Adonis Alexander

NFC East Notes: Owens, Redskins, Giants

Former Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens says he isn’t “actively seeking to get into the NFL” but would entertain the possibility, “as well as the CFL,” if an opportunity arises (via ESPN.com).

I know that I do have the ability to play. I know everybody sees the shape that I’m in. There’s a lot of athletes that play their prospective sports, but there are few guys that defy the odds. I think I’m one of those guys,” Owens said Wednesday.

Owens’ CFL rights are owned by the Edmonton Eskimos and he recently triggered a clause that gives them until Tuesday to work out a deal. The 44-year-old, who is on the verge of being inducted into the Hall of Fame while he celebrates elsewhere, will become a CFL free agent if he does not receive an offer to his liking.

It’s fair to wonder whether Owens can compete in the CFL at his age, and the NFL appears to be a longshot since he is seven years removed from playing and has not drawn any recent interest. Still, when T.O. talks comeback, we can’t help but listen.

Here’s a look at the NFC East:

  • By failing to participate in 90% of the team’s OTAs, Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams‘ 2018 base salary has now officially de-escalated from $10MM to $9.85MM, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Cornerback Josh Norman is in a similar boat. His salary has dipped from $13.5MM to $13.3MM.
  • Giants third-round supplemental draft cornerback Sam Beal‘s deal is worth $4,082MM over four years and includes a $1.048MM signing bonus, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.
  • Meanwhile, Redskins cornerback Adonis Alexander, taken in the sixth-round of the supplemental draft, is set to earn $2.616MM over the course of his four-year deal.

Latest On Adonis Alexander

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.

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Redskins Sign Adonis Alexander

The Redskins have signed Adonis Alexander to his rookie contract. As with typical draft picks, it’s a four-year deal, so Alexander is under club control through the 2021 season. 

On Wednesday, the Redskins used a sixth-round pick in the supplemental draft to select the Virginia Tech cornerback. They’ll forfeit a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft as a result, but they’re getting a high-upside player to help them immediately rather than waiting. The Redskins still have two other sixth-round picks in next year’s draft thanks to the compensatory formula, so they’re only taking a mild risk by bringing Alexander into the fold.

Blessed with size and ball skills, the Redskins believe they can turn Alexander into a contributor at the pro level. Teams had some maturity concerns about Alexander after academic trouble cost him a spot with the Hokies, but his one-time defensive backs coach Torrian Gray is in D.C. and Redskins feel that Gray can help him stay on track.

Alexander will fight to make the roster behind top cornerbacks Josh Norman, Orlando Scandrick, and Fabian Moreau. Quinton Dunbar and seventh-round pick Greg Stroman are also among those looking to solidify their spots between now and September.

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Redskins Select Adonis Alexander

Adonis Alexander has an NFL home. With their pick in the sixth round, the Redskins selected the talented Virginia Tech cornerback.

Alexander’s length, balls skills, and arm size (over 32 inches) caught the attention of evaluators this year. Although he does not come with the same hype as Western Michigan’s Sam Beal, he has the potential to be a contributor in his own right.

At 6’3″ and 207 pounds, Alexander offers tremendous size. He also has experience in zone coverage schemes thanks to his time at Virginia Tech.

The Redskins project to use Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, and newcomer Orlando Scandrick as their top three cornerbacks. Alexander figures to slot somewhere behind them, provided that he makes the final cut. The Redskins also have 2017 third-round pick Fabian Moreau, seventh-round rookie Greg Stroman, and Joshua Holsey under contract.

As a freshman in 2015, Alexander impressed scouts as he intercepted four passes at the safety position. He followed up with a strong sophomore campaign, but he found himself at odds with coaches in 2017 and was hit with a two-game ban for not living up to the “expectations” of head coach Justin Fuente. He was also held back by a hamstring injury suffered in November.

Had he entered the 2019 NFL draft, Alexander would have had a shot at going in the first two rounds. The Redskins see Alexander as a high-value addition who is well worth the forfeiture of their sixth-round pick next year.

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Virginia Tech’s Alexander Passes Drug Test

Good news for Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander. On the eve of the NFL’s supplemental draft, teams have received records of a clean drug test taken this week, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Alexander was arrested on a marijuana charge in 2016, but his camp has been working to prove that it was just an isolated incident. The defensive back has passed tests over the last eight months, which bodes well for his chances of being selected on Wednesday.

Alexander is one of three players believed to be contention to be drafted. Former Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal is reportedly the best of the bunch and could go as high as the second round. After that, Alexander could be in the mix in rounds 5-7, along with Mississippi State defensive back Brandon Bryant.

The supplemental draft – also known as the league’s “second chance” draft – gives players an opportunity to enter the league in July, provided that they are at least three years removed from high school. Order is determined by a weighted lottery based on the April draft order and teams are given an opportunity to enter a bid before each round. If a team selects a player, they’ll sacrifice the corresponding pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

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Supplemental Draft Notes: Beal, Bryant

The NFL’s supplemental draft will take place on Wednesday and the football world is buzzing about former Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal. One scouting analysts for ESPN believes that he is worthy of a second-round grade in terms of talent.

