This 2016 NFL Draft class has some of the best collection of cornerbacks we have seen in some time. A cornerback needy team has a chance to find a stud with players like Vernon Hargreaves, Jalen Ramsey, Cam Sutton, Will Redmond, Mackensie Alexander and much more. One of the names that has gained a lot of late notoriety this season has been Clemson redshirt sophomore Mackensie Alexander who was once thought as a 2017 NFL Draft prospect.
After a strong 2015 showing, draft evaluators every where are now realizing that Mackensie is a serious contender to leave early and enter the draft. I fully expect him to do such after the type of season he is having.
Alexander is a 5’11 195 lb cornerback who is without a doubt one of the top man cover defensive backs in this class. He is rarely tested and his career zero interceptions indicates that teams do not even go his way. Alexander follows the best teams WRs around the field every game.
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+ Alexander is a true lock down cornerback, we do not see pure dominance like this from most corners now a days. He has totaled zero interceptions during his career at Clemson which is an amazing statistic. His dominance does not show up in the stat sheet, he shadows the best teams WR and leaves him on an island for the entirety of the game. In four games I watched I saw only 3-4 completions and that is on the teams best wide receiver.
+ His man coverage skills is what separates him from the majority of defensive backs in this class. He simply has some elite man coverage abilities. He does his best work in man-to-man bump and run press coverage. He extends his arms out fully, pushes WRs and releases so smoothly. One of the more natural and gifted CBs you will see on tape. His backpedal is smooth and accelerates to the ball as quick as anyone. Has the potential to be a shut down cornerback in the NFL in no time, he is that good.
+ Athleticism/Speed is a trait you will not see unless you watch his film. What stood out most to me is that he was able to stick stride by stride with Kermit Whitfield of Florida State and Will Fuller of Notre Dame. Those are some of the fastest players in all of College Football and he was able to stay with them every time they went deep. Alexander may surprise people with his 40 yard dash at the combine, I don’t think people realize how fast this man actually is.
+ Toughness is an underrated quality for a NFL cornerback. I want to see who is not afraid to take on a challenge and face the opposing teams best WR. Alexander is the type of CB who doesn’t shy away from a challenge. You need to be mentally tough to play CB and Alexander has every bit of that toughness. To go along with mental toughness, he has physical toughness that teams would love to see every corner have. He is not afraid to get in the mix of things and tackle an incoming ball carrier, he does not shy away from contact.
-His zone coverage skills need a little bit of work, I either did not see him play zone or when I did he struggled because he seems to be too aggressive. He goes for the big plays rather than just do his job. He would be a much better cornerback if he just calmed down and did his job in zone. He has that Asante Samuel type mentality in zone, either he’s going to get this interception or he’s going to get beat. Well, he has not recorded an interception so it leads to him getting beat in zone.
-Alexander is almost to aggressive which sometimes does not end up in a positive play. He’ll shed blockers but will try to create a big hit rather than wrapping up and being safe. He tries to go for the home run and as a cornerback that is not the best way to go sometimes.
Alexander is one of the best CBs in an absolutely loaded class for that position. As people break down his film and study him they will realize how much better he is than his statistics indicate. I graded Alexander at an 8.0/10, I love his potential, mentality, and talent. He will be a top-15 to 20 pick come draft time.