers cornerback room, Shemar Jean-Charles could be in-store for a larger role this season, giving Joe Barry tremendous flexibility in the secondary. 

With Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, and Eric Stokes, the Green Bay Packers seem pretty well set at the cornerback position. I mean, they have arguably the best trio in all of football.

However, just a season ago, we all saw how important depth at this position can be, and while, of course, Alexander, Douglas, and Stokes will dominate the playing time, there still could be some snaps up for grabs--specifically in the slot. 

If the season started tomorrow, Alexander would likely be Green Bay's go-to star cornerback, and likely the favorite to finish the year with the most snaps inside, but he isn't going to spend all of his time there either. How many snaps Alexander takes in the slot could vary week to week based on the opponent. As we've seen, Alexander has the ability to neutralize some of the game's top receivers, and in order to maximize what he can offer this defense, wherever the opponent's top receiver goes, Alexander shouldn't be far behind.

“With Ja, he’s going to go where some of the receivers are going to go and he’s going to follow those guys in different packages. He can do everything,” Gutekunst said at the NFL owners meeting via Packers Wire. “That’s a nice luxury for us to have.” 

So when Alexander does end up on the boundary, which depending on the week, could happen often, who is going to play in the slot?

Green Bay could turn to the draft with one of their many draft picks to try and fill that role. Cornerback Trent McDuffie along with safeties Daxton Hill and Jalen Pitre, are a few names who could fill that star role right away.

Gutekunst would also mention that he likes the versatility of the corner group and believes that any one of the players on the roster could play in the slot. Perhaps that's true, but Stokes only took five slot snaps during his rookie season, while Douglas has just 80 total snaps from the slot during his five-year NFL career.

Another candidate for those snaps, and perhaps the best option, is second-year cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles, who the Packers selected in the fifth round of the 2021 draft. Now, is he ready for a larger role? Truthfully, I'm not sure--he was only on the field for 38 defensive snaps last season while allowing seven completions on seven targets at 11.7 yards per catch per PFF.

However, what we do know is that Jean-Charles put up some impressive numbers during his time at Appalachian State, especially during his final season. While expected to play from the slot in the NFL, Jean-Charles spent most of his time in college on the boundary. During that final season, he would allow just 16 completions on 50 targets along with 10.8 yards per catch, and Jean-Charles' 16 pass breakups were the most in all of college football. 

”When we evaluated Shemar coming out of Appalachian State, I thought he did a great job in the slot,” said DB Coach Jerry Gray via Packers.com last summer. “He’s really, really knowledgeable about the game and wasn’t afraid to make tackles.

”When you’re a slot corner, most guys think that ‘I am just a cover guy,’ but when you watch Shemar coming out of college, the guy is tough, he makes plays, he does a really good job there. So hopefully, we got a big number of guys outside, so we want to see can he compete against guys inside and you like what he’s doing.

“Game time is going to be different, but can he do what he did at App State? I think that’s going to help us a lot.”

Like any other young player on this Green Bay Packers team, he is going to have to earn his playing time over the summer. But if Jean-Charles -- or anyone, for that matter -- can provide the Packers with a steady slot presence in addition to Alexander, it is going to provide Joe Barry with quite a bit of flexibility each week as he mixes and matches his secondary combinations. 

With Jean-Charles from the slot, Alexander could move around as needed, while perhaps Douglas takes some snaps in that third safety role as a way to keep Green Bay's top three cornerbacks on the field together. This is just one example, but you get the idea--Barry could have nearly endless possibilities with how he constructs this secondary, which of course, would change weekly.

After a dominant performance against San Francisco in what ended up being a heartbreaking loss, the Green Bay Packers are returning a majority of the key contributors from that 2021 defense--not to mention that this unit could be primed for a Year 2 leap in Barry's second year. In short, this group could be quite good this season. However, that doesn't mean improvements can't be made either, and finding a reliable slot option in addition to Alexander could help this already stout secondary level up. 