I think he’s going to be a starter within three years for whatever team drafts him,ESPN.com’s Steve Muench said, “and a really good starter at that. You have someone with that frame and those skills, and that’s what teams look for.”

Beal offers good size for the cornerback position at 6’1″ and ran a 4.47-second 40-yard-dash during a recent workout. He is widely projected to go within the first three rounds, becoming the first player taken in the supplemental draft in years.

Here’s more on Beal and the other entrants in the supplemental draft:

  • Mississippi State defensive back Brandon Bryant also has an opportunity to be drafted. Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com offers up a scouting report for the three-year starter, noting that he offers good size and serious athleticism. Although he is fluid and fast in coverage, Pauline dings him for his lack of physicality and sense of urgency. Pauline predicts that he’ll be taken in the sixth-round on Wednesday.
  • When it comes to Beal, Pauline lauds the Western Michigan product for his outstanding closing speed and explosive nature. On the flipside, he feels that Beal does not demonstrate great recognition in zone coverage and notes that his instincts are suspect. Beal – who was said to be in the first-round range for the 2019 draft – should go in the second or third round in Pauline’s estimation.
  • Nat Newell of the Indy Star wonders if the Colts could place a bid on Beal, Bryant, or Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander given their needs in the secondary. With size and the ability to excel in zone coverage, Alexander could be of particular interest to GM Chris Ballard.
  • In addition to the aforementioned three players, Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter are also eligible to be drafted. However, their odds of being selected are reportedly slim.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Bengals, Sutton

Several new defensive backs will see action for the Browns this season. Denzel Ward, Damarious Randall, T.J. Carrie and E.J. Gaines are now in the mix in Cleveland. But the team with the top bidding spots in the upcoming supplemental draft is doing its homework on the available DBs. John Dorsey attended Western Michigan safety Sam Beal‘s pro day, and Zac Jackson of The Athletic notes the Browns are studying up on supplemental cornerbacks Adonis Alexander (Virginia Tech) and Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant. The Browns’ 0-16 finish last season guarantees them the first bid position in this non-televised event, so if Cleveland is willing to sacrifice a third-round pick in the 2019 draft, its move would beat any other team that’s willing to part with a third-rounder to the punch. Jackson adds that only Ward and Randall’s jobs look certain this season, with competition set to commence for the other three primary roles in the secondary.

Here’s the latest from the AFC North:

  • On the subject of unsettled secondary situations, the Steelers look to feature training camp battles for the spots that Joe Haden and Morgan Burnett do not hold. The main uncertainty here going into camp looks to be 2017 third-rounder Cameron Sutton, whom Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes could settle in at outside corner, in the slot, or as Burnett’s running mate on the back end. While the 5-foot-11, 188-pound Sutton would make for a diminutive safety, he did receive reps there during the Steelers’ offseason program, per Rutter. Sutton started at cornerback for four seasons at Tennessee and is the Volunteers’ all-time leader in passes defensed. Artie Burns‘ job isn’t certain, per Rutter. Neither is Sean Davis‘. And with Terrell Edmunds set to factor into the mix, the Steelers could sport some interesting sub-packages this season.
  • The Bengals made a late-offseason personnel change. Christian Sarkisian will join the scouting staff as a scouting assistant, per Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Formerly the assistant director of player personnel at Northwestern for a year, Sarkisian will join an eight-person Bengals scouting staff.
  • The tight end who serves as the Bengals’ Tyler Eifert injury insurance, Tyler Kroft is hoping for a long-term extension to stay in Cincinnati.
  • UDFA Janarion Grant may have the inside track to succeed Michael Campanaro as the Ravens’ return man.

Albert Breer On NFL Supplemental Draft

This year’s supplemental draft figures to be the most exciting in years. Those who have been keeping up with Pro Football Rumors in recent weeks are already familiar with Sam Beal, the former Western Michigan cornerback who many say could have been a first-round pick in the 2019 draft. Besides Beal, there’s also former Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander to consider, a player with tremendous measurables and real NFL upside.

There are others in this year’s class, but Albert Breer of The MMQB hears that Beal and Alexander may wind up as the only players selected. That’s bad news for Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant, who recently drew 40 scouts to his pro day.

He’s a nightmare discipline-wise,” one AFC college director said. “Very unreliable, plays outside the scheme, not reliable in coverage, his eyes are all over the place. Just can’t trust him. He’s physical and quick and fast. Should he be draftable? Sure. But with all the other stuff …

The odds seem even dimmer for Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter. Although he has some starting experience in college, Ugwoegbu has the size of the safety and clocked in at his pro day with the speed of a defensive tackle. Carter’s size is also working against him as evaluators feel he does not have the necessary bulk to break tackles and run inside at the pro level.

So, while Bryant, Ugwoegbu, and Carter may have a hard time convincing teams to forfeit a 2019 draft pick for them, it sounds like Beal and Alexander are very much on the radar. Beal may have some maturity issues, but that shouldn’t prevent him from finding an NFL home on July 11.

