On July 11th, the NFL will hold the 2018 Supplemental Draft. One of the players who will enter the draft is cornerback Adonis Alexander, formerly of Virginia Tech. At 6’2” and 195 lbs., Alexander would be one of the more imposing defensive backs in the NFL. He is widely considered to be a legitimate NFL prospect with the skills necessary to play in press man and zone coverage.
Draftwire’s Jacob Infante completed a scouting report on Alexander and listed the following strengths:
“Alexander is a long and lanky cornerback who has the height, the arm length and the physicality to be a very good boundary corner in the NFL. He is good at jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage, and his long arms allow him to break up passes that most cornerbacks can’t reach. He’s more than just a big body, though: he has fluid hips and great body control, as well. Alexander is capable of making the adjustments necessary to position his body to break up passes. He can also high point the ball like a wide receiver and make the play.
Another intriguing aspect of Alexander’s game is his versatility. Virginia Tech used him in both press-man and off-man coverage, and he proved to be capable of playing in both. However, given his physical nature and length, it would likely be better for the NFL team that picks him to play more in press-man. Alexander is also a more-than-capable run defender, as he is a form tackler with good instincts who typically takes good angles to the ball. This, along with his length, has some analysts projecting him as a safety at the next level. Alexander played the position in high school and actually started off his collegiate career as a safety, so a potential position change would likely happen seamlessly.”
NFL wide receivers and tight ends continue to punish defenses due to size advantages. One way to stop them is to find defensive backs who can cut into that advantage. The fact that Alexander has experience at numerous positions in the secondary could make him a more intriguing prospect as teams covet versatility in a game where injuries are inevitable.
Representatives from numerous NFL teams showed up earlier today to watch Alexander compete in his Pro Day. Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com reports that he put up the following numbers:
“He timed 4.61 in the 40, 7.18 in the three-cone and 4.37 in the short shuttle. His vertical touched 35.5 inches while his broad reached 10-foot-4.”
None of these numbers is particularly flattering compared to performances from other prospects during the NFL Combine. The hope for teams who draft him will be that he plays the game much faster when the lights are on.
Infante listed the following weaknesses for Alexander:
“A lot of Alexander’s concerns stem from off-the-field issues. He was caught using marijuana in 2016, which caused him to miss the first game of the season. He also violated Virginia Tech’s team rules in 2017, which resulted in his being suspended for the first two games of that year. There’s also the reason that he is in the supplemental draft: he was ruled academically ineligible to play for the Hokies in 2018. While there could potentially be outside factors that play into his lack of success in the classroom that are currently unknown, the situation certainly is not ideal.
Alexander is also far from a perfect prospect on the field. His motor is inconsistent: he can make a play on one down and be a total non-factor the next. His 2016 tape is also much more impressive than his 2017 tape, as he looked less athletic in the latter season. While he flashed the ability to change directions well two years ago, the ability wasn’t quite apparent last season. Add that to the fact that his recovery speed is not that great, and one would be in their right mind to have concerns regarding Alexander’s athleticism. Whichever team selects him will likely have to bank on his 2016 self showing up, as opposed to his 2017 self.”
While football players don’t necessarily have to be rocket scientists in school, it is the mix of negative attributes that is concerning. Inconsistent hustle and motor, clear struggles to maintain his athleticism year-over-year, drug issues off the field that impacted him more than once, and his athletic limitations certainly would warrant caution for any NFL GM. It is why he is not likely to command a pick in the first two days of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Still, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reported that, “Alexander, 21, received what one scout described as a “big grade” from one of the scouting services NFL teams use and could’ve come out in the 2018 NFL Draft in April.” There are teams who may be interested in taking a chance on a 21 year old prospect with rare physical traits. Tony Pauline reported today that the Indianapolis Colts may be on that list.
It will certainly not be surprising if more teams take a closer look at Alexander during the slowest time of the NFL off-season. It is entirely possible that Chris Ballard met with Alexander only to do his due diligence. It is also possible he liked what he saw and what he heard and that he could use one of his 2019 draft picks to bring him to Indianapolis.
Maybe locker room leaders can help keep him disciplined and out of trouble. Maybe Rusty Jones can unlock his athletic potential and become more consistent on the field with a professional strength and conditioning program. Maybe not.
What do you think the Colts should do?
Should the Colts use a 2019 draft pick to select Adonis Alexander in the supplemental draft? If so, which round?
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