2018 NFL Supplemental Draft Scouting Report: Adonis Alexander

  • Adonis Alexander, 6-2/199

  • Cornerback

  • Virginia Tech

  • Adonis Alexander Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Good ball skills
  • Soft hands
  • Good height
  • Long arms
  • Can battle big receivers
  • Above-average speed
  • Physical defender
  • Willing tackler
  • Athletic upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Stiff
  • Clumsy
  • Struggles in off-man coverage
  • Not a good fit for zone
  • Not twitchy or explosive
  • Not fast to drive on the ball or routes
  • Struggles against quick-twitch receivers
  • Struggles against movement, stutter, and option routes

  • Summary: LSU and Florida both claim to be “DB U,” but Virginia Tech also belongs in the conversation. The Hokies have produced a lot of good NFL defensive back prospects, and Alexander looks like he was going to keep that tradition going. After playing safety in high school, the Virginia Tech coaching staff moved Alexander to cornerback and initially that looked like a wise move.

    As freshman, Alexander was extremely impressive with 55 tackles, four interceptions and six passes broken up. Alexander wasn’t as dynamic in 2016, yet he recorded 44 tackles with seven passes broken up and two interceptions. As a junior, Alexander totaled 27 tackles with four passes broken up, one interception and one forced fumble. He considered entering the 2018 NFL Draft, and team sources told me last fall that they were giving him mid-round grades and thought the team that liked him enough to draft him could take him on the second day.

    Alexander didn’t enter the 2018 NFL Draft, however. Since then though, he made some mistakes and ended being ruled academically ineligible for the 2018 season. Alexander then decided to apply for the NFL Supplemental Draft.

    For the NFL, Alexander fits best as a press-man corner. He has good height to battle big receivers and some strength. Team sources provided me with his measurements, in inches, for arm length (32.13), hand (8.13), and wing span (74.75) to illustrate the length that Alexander possesses. He is physical and can tackle in the ground game. His background as a safety can be seen in his physicality and his limitations in pass coverage. His straight-line speed isn’t great, but it is above average for running downfield. According to teams, Alexander’s 40-time estimate from this spring was 4.55 seconds. He also has good hands and ball skills. Hence, Alexander is a great fit for the Seahawks-style system of press-man corners.

    As is common with a lot of big corners, Alexander has some limitations. He had issues in the 2017 season opener with defending quick slants when playing off-man coverage, and that exposed that Alexander is stiff and struggles with short area changes of direction. He isn’t twitchy or explosive enough to drive on the ball when playing that technique, and quick-twitch receivers will consistently generate early separation. Movement, stutter, option-choice routes, and short-area twitchy receivers are problems for him. Alexander is not sudden and is a bit clumsy. Thus, he is not a good fit for a team that plays a lot of off-man or zone coverage.

    Team sources have told me that if Alexander had been in the 2018 NFL Draft, they think he would have been a second- or third-round pick. In the supplemental draft, they think he could be a fourth- or fifth-rounder.

    Player Comparison: David Amerson. There are a lot of similarities between Amerson and Alexander. They are nearly identical in size, and Alexander has plus ball skills similar to Amerson (6-1, 205). They also can struggle with speedy, quick-twitch receivers, and giving up separation. Amerson was a second-round pick before becoming a journeyman. Alexander could have been a second-day pick if he had entered the 2018 NFL Draft.

    NFL Matches: Buffalo, Houston, New England, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Kansas City, Seattle and San Francisco

    There are a lot of teams that could be a fit for Alexander. Buffalo lost E.J. Gaines and traded away Ronald Darby. After their trades up for Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds, the Bills were without picks to address corner.

    The Texans have a need at corner as Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson are declining veterans. Kevin Johnson is also nearing the end of his rookie contract. Houston needs more young talent at corner.

    New England could consider taking Alexander. Malcolm Butler left in free agency, while Stephon Gilmore was disappointing in his first year in Foxborough. The Patriots drafted Duke Dawson, but he’s a better fit in the slot, and Alexander would give them an option for an outside corner.

    New England’s Super Bowl opponent also could consider Alexander. Philadelphia may not sign Ronald Darby to a long-term extension, and Alexander could be selected as a potential replacement for the Eagles.

    Kansas City badly needs some young outside cornerback talent. Kendall Fuller is good in the slot, but the Chiefs need a replacement for Marcus Peters.

    Cleveland could use more young talent to pair with Denzel Ward. Ditto for the Colts with Quincy Wilson and the Saints with Marshon Lattimore. Seattle and San Francisco have had some additions and subtractions at cornerback, so neither has a huge need at the position. In his favor though is that he is a great scheme fit for both teams, so either could have interest in using a late-round pick on him.


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