NFL Prospect Preview – Jaire Alexander

By Ryan Whitfield

Twitter: @RyanWhitfieldNE

Jaire Alexander – CB – Louisville

Defense & Fumbles Table
Tack Tack Tack Tack Tack Def Def Def Def Fumb Fumb
Year G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg PD FR FF
*2015 10 14 5 19 0.0 0.0 1 5 5.0 2 0 0
*2016 13 31 8 39 1.0 0.0 5 37 7.4 9 1 1
*2017 6 13 6 19 1.0 0.0 1 0 0.0 4 0 0
Career 58 19 77 2.0 0.0 7 42 6.0 15 1 1

Combine Results

40-yard dash: 4.38 sec (6th among CBs)

Bench press: 14 reps of 225 pounds

Broad jump: 10 ft, 7 in (tied for 4th among CBs)

Vertical jump: 35 in

3-cone drill: 6.71 sec (5th among CBs)

20-yard shuttle: 3.98 sec (3rd among CBs)

Jaire Alexander may be the forgotten man of the upcoming 2018 Draft.

In 2016, Jaire established himself as a legit play-making, number 1 corner, despite being just a 3 star prospect out of high school. At the time it seemed realistic that Alexander would not only be a first round pick, but that he would go top 15. In the 2016 season, Jaire had 5 picks, 9 PBU, 39 tackles and 1 Fumble Recovery. As a punt returner Alexander had 19 returns for 195 yards, a 10.2 average.

To me, Alexander has all the makings of an elite NFL corner. He has good size and physical traits (5’11 & 192 lbs). NFL.com says Alexander “[c]limbs on top of receivers and rips arms through potential catches”. His added punt returning skills, and knack for finding the ball makes him as well-rounded a corner as there is in this draft. So, why do all the experts have him pegged as 1-2 round pick?  Hell, Walter Football has him ranked as the 6th best CB in this draft.

Simple. 2017 was an injury plagued season for Alexander. He missed half of 2017 with leg and hand injuries, which is the concern preventing Jaire from being a true first rounder. Still, in a half season he found a way to be named Honorable Mention All-ACC, which is an impressive follow-up to his Second Team All-ACC honors in 2016.

Here’s my easy breakdown. Jaire is a physical specimen, who was one of the fastest corners at the combine (4.38 40-yd), and can hit like a safety. He’s tenacious and has a nose for the ball. He’s been counted out both coming into and leaving college, and a corner with a chip on his shoulder is a dangerous one. His style, attitude and underrated status reminds me of a young Richard Sherman. Sherman has more height standing at 6’3, but a similar weight and strong body frame. The two recorded similar tackle numbers and Sherman amassed 6 interceptions total in ’09 and ’10, the same number that Alexander tallied the past two seasons.

Sherman ended up going in the fifth round in Seattle, and the rest was history.

Richard Sherman – Getty Images

In his draft profile on NFL.com there are stated concerns over his ability to tackle in the open field. Alexander draws worries over being able to get off of NFL caliber blocks. When reading both of their profiles it seems that people are/were enamored with their physical gifts, but have/had concerns with both’s ability to play the run. Pundits are pegging Alexander as a nickel corner, and they had Sherman as a “good back up for press defenses.”

Look, I’m not saying Alexander is Sherman. What I am saying is that their stories remind me of one another. In both you have a raw prospect who make plays and have unique physical gifts. Both guys were doubted, and to me that bodes well for Alexander.

If the stats, combine numbers and my overall thesis don’t do it for you, then take a few minutes to watch his highlights.

The play-making ability, the scrappiness and the fact he ate Deshaun Watson‘s lunch in 2016 shows how high his ceiling is. I love the way he covers, and fights for the ball. And most of all, I love his value.

While I understand injury concerns, there’s a certain Tight End in New England who fell to Round 2 due to injury concerns. Last time I checked, he’s done pretty well for himself. If you can get Alexander early in the second round, there’s your steal of the draft. I watch Alexander, and I see the next great, overlooked corner. With corners, you obviously need cover skills. But when you mix in grit, toughness, ball skills and guts, I’m all in. After all my anger with the Patriots for letting Jimmy Garappolo go for a high second round pick, if that pick turns into Alexander, then I’m all in.

I believe Alexander is a top 10, top 15 at worst, talent. If you get him beyond that, then you had a good draft this year.

Follow me on twitter @RyanWhitfieldNE.

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