2016 NFL Draft Profile: CB Mackensie Alexander
In this 2016 NFL Draft profile, we analyze the strengths and weaknesses of cornerback Mackensie Alexander out of Clemson.
One of Clemson’s finest recruits, Alexander was ranked the fourth best prospect by ESPN coming out of high school. Alexander red-shirted his freshmen season due to a groin injury but was able to see the field in 2014. Alexander’s production during his first season was sub-par if that, recording 21 tackles and zero interceptions. In 2015, the young cornerback was projected as a possible first-round talent in which Alexander didn’t disappoint.
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He made a huge leap from 2014-2015 finishing the season with zero touchdowns allowed in man coverage and having a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference season. Alexander also had 571 snaps with five passes defended in 2015. Rarely challenged during his college career, Alexander will look to prove to NFL scouts, teams and potential opponents why he was once a top, must-have recruit during his arrival on the Clemson campus.
Sep 27, 2014; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers cornerback MacKensie Alexander (2) and cornerback Garry Peters (26) celebrate after breaking up a pass during the first quarter against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
During the 2016 NFL Combine, the young prospect ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, had a 37 1/2 inch vertical, a 10’1″ broad jump, finished the short shuttle in 4.21 seconds, recorded 11 reps on the bench press and finished the 3-cone drill in 7.18 seconds. Alexander currently stands at 5’10”, weighs in at 190 pounds, has a 31 3/8″ arm length and 9 1/8″ hands.
Great speed. Not a huge corner but has quick feet and speed. Physical corner, not afraid to make contact with opposing wide receivers. Solid in press-man coverage. His athleticism has made opposing quarterbacks avoid challenging him in coverage. Sticks with receivers. Didn’t allow a touchdown in man-to-man coverage in 2015. Fierce competitor that plays as if he is much bigger than 5’10”. Allowed a 29.6 completion percentage last year. Rarely challenged in college, will look to put his talent to the test in the pros against some of the league’s top receivers.
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Doesn’t have the exact, desired height NFL scouts and general managers look for in a potential No. 1 corner.
Alexander failed to record a single interception in his career thus far.
May have trouble defending larger receivers in the NFL due to his size. During his time with Clemson, he recorded zero interceptions with just 10 passes defended. Production did not live up to the expectations of scouts and NFL general managers. Needs to improve overall footwork. May require a few years of experience in the pros before making the leap to being a franchise No.1 corner.
DRAFT DAY PREDICTIONS
Alexander may not have the desired size NFL scouts and general managers look for in a corner, but what he does possess is quick movement and the ability to stick with opposing receivers in coverage. NFL teams may be concerned with his production while at Clemson where the young he failed to record a single interception.
Opposing offenses avoided challenging Alexander because of his speed and ability to stick to receivers like glue. It’s tough to pinpoint exactly where he could be drafted as he’s shown the ability to be a future shutdown corner in the NFL but may require a few seasons of adapting to the atmosphere before becoming a true No. 1 option.
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Anywhere late in the first round seems realistic for Alexander. The Clemson product won’t be the first cornerback taken off the board but shouldn’t have a problem finding a home in the NFL during the later picks of the first round in this year’s draft.