The Washington Redskins have selected CB Adonis Alexander in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft.
Alexander is known to current Redskins secondary coach Torrian Gray, whose tenure at Virginia Tech overlapped with Alexander’s.
Alexander was in the supplemental draft because he was academically ineligible to return to school. A past history of drug abuse probably scared off some teams, but a report earlier this week indicated Alexander is now clean of narcotics.
Alexander is an intriguing mix of size and athleticism, at 6’3″ and over 200 pounds. In 32 games at Virginia Tech Alexander picked off seven passes, tallied 125 tackles and 17 pass deflections.
Let me quote from USA Today’s draft profile of Alexander:
Over the past few years, there has been a bevy of big-bodied wide receivers who have entered the NFL. As this trend continues to thrive, teams tend to fall in love with tall defensive backs who can match the likes of Mike Evans, Julio Jones and Alshon Jeffery from a measurement standpoint. If you take one look at Adonis Alexander, you’ll see that he perfectly fits that mold.
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.
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.
Alexander now joins a backfield featuring cornerbacks like Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Greg Stroman, Joshua Holsey, and several more training camp fodder types.
The Skins forfeit their 6th round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by making this selection.