Clemson's Mackensie Alexander, one of the top cornerback prospects in the 2016 NFL draft class, was dealing with a hamstring injury but is healthy enough to resume working out for prospective teams.
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Alexander Participates at Pro Day
Thursday, March 10
Rand Getlin of NFL Network reported that Alexander ran in the "mid 4.4s" in the 40-yard dash at Clemson's pro day. Getlin added that the cornerback recorded a 37.5-inch vertical.
Alexander Vying for Top Cornerback Status
Alexander is likely battling Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III to become the first corner off the board in April. The Clemson star's decision to sit out combine drills shouldn't have a major impact on the race as long as he does go through drills at the Tigers' pro day.
Despite the competition for placement, the coveted defender isn't placing too much focus on what other players do leading up to the draft. He explained his outlook to Aaron Brenner of the Post and Courier: "Everybody's goal is to be a first-round draft pick, to be a top pick. My standards have always been high. I'm just going to focus on performing and everything else will take care of itself."
Alexander is a tad undersized for a modern corner (5'11'', 195 pounds), but he makes up for that with a strong understanding of the game and well-rounded athleticism. He's also one of the most intense competitors in the entire class.
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Making sure his hamstring is all the way back to full strength before going through a full range of athletic testing was the right move. A potentially long-term injury setback would do far more damage to his draft stock than not taking part at all.
Waiting until his pro day gave him a few extra weeks to rest and recover. A pro day also tends to provide a more controlled environment compared to the combine, which is an intense battle with a large group of other prospects.
If Alexander can put together a strong showing at his pro day, it will alleviate any questions about his health and should solidify him as a fringe top-10 selection.