Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech: 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft Scouting Report

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 03: Cornerback Adonis Alexander #36 of the Virginia Tech Hokies gestures to the crowd against the West Virginia Mountaineers at FedExField on September 3, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 03: Cornerback Adonis Alexander #36 of the Virginia Tech Hokies gestures to the crowd against the West Virginia Mountaineers at FedExField on September 3, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Adonis Alexander, a 2015 three-star recruit, started 15 of 34 career games at Virginia Tech.

As a junior in 2017, Adonis Alexander lined up at both left and right cornerback in the Hokies 4-2-5 defense.  He missed four games last season, two for a hamstring injury and two the result of a suspension which was handed down for undisclosed reasons.

That wasn’t the first time Alexander was suspended as he also missed the 2016 season opener after being arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. However, disciplinary reasons aren’t the reason for him entering the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft. Instead, Alexander declared because he was ruled academically ineligible for the 2018 season. Rather than sit out a year and return as a senior in 2019, he elected to turn pro.

For his career, Alexander recorded 125 tackles, seven interceptions and 17 passes defended. He played for two head coaches and one defensive coordinator during his college career. He possesses very good size and length on a lanky frame with adequate athletic ability.

Age: 21 (November 7, 1997)


Height: 6’2”

Weight: 195 lbs.

Pro Day Workout

40-Yard Dash: 4.61 seconds

Bench Press: 9 reps

Vertical Jump: 35.5 inches

Broad Jump: 10’4”

3-Cone Drill: 7.18 seconds

Short Shuttle: 4.38 seconds


From press coverage, Adonis Alexander delivers a solid initial punch at the line of scrimmage to throw off the timing of the receiver’s route. He displays a good understanding of routes and route concepts, diagnosing plays quickly as a result of solid mental processing skills.

Alexander can be over aggressive at times, especially on double moves, however he demonstrates very good competitive toughness by not giving up on the play and utilizing solid recovery speed and length to increase his range and track down his receiver before the ball arrives on deep routes. He gets his head around quickly and locates the ball early. He tracks the ball well and demonstrates the play strength and ball skills necessary to haul in contested passes.

A good example of this can be seen in the play below against Miami. Matched up against a much faster Jeff Thomas, Alexander is initially beaten on the play. He recovers just enough to allow his length and timing to make a play. Tracking the ball the entire way, Alexander undercuts the receiver and high points the football for the uncontested interception.

Versus the run, Alexander takes advantage of his length to prevent blockers from engaging. When an offensive player is able to get their hands into Alexander’s chest, the defensive back displays good strength to disengage and shed the block. He does a very good job of protecting the edge and forcing the ball carrier back to the inside. He gets into position quickly and squares up the ball carrier before finishing the play with a secure, physical tackle.

Alexander’s finishing skills can be seen in this play against West Virginia. He’s playing a shallow zone from his right cornerback position and keeps his eyes in the backfield as he passes off his receiver to the deep safety. He stays in his zone, protecting the edge and forcing the running back to stay inside. As the ball carrier nears, Alexander squares him up and delivers a blow to bring an end to the play.


When jamming the receiver at the snap, Alexander’s feet don’t remain still and he’s caught off balance, forcing him to bail after the initial punch. He displays marginal body position throughout his backpedal, playing too upright which hampers his ability to plant and drive to the point of attack quickly.

Alexander’s struggles against quick throws to his side is evident in the two plays below. In both cases, he displays poor angular body position and is unable to close quickly. Rather than planting his foot in the ground and exploding to the receiver, his upright body position forces him to take a rounded path to the football. This can be seen clearly in the example against Clemson as it takes four lateral steps down the first-down line before he begins to close on the play. This gives the receivers time to catch the pass and make an inside move to get around the overpursuing Alexander.

Marginal agility also limits Alexander’s ability to change directions quickly and allows the receiver to create separation at the top of routes. Once the separation is created at the top, Alexander struggles to accelerate fast enough to mirror the receiver closely and force a tight window.

West Virginia took advantage of this with a simple slant route from the left of the formation. The receiver plants his foot in the ground and takes several steps to the inside before Alexander gets his shoulders turned and begins to chase. That’s all the separation the Mountaineers need to eliminate Alexander’s length and connect for an easy touchdown.

In the run game, Alexander is so concerned with protecting the edge that he will open a lane for the running back to cut back inside. When chasing the play, he takes poor angles to the ball and will overpursue the play, much like he does in the passing game.


Overall, Adonis Alexander is a backup cornerback at the next level who wins with size and ball skills. He’s not someone who possesses the athletic ability to match up against NFL-caliber receivers on a consistent basis. Alexander is best suited to play in a Cover 2 system in which he can use his physical style of play to press receivers at the line of scrimmage and play a shallow zone to assist in the run game.

The Seahawks would appear to be a solid fit as Alexander’s strengths would fit what Seattle asks of their cornerbacks, however any comparisons to ex-Seahawks corner Richard Sherman are unjust. While the two compare favorably from a height/weight/speed standpoint, Sherman was a much better athlete than Alexander coming out of college. The more agile Sherman ran a three-cone time of 6.72 seconds and a 4.29 short shuttle at the Stanford Pro Day in 2011. Alexander tested out at 7.18 and 4.38 seconds respectively.

Next: Sam Beal, CB, Western Michigan: 2018 Scouting Report

While the Seahawks would likely utilize Alexander as a cornerback, others may view him as a strong safety. Alexander would spend the majority of snaps in the box and matches up well with some of the top tight ends in the game today. While he’s more of a developmental project in this role, his ceiling is much higher as a safety than as a cornerback. Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal is the best prospect eligible for this year’s supplemental draft, however Alexander still has a chance to be selected. If he is, expect a team to spend a sixth or seventh-round pick on the former Hokie.