He’s the more talented cover guy [compared to Alexander],” said an AFC scouting director. “A pure cover guy, fits a lot of schemes. He’s a skinny dude, and even though he presses well, you look at his body, how well does he project? … He’s not a bad guy, just kind of a knucklehead. The kind who’ll wear the wrong color socks or miss curfew or have 25 parking tickets and not pay them off.”

Meanwhile, Breer hears that Alexander’s size could make him a fit for the Seahawks. His 40-yard-dash time at his pro day might not have helped him, as he clocked in at 4.50 seconds on one run and 4.60 on another.

If he’d run faster, I wouldn’t have been shocked to see him in the second or third round,” said an NFC exec. “I think the absolute highest he’d go now is third round. He’s so big and long.”

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Latest On Darqueze Dennard

Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard will play out the 2018 season under the fifth-year option of his rookie deal, so he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency next offseason. After an underwhelming and injury-plagued first three years in the league, the Michigan State product turned in a strong 2017, mostly as a slot corner, and he has set himself up for a nice payday if he replicates that performance in 2018 (which would also make for a difficult business decision for Cincinnati).

As Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes, the Bengals have proven that they are willing to pay when it comes to cover corners. And Dennard believes he can not only be a good slot corner, but that he can handle opposing receivers outside the numbers as well, which he showed flashes of last season. The team has previously indicated that it would be open to extending Dennard, despite the investments it has already made in fellow corners Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson III, but Dennard himself is not sure if he’s ready for that conversation just yet.

He said, “That’s something that I think me and my agent and my family will have to sit down and talk about. But I mean, when that time come, the time come. I’m not pressed on it. I’ve got some goals that I have personally that I gotta work on, on the football field.”

He then suggested that he may be interested in testing the open market, as he smiled and added, “You know how defensive backs is anyway – we like to gamble. So I’m not too much sure how I feel any way about it.”

In any event, Dennard is slated to earn $8.526MM in 2018, which actually makes him the 21st-highest paid CB in the game. He will look to build on a 2017 campaign that saw him post career highs in forced fumbles (one), interceptions (two), sacks (two), passes defensed (six), solo (61) and total tackles (85).

In other Bengals news, Owczarski reports that the team has shown interest in supplemental draft prospects Sam Beal and Adonis Alexander, both of whom are cornerbacks who could theoretically replace Dennard in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Beal, Wake, Giants

Sam Beal is widely considered to be the best prospect in this year’s supplemental draft, and most NFL talent evaluators think he will fall somewhere in the first three rounds of the draft. A tall corner who has the fluidity and speed of a smaller DB, some believe Beal has first-round talent, so he has generated plenty of discussion since he declared for the supplemental draft last month. Gil Brandt of SiriusXM says the Bills, who have an extra fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft, could be a fit for Beal (Twitter link). Meanwhile, John Keim of ESPN.com says the Redskins have interest in Beal as well as fellow supplemental draft prospects Adonis Alexander and Brandon Bryant, but Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the Patriots are unlikely to select one of those players even though they have the 2019 draft capital to do so.

Now let’s round up a few more notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • Reiss believes that the Patriots, who selected OL Isaiah Wynn with their No. 23 overall selection in this year’s draft, also considered Alabama WR Calvin Ridley in that spot. Although New England’s need for a quality offensive lineman may have swung the pendulum in Wynn’s favor, Reiss also believes the team is more comfortable projecting an offensive lineman to the NFL than a receiver, which made Wynn an easier choice.
  • Though he is 36 years old, Dolphins DE Cameron Wake is still a highly-productive pass rusher, having posted 10.5 sacks last season. Despite that, and despite the fact that he is entering a contract year, Wake has no issues with the team’s decision to use a rotation that it hopes will keep him fresh in 2018. Per Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post, Wake said, “I want to do whatever is going to help the entirety of the team, the entirety of the defense. So, if it means me being a third-down guy, let’s do it. If it means I have to start and play every down, I’ll take that role on, too.”
  • Matt Lombardo of NJ.com does not think the Giants will be players in the supplemental draft, and he says that, while UDFA wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo has looked good in spring practices, even a strong training camp and preseason will likely only get him another chance on Big Blue’s taxi squad, where he finished the 2017 campaign. Of course, a good showing could get the former Maryland and Syracuse product a shot on a different club.
  • Many expected Chad Wheeler to push Ereck Flowers for the Giants‘ starting right tackle job this year, but as Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com writes, Flowers has gotten all of the first-team reps at RT thus far. Dunleavy says Wheeler’s job as the team’s swing tackle is safe, but barring injury, it looks like Flowers will be the right tackle in 2018. However, Flowers is entering a contract year, so Wheeler may get a chance to start in 2019 if he performs well in the swing tackle role.
  • Earlier today, we heard that Redskins HC Jay Gruden may be looking for a new job in 2019 if his club turns in another so-so performance in 2018.