Green Bay Packers 2022 NFL Draft Prospects to Know: S Jalen Pitre

WACO, TX -NOVEMBER 27: Nove Jalen Pitre #8 of the Baylor Bears reacts against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half at McLane Stadium on mber 27, 2021 in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 27-24. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
WACO, TX -NOVEMBER 27: Nove Jalen Pitre #8 of the Baylor Bears reacts against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half at McLane Stadium on mber 27, 2021 in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 27-24. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /
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The safety position may not be one that jumps off the page as an immediate need for the Green Bay Packers to address, but it should be fairly high up on Brian Gutekunst’s to-do list heading into the draft.

For starters, the Packers need a third option next to Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos. Last year that role was filled by Henry Black, who took some lumps and is now no longer on the team. While Green Bay now doesn’t utilize a third safety as often as Mike Pettine did, it’s still a rather large role to fill as Black played nearly 300 snaps last season, according to PFF ($$). After Savage and Amos, the other three safeties on the roster — Vernon Scott, Innis Gaines, and Shawn Davis — have just 90 combined NFL snaps.

On top of that, as we all know, the draft is about planning ahead. And as we look ahead to 2023, Scott is the only safety under contract at the moment. So like I said, safety should be on Gutey’s radar.

Enter Baylor’s Jalen Pitre, who could be the Green Bay Packers’ third safety option this season, and also give them some help from the slot.

At the NFL combine, Pitre measured in at 5’11” – 198 pounds, so a bit on the smaller side for a safety, and posted an 8.06 RAS, including a 4.46-second 40-yard dash and a 6.74-second 3-cone.

Pitre has nearly 2,000 career snaps over his five-year playing career, with just over 1,300 of them coming in the last two seasons. As I just mentioned, Pitre is listed as a safety, but he spent a large portion of his playing time in the slot with 1,153 career snaps there. He took another 400 snaps in the box, 354 at the line of scrimmage, and just 13 as a free safety.

The Green Bay Packers have arguably the best cornerback trio in football, but as I wrote recently, there is plenty of value in adding another slot cornerback option to this team. That role may belong to Jaire Alexander in many instances, but that is not the only place he will line up. In fact, there could be weeks where he spends more time on the boundary–I imagine it will depend on who the opponent is.

Related Story. Adding Slot CB should still be on Green Bay Packers Radar. light

Gutekunst mentioned last week that he is comfortable with players other than Alexander handling slot duties, but Shemar Jean-Charles as a 2021 Day 3 pick has minimal NFL experience, so relying heavily on him comes with some risks–not to mention that the newest Packer Keisean Nixon has a relatively small sample size from the slot as well. Meanwhile, Eric Stokes and Rasul Douglas have both spent most of their time on the boundary.

Having a slot corner, in addition to Alexander, that this Green Bay Packers defense could lean on would give Barry an immense amount of flexibility with how he mixes and matches his secondary each week. This is why selecting a player like Pitre could be so valuable.

Over the last two years, Pitre has logged 33 pressures, including 21 this past season, which was the most among cornerbacks, along with six sacks, and 75 stops–42 of which came in 2021, again the most among all cornerbacks. You’ll also see Pitre very active against the run as well–an important element for any slot cornerback.

In coverage, he was targeted 74 times during that span and allowed a completion rate of 64% but just 8.5 yards per catch. Pitre also logged six pass breakups and a pair of interceptions.

For more on Pitre and what he can offer, here is a look at what Lance Zierlien of NFL.com had to say:

"“Pitre is a coach’s dream with exceptional competitive drive and desired intangibles for teams where locker room culture matters. He became an impact player in Baylor coach Dave Aranda’s “Star” position but he might not have the physical tools to stay in a similar role as a pro. He’s a little tight in his lowers, which could impact his success in man coverage. He might benefit from a scheme that allows him to play with more linear pursuit. Pitre played well at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and tested well at the NFL Scouting Combine and his pro day. He could develop into a future NFL starter as a Day 2 selection.”"

Over at the Mock Draft Database, which complies big boards and mock drafts from numerous draft analysts, Pitre is listed as the 51st overall prospect in this year’s class and is projected as a second-round selection.

Adding Pitre to this Green Bay Packers team would help check two boxes–one is needed safety depth, and two, is he would provide Barry with another option from the slot.