The Redskins sacrificed a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft by selecting Adonis Alexander in this year’s supplemental draft. That certainly seems like a risk worth taking, given that Alexander has the ability of a first- or second-round prospect and given that Washington has two other sixth-round choices in the 2019 draft anyway.
The general assumption around the league is that Alexander, who played both safety and cornerback at the collegiate level, will play cornerback for the Redskins. Rich Tandler of NBCSports.com, though, says no firm decision in that regard will be made until the team has had the opportunity to evaluate him at both positions. Although Washington is currently leaning towards deploying him as a CB, Tandler says Alexander’s makeup could make him a quality safety as well.
Either way, Alexander will have an excellent shot not only of making the roster, but of earning significant playing time right away. The top two corners on Washington’s roster, veterans Josh Norman and Orlando Scandrick, are locked into starting roles in 2019, but the depth chart looks pretty open behind that. Quinton Dunbar is currently penciled in as the team’s No. 3 CB, but Alexander certainly has the potential to push him for snaps, and Alexander has higher upside than second-year players Joshua Holsey and Fabian Moreau. Moreau, a 2017 third-rounder, is likely not going anywhere this season, but Tandler says that if Alexander makes the team, Holsey or 2018 seventh-rounder Greg Stroman — Alexander’s former Virginia Tech teammate — could be squeezed out.
At safety, D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson are the presumptive starters, so Alexander’s primary competition would come from Deshazor Everett — who is viewed as more of a special teams contributor — second-year player Fish Smithson, and rookie Troy Apke.
For his part, Alexander predictably believes that he could line up anywhere in the defensive backfield (and the Redskins could certainly utilize his 6-3, 207-pound frame in a number of roles if they so choose). He said, “At safety, I feel like my strength is just being an instinctive player. Being physical would definitely be my strength in playing safety, coming down to tackle and stuff.” He added, “As for corner, my competitiveness, instincts, like I said, would definitely be a strength at corner because as far as playing corner, it’s a one-on-one thing with you and the receiver. I’ve definitely tried to win everyone at a one-on-one battle.”
Since Alexander missed offseason practices, he will have some catching up to do when training camp opens. But even if he starts a little behind the learning curve, one has to think that he will be given every opportunity to secure a spot on the 53-man roster, regardless of the position he winds up playing.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.