Florida State Senior
Has good speed and range in pursuit. Comfortable playing in space and does a nice job attacking upfield off the edge. Shows some ability as a blitzer off the corner. Will break down and wrap up in the open field to make stops, and has good closing burst to deliver hit to ballcarrier. Has decent hips and burst to think he can match up in man coverage.
Struggles to get off blocks at times in space when working against receivers in the slot. Needs to take better angles in space. Needs to play with better awareness in coverage, not showing great ball skills there.
Alexander is a good fit for a SAM linebacker in a 4-3 scheme that likes its guys to play in space. A Tampa-2 scheme would probably be an ideal fit. He's not really a playmaker, but shows the skills and tools to get the job done and can potentially develop as a complementary starter. Alexander came to Florida State as a 185-pound safety and missed most of the first two years on campus with a knee injury. He contributed as a role player as a junior with 17 tackles, 6 for loss, and 5 sacks. Earned starting job as a senior, finishing with 56 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks. PLayed at around 230 pounds during his senior year, and has smartly bulked up and not lost his speed.
When Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin were in Tampa Bay, their linebackers were often Derrick Brooks and a good MLB (like Shelton Quarles, Hardy Nickerson, Barrett Ruud), and then a throw-away starter at the SAM spot. They had 8 different starters at that spot during the 13 years that Monte Kiffin was their defensive coordinator. This is basically the ideal role that Alexander can fill. He has the speed and range that you like him in space. He needs to become more polished in coverage, but flashes the hips and burst to be effective both in zone and man coverage. At the least, Alexander should be able to fill a reserve role at the next level and down the road in the right scheme that likes its LBs to be fast and rangy, he can make a solid stopgap starter. He'll never be a big-time playmaker, but the type of guy that you are comfortable with in the starting lineup if you have two solid guys at the other spots. He's not going to come in right away and make an impact, but give him three or so years of working in a system and playing on special teams, he should develop into a decent stopgap starter and journeyman that can add depth in the 4-3 scheme.
Alexander is good depth in Atlanta because of his potential to contribute in coverage. With a few years under his belt, he should pass Wire as the team's nickel linebacker. He can be developed as a SAM linebacker and starter for the Falcons in the future. It's going to take him some time to develop there, probably two or three years. But his ability to play in coverage and be fast and rangy in space, makes him a nice fit on the outside. But he'll have to learn how to be more physical and aggressive against the run to stick there. He's basically a nice stopgap that by his third or fourth year, should be pushing for the starting job if not already having it. Whether he is kept beyond his rookie contract will depend on how well he plays. But he's good enough to be re-signed and kept as a stopgap for a few more years until a better player is found.
Alexander is a nice late round pick that a Tampa-2 team could nab in the fifth or sixth round, and your typical 4-3 team probably could wait until the seventh.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.0
Pass Rush: 2.5
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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