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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6 points

Comments (44)

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Coldworld's picture

April 04, 2022 at 11:31 am

He could make a jump, but he certainly needs to before he’s considered for regular snaps based on what I have seen. I’d be nervous about relying on him to be ready for that role this year without ensuring competition.

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Minniman's picture

April 04, 2022 at 07:18 pm

Agree, he steps onto the field with what he showed last year and every opposing veteran QB's eyes will light up. He'll need Safety help over the top until he proves himself, or he's just going to get picked on.

Interesting that Jerry Gray is quoted re the evaluation process. So often people speak of the draft that the decisions are all Gute's (and his scouts) - professionally I've almost never seen someone be hired that the direct manager hasn't had even an indirect hand in the process - sure, there's the odd case of nepotism, but they are the exception, not the rule.

100% Joe Barry and Jerry Gray have a heavy hand in who gets targeted - Gute primarily manages the board as it falls on draft day.

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Rarescope's picture

April 04, 2022 at 12:12 pm

Is it just me or is leaving out the number of targets he had last year kind of make the analysis on the number of completions and yards per attempt against him kind of meaningless? 38 snaps, 7 completions, so... was he targeted 7 times, or 37?

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mnbadger's picture

April 04, 2022 at 12:21 pm

that was my thought too. Not sure if targets was left out by mistake or to hide a glaring issue. Either way, I don't remember him really making any plays on the ball or as a tackler. Looking for big 2nd year jump from him, on ST if nothing else. GPG.

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Rarescope's picture

April 04, 2022 at 12:44 pm

38 snaps is like 2ish per game in the modern NFL so I'm not surprised that we didn't notice him doing anything. Fingers crossed that one of our more analytical members with some time on their hands can fill in that missing stat for us :)

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Minniman's picture

April 04, 2022 at 07:19 pm

Unfortunately I can no longer find the tweet, but a couple of days ago someone tweeted a statistic that, despite his small sample size, he did allow about a 30% completion rate.

Admittedly, remember that he and Isaac Yiadom got called up for early service between week 4 and 6 when both JA and King went down with injuries - which prompted Gute to go and get Douglas from the Cardinals practice squad to add some veteran help.

So putting context to the stats - he got picked on when he was called up for duty early in his career (and he was teamed up with fellow rookies Stokes and Yiadom). He hardly saw the field once Douglas proved himself and King returned.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 04, 2022 at 04:20 pm

That's a good point. So I looked it up over at profootballreference.com . He was targeted 6 times, and every time he was targeted, it was a completion. So that's at variance with the article's info. . Most of his action was in the last two games of the year, where Minnesota and Detroit each completed two passes on him for a total of 51 yards. No TDs. Pretty small sample size.

Obviously, the weakling in the secondary is going to draw the most attention from the QB, so he has to be able to play. If we don't have a bad injury run this year, we should have a real good secondary. The article quotes Gray as saying that he's a slot corner in his eyes, and that means tackling. It would really help the defense if he could come in and be a player for us .

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Rebecca's picture

April 04, 2022 at 06:07 pm

I looked at his game stats at P-FR. He was targeted 6 times. 4 targets came in the final 2 games against Vikes and Lions. He gave up a 4 yard pass against the Steelers, a 15 yd pass at Wash FT, 2 for 8 yds in garbage time against th Vikings and 2 for 43 yds at Lions. Most of his snaps were against Washington (15). He needs a lot of work, but I think he might have the physical skills and vision, just needs experience and drive.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 04, 2022 at 12:26 pm

We dress five CBs for games and have a 6th inactive, so that'd put him in line for a 53 man spot for sure. Alexander, Stokes, and Douglas are guys you want on the field. But I don't think anybody has the inside track on the remaining spots.

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Lphill's picture

April 04, 2022 at 12:27 pm

He had 8 tackles all season including special teams I think he has a long way to go .

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 04, 2022 at 12:57 pm

I don't know about JC playing slot. He needs to really step up his sophomore season.

But he had to be a better CB than Yiadom was last year and should have taken all his snaps.

Douglas is the logical choice for slot duty along with Alexander. I know Barry had thoughts of putting Savage there but that never materialized.

Douglas showed last year he is both a strong cover and tackling CB. JC has not really showed much yet.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 04, 2022 at 02:31 pm

I would sign the Honey Badger and he will control the Star position. Stockholder wants to move Savage, I agree.

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TacoTuesday's picture

April 04, 2022 at 01:02 pm

Trade#28 for a First Rounder in 2023 and whatever else the highest bidder will give us (Tacos?).
We need insurance for the future.

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murf7777's picture

April 04, 2022 at 01:34 pm

Why trade into next year? Even if you get value, it isn't worth it. We have around a two-year window with Rodgers and many times high drafted rookies take their big jump in year two. We need all the ammo now.

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murf7777's picture

April 04, 2022 at 01:31 pm

I sure hope we don't have to rely on Jean-Charles taking a hugh jump to make any real contributions in the backfield. If it happened, we would be extremely fortunate.

I fully expect Gutey to address this position in the draft, UDFA and late value FA. Other than the starting 5, that position is far from complete. I suspect he will draft a safety/slot DB in the first three rounds. There will be a lot of competition for playing time beyond the obvious 5. Jean-Charles may not even make the team when the season rolls around.

The draft is going to be a lot more fun this year with 4, maybe more maybe less, picks in the top 60!!!

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 04, 2022 at 02:37 pm

He would be competing with a guy for the Dime spot. Maybe They bring King in again at veteran's minimum.

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relleum61's picture

April 04, 2022 at 05:46 pm

No, just no more King...I appreciate what he did when he was healthy, but he is just an injury waiting to happen. Time to move on. Once upon a time I thought King + Biegel would be better than JJ Watt. I was so wrong!

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 04, 2022 at 06:41 pm

Just checking to see if anybody was Awake...

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greengold's picture

April 04, 2022 at 07:01 pm

Nice.

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greengold's picture

April 04, 2022 at 02:06 pm

I LOVE “Sherm!”

Very small sample. Allowed 6 catches on 6 targets, but they were all in front of him at an average of 2.3 yds depth of target. I think he had a busted play in garbage time result in a 56 yd. gain that skewed his YPR allowed #s. That will happen to a rookie. Most of his 37 total snaps (63%) were on STs, where he ranked 3rd overall on the Packers for PR/KR tackles with 8…

14 Games played 5 Solo, 3 Assists with 0 Missed tackles credited to him. Only played 4% of the defensive snaps.

To me, Shemar Jean-Charles is that perfect example of a player who plays way faster than his 40 time. A true Miami guy. He’s good, knows & loves his craft, and I fully expect him to be a bigger part of this 2022 defense at some point. He’s got insane instincts & abilities.

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albert999's picture

April 04, 2022 at 01:50 pm

We need to pull this trigger
file:///var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/bd/13/9345056C-1371-4E36-9E6E-6A7AD44E8568/IMG_9073.jpeg

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Packers0808's picture

April 04, 2022 at 02:43 pm

Coaches coach and know what and who they see. They make the decisions and all of the speculation on these posts are nothing more than word salads. I for one trust the word of the coaches until the player shows otherwise!

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MainePackFan's picture

April 04, 2022 at 03:13 pm

It's for entertainment purposes only. It beats talking about the other things we have no control of. IE: trade/don't trade ARod. Thankfully we have stopped beating that dead horse.

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Packers0808's picture

April 04, 2022 at 03:19 pm

Yup and yup! just some take themselves too seriously.

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1962Packer's picture

April 04, 2022 at 03:38 pm

Read an article that said that, "Keisean Nixon is statistically putrid as an outside CB; but he scores in the 70s and 80s as a slot CB. By the way, he had poor stats as a ST player. Maybe GB is looking at him as a slot; not specifically as a ST player?

