The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Florida Gators pass rusher Alex McCalister with one of their seventh round selections (No. 240 overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. We briefly profiled McCalister last week, but I thought it would be useful to acquire an insider's insight as well. In order to learn more about the Eagles' new defensive lineman, I reached out to Florida SB Nation blog Alligator Army. Trevor Sikkema (@TrevorSikkema), who previously wrote a scouting report on McCalister, was kind enough to answer my questions.
1) What are his strengths?
"McCalister's strengths definitely lie with his natural ability. He possesses great length for an edge rusher, and when he gets his arm fully extended into his assignment, they normally can't even reach him as he goes by them.
His go-to move is the shoulder dip. If he can bulk up and learn to get an arm rip in there to combo with the dip, he could be a really nice speed rusher on passing downs."
2) What are his weaknesses?
"He's very raw as a player. Due to players in front of him in his first few years, injuries and some off the field incidents, McCalister didn't have as much time to develop as you would've liked to see. If he doesn't win with speed right away, he's often bullied by his assignments. 6'6" is a great height, but at just 240, he'll need to put on weight and functional strength to be anything more than a situational role player."
3) Is there any idea why McCalister was dismissed from Florida’s football program? Are his character concerns a legitimate issue or are they overblown?
"His dismissal wasn't from something big. It was just him violating an undisclosed team rule with only one game left in the season, and [Gators head coach Jim] McElwain making an example out of players who think they can slip up at any point. I wouldn't be worried about him as a trouble maker."
4) Do you think McCalister deserved to be drafted higher than the seventh round?
"Yes, absolutely. I thought he was more of a prospect you take a in the fourth or fifth round for the upside. I think his potential is very good. Though it's far off, even what you see now could have situational significance. I think getting him in the seventh was a steal."
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
"It's so hard to say. He'll need good coaching and a lot of personal motivation to improve on both body size and technique in his first few years. But if he's committed to getting the most out of his talent, he could be a good contributor."
Thanks again to Trevor. Make sure to check out Alligator Army.