Cornerback Adonis Alexander became a member of the Redskins because he was the right player at the right point in the supplemental draft.
He was the right player because he is a talented player at a high-value position. Alexander was also in the supplemental draft because he was declared academically ineligible for the upcoming season. A drug-related suspension while he was at Virginia Tech added some red flags.
The Redskins tend to steer away from red flags, but they had a good source for information about Alexander working in an office at the team facility in Ashburn. Defensive backs coach Torrian Gray was involved in Alexander’s recruitment when he held the same position in Blacksburg. Gray was Alexander’s position coach when he earned freshman All-American honors in 2015 by posting 55 tackles, 10 passes defended, and four interceptions.
Gray left to coach a season at Florida before joining the Redskins’ staff last year so he wasn’t around for Alexander’s problems in the classroom and his eventual conversion into being a part-time player in the Tech backfield. But Gray maintains contacts in the athletic department in Blacksburg and he certainly played a key role in making the decision that Alexander’s talent outweighed the character risks.
One thing will mitigate red flags for NFL teams is the player owning up to his mistakes. Most understand that players in their late teens and early twenties make mistakes in life. But if they own up to their mistakes, as Alexander did to every NFL coach and executive he spoke with over the past month or so during the leadup to the supplemental draft, teams will tend to believe that the players’ problems are behind him.
“I wasn’t really humble at the time,” Alexander told Yahoo! Sports about the time that he was sliding down the path that led to his academic suspension. “I definitely got a big head, I definitely started doing a lot more with my social life instead of my academic life. I really put football and my social life above academics. And that put me in a big hole.”
By the time he woke up and realized he was in trouble, he said, he had accumulated too many C’s and D’s for his grade point average to recover. Alexander was told that he would not be able to re-enroll at Tech until the summer of 2019. Instead of sitting out another year, he opted to enter the supplemental draft.
Alexander served a two-game suspension for a positive marijuana test in 2017. He submitted the results of a recent drug test, which was clean, to all 32 teams prior to the supplemental draft. Alexander also vows to make sure he has a proper role model to help him stay on the right path.
“I’ll definitely find a veteran player that does everything right and model myself as a person after him,” Alexander said. “That will be the first thing I do, along with being in the playbook. It’s going to be football, football, football. I’ll always be in the film room.”
Another reason the Redskins took a chance on Alexander is that the risks are minimal. Prior to the supplemental draft, the Redskins had three sixth-round picks in 2019. They had their own plus two compensatory picks after losing some free agents in March. The supplemental draft is basically a blind auction, with teams submitting draft-pick bids for players with the highest submitted pick getting the rights to the player. The Redskins put in their own sixth-round pick, which was the 20thof that round, and got Alexander.
After winning the bid, the Redskins now forfeit their sixth-round pick. The advantage is that they have their player in a year early and, in this case, it’s someone who is a known quantity to his position coach.
If it works out and the Redskins gain some depth at a critical position, that’s great. And if the off-field problems surface again down the road, the loss is minimal.
Tomorrow: A look at how Alexander fits into the Redskins’ depth chart.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS