Typically I’m not big on a red-shirt sophomore entering the NFL Draft, nor do I bother even scouting them. Mackensie Alexander is the exception. The 5 star recruit from the 2013 recruiting class was sought after by elite schools such as Alabama, Notre Dame and Ohio State, but elected to attend Clemson where he played a pivotal role in their undefeated season and National Championship run this past season. Many project the highly touted corner to go in the first round.
Name: Mackensie Alexander
Class: Sophomore (RS)
Projection: Late 1st Round
Comparison: Josh Norman
- Ball skills
- Press coverage
- Needs to improve run defense
- Raw talent
What a joy to watch Mackensie Alexander was on film. His athleticism is the first thing that jumps out at you, headlined by his elite speed. Alexander is tremendous in man coverage with his magnet-esque footwork and hip fluidity along with his 4.3 speed. The man can straight out cover. His footwork is among the best among corners in this year’s draft class and he doesn’t miss a beat when backpedaling.
It doesn’t just end with the physical attributes for Alexander, he has a great mental makeup as well. Alexander displays instincts well beyond his years – whether it’s blowing up a screen or jumping a route. He has great anticipation.
Alexander brings good physicality to the table for a corner his size. He shows great potential in press coverage, although he tends to provide too much cushion at times which goes into his consistency concerns. He does, however, do a good job of keeping receivers outside. Usually he looks like a bonafide first round pick, but at times he tends to get rattled – that should be an easy fix as he gains more experience. I like what I see from Alexander as a potential run defense, but he could still use improvement in that facet of his game.
On film, Alexander is dynamite – there’s not much to dislike in his game. With only two years of experience at the college level, some are labeling him a raw prospect. Regardless, he is a tremendous athlete who can flat out cover, his game is very reminiscent of Josh Norman’s. Like Norman, Alexander can play both inside and outside, although he’ll like be slotted on the outside in the NFL.
It looks like Alexander will slide to the end of the first round and provide a team with a great luxury pick. Like most young corners, it may take a year or two for him to adjust to the NFL game, but he’ll find his stride in due time. He’ll develop into an explosive game changer.