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Leatherhead's picture

April 04, 2022 at 04:27 pm

You only get to dress out 45 guys, and three of them are punter-kicker-snapper. So now you are down to 42. Any guy you dress out has to be able to play a position. If you don't play your starters on special teams, or your key backups (like Love and Dillon), then you're down to a very small pool of players remaining, and whose primary job is being ready to backup the starter if they get hurt.

This is why you can dream about fire-snorting coaches and special teams demons, etc.,but the reality is, a lot of mistakes.....costly mistakes....happen on special teams and you could eliminate them with a few basic coaching decisions.

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Packers0808's picture

April 04, 2022 at 05:48 pm

What would those coaching few basic changes be made?

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Leatherhead's picture

April 04, 2022 at 08:18 pm

1. Never return punts.
2. Always punt out of bounds.
3. Never return kicks you don’t have to.

Those three would be a good start.

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PatrickGB's picture

April 04, 2022 at 08:56 pm

Maybe this year will be different?

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Packers0808's picture

April 04, 2022 at 09:12 pm

Except for number 2 might as well just give up game before you start.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 05, 2022 at 08:31 am

Packer 0808....you apparently have realized yet that you lose more games on special teams than you win. Punts and kicks rarely are returned for significant yardage, and they do have turnovers, penalties, and injuries on those plays.

De emphasize special teams.

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Packers0808's picture

April 05, 2022 at 10:10 pm

Nope, one of few possible exciting parts of the game.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 04, 2022 at 09:33 pm

4. Always block for your kicker/punter.
5. Know how many men are on the field prior to the snap.
6. Always believe you can take it to the house.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 05, 2022 at 04:12 am

48 (if one is the 8th OL) are active.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 05, 2022 at 08:36 am

Thanks. It was 45 for so long, then it was 46, now it's 48 if one is the 8th OL....I can't keep up.

The point is, the guys you dress on gameday have to be able to play a position because starters get hurt sometimes. You can't just have special teams demons who can't play a position.

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PatrickGB's picture

April 04, 2022 at 09:00 pm

I did not understand that move for Keisean. Then again, what do I know? Maybe Nixon IS the one? 😉

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ImaPayne's picture

April 04, 2022 at 11:01 pm

Word is the Vikes might move up to the 8th spot to get the best corner in the draft, a 62 195 pd guy who has all the tools.
What pisses me off is they have always done this to get that one guy who can play lights out and be a mainstay for many years aka Shepard Smith.
The pack sit back and wait to take a guy who was oft injured in college, and passed over by 26 teams and was oft injured in the pros as well, aka King.
I'm of the mindset you draft quality and pay attention to injury history and intellegance and you usually cant go wrong.
Stokes is too stupid to play corner in case anybody didnt notice.

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Savage57's picture

April 05, 2022 at 05:39 am

*aka Harrison Smith

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LLCHESTY's picture

April 05, 2022 at 07:23 am

***Always do your homework before trolling!!!***

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Bitternotsour's picture

April 05, 2022 at 09:28 am

This is so true. It's the Viking way we need to follow. We need to have a trophy case filled with um, nothing?

Also, word is, you might need to do some homework.

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HarlanHuckleby's picture

April 05, 2022 at 10:37 am

It’s possible both Stokes and SJC have growing pains / consistency problems as their potential keeps pointing up. It’s also possible Rasul is the most consistent option this year, even if he happens to fall back to earth a bit. Nice to have the talent already on the roster for a number of what if scenarios to play out.

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 05, 2022 at 12:06 pm

And draft DB depth on day 3, sign UDFA and steal one off another teams' PS.

I would like a S taken in the first 5. 5 of the 12 top DBs are Safeties who have good size, great speed and some are great as ST returners and/or gunners.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 05, 2022 at 02:17 pm

JC was playing outside corner at college. They are trying to make him slot corner. JC talked about at TC last year and how he need to learn a lot different important small things to be able to swap positions.

I say give him some time and Packers might have at leasr decent slot corner or "star" position.

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AnnieChambers's picture

April 06, 2022 at 05:31 pm

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