There’s no secret that the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles are targeting nickel cornerbacks to upgrade the position after Patrick Robinson’s departure. It’s also no secret that I am a big believer in Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander, who I believe would immediately upgrade the position over any of the current options on the roster.
Alexander is a top 10 player on my big board, a player that I mocked to the Eagles in my recent Mock Draft Battle with Benjamin Solak, and fits the height/weight/speed profile of what the Eagles have been looking for in the pre-draft process. The chirpy corner has the mentality needed to play the position at a high level and the skill set to boot.
Before I get to what the rest of the media is saying about Alexander, here’s what I had to say in his defense during a crosscheck for the Inside the Pylon Draft Guide:
“I think mention should be made of his + ability to process pre-snap alignments. Also his knack for creating plays by reading QB drops and understanding the routes/combinations based on depth. He seems extremely well versed in what his opponents game is, imagine he’s a film rat.
All that mixed with his top notch COD and fluidity, and the ball skills he possesses lead me to believe he’s going to create turnovers on a consistent basis… lastly, competitive toughness off the charts with the ability and GRIT to play like the best CB on the field at 60%.”
Teams will have to feel comfortable trusting his 2016 tape if they plan on spending a high pick Alexander, as his play took a dip in 2017 due to a knee sprain.
Jaire Alexander posted a great #RAS at the combine, but was limited by injuries in 2017.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 13, 2018
From @MichaelKistNFL in the @ITPylon Draft Guide:
"I think mention should be made of his + ability to process pre-snap alignments. Also his knack for creating plays by reading QB drops..." pic.twitter.com/bP6s2P9ZEP
Here’s what the media is saying:
“Twitchy and quick, Alexander is an instinctive cornerback with the ability to anticipate routes and the quickness to close on throws and make plays on the ball. He tape in 2017 was uneven due to issues with a sprained knee which could raise concerns over his durability considering his slender build. When healthy, he has the potential to become a second cornerback, but teams may view him as a full time nickel cornerback who is able to avoid the rigors of excessive run support.”
DANIEL JEREMIAH – NFL NETWORK
“I thought he helped himself as much as anybody in the entire Combine. He was flying and then had a phenomenal field workout to go with that 40-time. I thought he was someone in that middle-late first round… I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a top-15 pick.”
Louisville CB Jaire Alexander - Ball skills aren't just interceptions & PBUs folks - pic.twitter.com/cFCRaCr5uv— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) March 9, 2018
MEL KIPER JR – ESPN
“Alexander was a new addition to my latest Big Board because of how he performed at the combine; he ran a 4.38 40 and his numbers in the drills ranked near the top of his class. At 5-foot-10, 196 pounds, Alexander is undersized, and he could play in the nickel.”
“Alexander isn’t getting any bigger, but he displays the requisite athleticism, intelligence and toughness to fight for immediate starting reps and if his technique and decision-making develop, he will be an NFL difference maker”
“Injured most of the year, Jaire Alexander was not able to quell concerns about his long-term durability at the next level, but when healthy, he was able to show why many were so high on him to begin with. When I watched him on film, Alexander checked every box that I look for in a cover corner. He can play press man, off man, different variances of zone coverage, come up in run support, attack the ball in the air, and stay attached on the hip pocket.
The way he is able to close separation and make plays on a consistent basis in either man or zone from either the outside or the slot is what reminds me of Chris Harris Jr. His size won’t be for everybody, but he has true shutdown cornerback potential. Comparison: Chris Harris Jr.”
“Zone ability is the best trait, but the mirroring quickness, level head, and willingness to exchange physicality makes Alexander an option for every coverage style. That’s CB1.”
“The Louisville corner loves to take chances, baiting quarterbacks to throw into windows before using his all-world burst to close on the ball for turnovers and pass breakups. Alexander is terrific at making plays on the ball, but at times his aggressive style of play leaves him susceptible vertically. He can get over-anxious in press as well, but generally speaking Alexander is an incredibly fluid corner with all the traits to be a lockdown player at the next level if he can play a little more under control.”
“A quick, feisty, corner with good ball skills, Alexander will fit into nearly any defense, but his play strength and run defense will need development at the NFL level… better suited for a team that allows corners to play off the line of scrimmage.”
Should the Eagles draft Jaire Alexander?
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