The Green Bay Packers have one of the NFL’s best defenses on paper in part to smart drafting and key additions through free agency, the waiver wire, etc.
One of the key additions during the 2021 season was Rasul Douglas. The Packers snatched him off the Arizona Cardinals practice squad after Jaire Alexander was lost for the season in Week 4.
It didn’t take long for Douglas to make an impact. Two weeks later, against the Cardinals of all teams, Douglas picked off Kyler Murray in the end zone to preserve the Packers’ 24-21 win.
The loss represented Arizona’s first of the year and sent Douglas on a career-best trajectory for the rest of the year.
As a result, NFL.com‘s Nick Shook believes Douglas will earn his first Pro Bowl nod in 2022:
“The logic here is that offenses will be avoiding newly extended cornerback Jaire Alexander, meaning Douglas is going to see enough attention to get some chances to make plays. And in 2021, after signing with the Packers in early October, Douglas made plenty of them, including a career-best five interceptions, two of which he returned for scores. Stretch his production over an entire season, and I expect Douglas to receive the attention necessary to garner consideration for the Pro Bowl — especially if the Packers continue to make life tough for opponents.”
It’s surprising Douglas didn’t make the Pro Bowl last year
Douglas was one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks last year. His five interceptions tied for fourth-most in the NFL and his two pick-sixes tied All-Pro Trevon Diggs and safety Mike Edwards for No. 1 among all defensive backs.
Per Pro Football Focus, Douglas graded out as the eighth-best cornerback among corners with at least 469 coverage snaps. Quarterbacks completed passes at a meager 51.5% rate against Douglas, which tied for sixth-lowest. Douglas also allowed the third-lowest amount of receiving yards (360) and yards after catch (114) among all 64 qualifying players.
And to cap it all off, quarterbacks averaged the leagues’ worst quarterback rating (46.3) when throwing Douglas’ way.
Trevon Diggs, Jalen Ramsey, Darius Slay, and Marshon Lattimore were the original players selected to the 2022 Pro Bowl before alternates got involved. All four of those corners are very good, but one can argue that Douglas was better than Lattimore. It won’t be an easy argument, but one can certainly be made in favor of Douglas.
But where things get really weird is when Stephon Gilmore replaced Jalen Ramsey. Gilmore is one of the NFL’s best corners over the last decade and he had a solid 2021, but there’s no way he should’ve been an alternate over Douglas. It’s clear Gilmore got in based off namesake, alone.
Regardless, the Packers cornerback is in line for another great season on what should be a championship-contending team, at the end of the day. He has a lot going in his favor, which should translate into a big year.
And hopefully, some much-deserved recognition, too.
You can check out Shook’s full column, here.
Featured image via Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin