The St. Louis Rams decided to shock the world and draft safety Maurice Alexander in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Although the Rams needed a safety, Alexander wasn't the type of safety that fans were hoping for. There were hopes that the Rams would draft a Calvin Pryor or a HaHa Clinton-Dix; instead the Rams drafted a player from Utah State.
Not only did the Rams draft a lesser known prospect to most, but Alexander was kicked off the team for the entire year after he hit a teammate during which time he was a janitor for the Edward Jones Dome. So it's not a surprise that the Rams knew about him. Last season, he returned to Utah State and instead converted to the safety position after previously playing linebacker.
He's 6'1 and around 220 pounds.
He's better playing deep coverage than expected and since he's only played there one season there's reason to believe he will develop more once he understands coverages more.
Really has loose hips and he looks so fluid when he moves.
He fights off blocks and doesn't get bullied
He does have good range, he can easily cover ground.
He's good in the box and does a pretty good job taking on blocks.
I would like to see him become a more consistant blitzer but he does have some wow moments like this one.
I love his motor, he's always around the ball rather it's in the air or on the ground and he never gives up chasing the ball carrier.Good recognition on running plays
He's always around the ball rather it's in the air or on the ground and he never gives up chasing the ball carrier.
He played safety with a cast on, and although you didn't see him wave his cast around to knock the ball down he did a good job tackling. Occasionally though he did lunge at players, but in those games he had a bigger case on.
Only one season at safety.
Needs to work on his recognition on passing plays, right now it's inconsistent, he can get there but at times he's late and either can't make a play on the ball or has to delver a tackle.
Can he make THE play on the ball? He's biggest issue is that he doesn't deflect the ball or anything.
Shouldn't be on a slot receiver.
I did see him lunge at ball carriers a few times, but I contribute that to the cast.
Videos judge yourself
Summary of Alexander
Alexander is a really physical player, that brings with him tenacity and toughness. He is pretty athletic and should be able to develop into a good center fielder because of his impressive range. He can also play in the box and make tackles. However, he is still a developmental player. He needs to get the mental part of the game down. Also, you would like to see him make plays on the ball. He supposedly had 6 pass breakups and 1 interception last season, which is good for his first year playing safety. It will be interesting to see how he plays the ball without a cast.
How does he fit with the Rams
I think that there's a chance that Alexander will be a surprise starter for the Rams sometime this season. It will be interesting to see how the Rams use Alexander in his rookie season. They could just play him on special teams, but after seeing how excited they were to have him I expect him to play some role on the defense. He can play inside of the box, like a linebacker on passing downs in zone, and if he develops enough you could see him starting alongside with T.J. McDonald; however, I don't think he will play safety early in his rookie season unless there's an injury.
The Rams have preached the word interchangeable and Alexander fits the bill. I don't trust his man skills, but that's fine. With Alexander you can move him up and McDonald move to linebacker to cover tight ends or running backs, or you can have both on the field and one of them in the box while another safety plays deep. With Alexander on the team, he helps bring versatility to the other players, but I think he will be a deep single high safety. It's something the Rams use a lot.
I'm excited by his upside, but the Rams have made picks with players with upside that haven't panned out like Brian Quick, so keep that in mind. I do think that he can be a pretty good interchangeable safety for the Rams and that they would trust him being a center fielder (single high free safety) more than they would McDonald, but like I mentioned before he will have to compete with Rodney McLeod for that starting spot.
Alexander's development is going to be something to keep your eyes on, because he has the potential to be a good player.