Next up in the Unpacking a Future Packers countdown is Shemar Jean-Charles. The App State cornerback checks in at number 72 in the countdown.
Since the college football season ended Shemar Jean-Charles has been raking in the accommodations. The Appalachian State cornerback has earned several All-American honors.
Jean-Charles was named First-Team All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation. The senior cornerback earned Second-Team All-American honors from Sporting News and Pro Football Focus and Third-Team All-American honors by Phil Steele.
On top of all the All-American honors he received, the Mountaineers cornerback was also named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year by PFF.
“The Mountaineer allowed 16.5 yards per game this season and was rarely beat in single coverage. Jean-Charles actually saw 33 targets in single coverage this year, allowing just four catches for 49 yards while forcing 18 incompletions.”
This past season Jean-Charles led the FBS with 17 pass deflections. He picked off one pass and recorded 37 tackles and one tackle for loss.
“Entering this season it was Shaun Jolly who was getting most of the attention,” Ethan Joyce, the sports reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal said. “Sherm was just a very steady cornerback option on the other side in 2019. Then in 2020 he was incredibly disruptive.”
Jean-Charles was lockdown in 2020. With his long arms and tenacity, he made life extremely difficult for wide receivers at the catch point. According to PFF, Jean-Charles only allowed 16 receptions all season.
“In 11 games, Jean-Charles was targeted 50 times yet allowed 16 of those to be caught for a 32% catch rate. More impressively, Jean-Charles broke up just as many passes as catches allowed this season.”
Jean-Charles is the definition of a lockdown cornerback. With his loose hips and excellent footwork, he’s able to stick in the wide receiver’s hip pocket. He never panics when the ball is in the air.
“I think he’s so smooth,” Joyce said. “He doesn’t get lost. He never gets tricked by anything. That’s what makes him so good. He’s confident and reacts to the right things. He doesn’t get fooled. He’s just very level-headed. He’s cerebral and methodical.”
In terms of ball production, Jean-Charles has natural hands. He was only targeted 50 times this past year and was able to get his hands on 17 of them while coming down with one interception. Over the last two seasons, he broke up 27 passes and recorded two interceptions.
His ability at the catch point is what makes Jean-Charles special. He broke up more passes (17) than he allowed catches (16).
“He plays the catch point as well as anyone in the game and has pinpoint timing and location. That elite trait helped Jean-Charles record a higher forced incompletion rate (34.6%) than catch rate allowed (32.7%) this season.”
In run support, Jean-Charles isn’t afraid to stick his nose in. He’s extremely physical and finished the past two seasons with 78 tackles.
Fit with the Packers
The Green Bay Packers will be in the market for a cornerback or two, or maybe even three when the 2021 NFL Draft rolls around. With Kevin King most certainly out the door, the Packers will need to find a running mate for Jaire Alexander.
Jean-Charles fits the bill. He could play on the boundary or he could become the nickel cornerback for the Packers.
The App State cornerback has the ability to take half the field away. Imagine the Packers have two lockdown corners on the boundary.
If he were to become Green Bay’s nickel corner, it would be an upgrade over Chandon Sullivan, who was exposed in the NFC Championship Game. Tom Brady targeted Sullivan twice on third downs on the opening drive and both times the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to move the chains.
With his high football IQ and his ability to make plays on the ball, Jean-Charles could be a starter from day one for the Packers.
“He’s so smart,” Joyce said. “He’s really level headed. That pours into everything he does. He’s one of those combinations where he’s explosive and tame. He doesn’t get too overwhelmed in a situation. He’s a strong guy, but he’s slender and very long. Sherm always stands out when he’s on the field.”
The Packers will likely select a cornerback in the first three rounds and will likely look to add another on day three. I expect Jean-Charles to go late in round four or early in round five.
The Packers could snag him up and play him in the slot or out on the boundary opposite Alexander. My guess is Jean-Charles will be best suited to play inside at the next level.
Jean-Charles, like Alexander is not lacking in confidence. If a cornerback is going to be successful in the NFL they have to have a short memory and not dwell on the last play. Jean-Charles fits the bill.
He’s a confident cornerback that never panics when the ball is in the air. He plays with a certain swagger, that mirrors Alexander. If he were to land in Green Bay, the Packers would have an exciting cornerback duo to watch for years to come.