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A redshirt sophomore entry into the 2016 NFL draft, Mackensie Alexander is one of the most confident players you’ll ever encounter. That’s a good thing for a man-coverage cornerback, as he not only talks the talk, but he walks the walk.
In two seasons at Clemson, Alexander allowed just two touchdowns and had a streak of 24 straight games without a score allowed. You have to go all the way back to Week 5 of his redshirt freshman season to see Alexander giving up points—to North Carolina’s Mack Hollins.
If you view a cornerback’s job as creating interceptions, you won’t like Alexander’s game. But if you view cornerbacks as tasked with preventing catches and touchdowns, he may be your favorite player in the class.
Looking at his play, Alexander impresses with quick feet and excellent field vision. He knows where the ball is (when it’s thrown his way) and breaks back toward it with smooth movements. He has quick reaction time and generally wows with his ability to stay close to the receiver and contest the pass.
A strong player at the line of scrimmage, he crowds receivers and will be physical in coverage. Right now he plays the man and tries to blanket him all over the field but will likely be asked to “play the ball” in some NFL schemes.
A lack of ball skills—or the perception that he lacks ball skills—has been crushing Alexander’s stock. He didn’t record an interception in two years of play at Clemson, and that’s throwing off scouts who may otherwise like his technique and cover skills.
Alexander has reportedly come off poorly in interviews, which could be legit or it could all be an elaborate smokescreen from NFL teams. He’s a trash-talker and loves to jabber but has no off-field concerns that have been reported in his past.
Alexander lives on quickness and is only asked to follow the body in the Clemson defense. He also played with top-100 draft picks all around him—including two first-rounders rushing the passer. There are concerns that he’s a product of the system and talent at Clemson.
Weight: 190 lbs.
40 Time: 4.47s
Short Shuttle: 4.21s
PRO COMPARISON: Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons
FINAL GRADE: 6.80/9.00 (Round 2—Future Starter)