Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 13, 13 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
The defensive backs depth chart with Adonis Alexander
The Redskins drafted a versatile defensive back on Wednesday when they took Adonis Alexander in the supplemental draft. He had experience playing both cornerback and safety at Virginia Tech. His makeup is more in tune to that of a safety.
"At safety, I feel like my strength is just being an instinctive player,” he told reporters on a conference call on Thursday. “Being physical would definitely be my strength in playing safety, coming down to tackle and stuff.”
Alexander also played cornerback, starting in two games last year.
“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,” he said. “I’ve definitely tried to win everyone at a one-on-one battle."
Right now, the Redskins are leaning towards playing him at cornerback. But no firm decision will be made until they get him out of the practice field to see what he has at each position when lined up against NFL-level competition.
If he plays corner, he will join a group that consists of a couple of proven veterans and others who are prospects, to varying degrees. Josh Norman and Orlando Scandrick have a combined 208 NFL games played. With them, there is Quinton Dunbar, who has 40 NFL games under his belt, Josh Holsey, Fabian Moreau, and Greg Stroman. Moreau and Holey are second-year players who saw very little action on defense last year. Stroman was Alexander’s teammate with the Hokies last year.
In other words, there is opportunity there for Alexander. The team generally keeps six cornerbacks and Alexander puts seven in the group. That could put Holsey or Stroman on the bubble. Or perhaps a reserve at another position on offense or defense could be in jeopardy of being released.
At safety, the veteran is D.J. Swearinger, who has played in 75 games. Montae Nicholson showed Pro Bowl ability but he missed half of the season with injuries. They are designated as the starters with Deshazor Everett, who is viewed as more of a special teams players, rookie Troy Apke, and first-year player Fish Smithson likely competing for two backup roles.
The Redskins could keep Alexander as a fifth safety. Last year, their first roster after the cut to 53 had five safeties on it. That didn’t last long as Su’a Cravens abruptly “retired,” but carrying five safeties was their intention. They could do the same this year.
The bottom line for Alexander is that he will have to compete for a roster spot. He will be behind the others as he will go into training camp without the benefit of having participated in the offseason program. Alexander will have to hit the ground running in Richmond.
Of course, the Redskins would like for him to make a strong case to stay on the 53-man roster. They would then have to decide among several young, talented defensive backs. And that’s a good problem to have, the type of problem that good teams have.
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—Training camp starts (7/26) 13
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 27
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 55
The Redskins last played a game 194 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 58 days.
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