When Adonis Alexander answered arguably the most important phone call of his life, he had to put his controller down.
Like most millennials, Alexander likes to play the video game Fortnite, and that was the case when the Redskins reached out to let the former Virginia Tech safety know he'd been drafted.
"I was actually in my room with my mom playing a game. I was playing Fortnite," Alexander said. "It was kind of exciting to be on Fortnite and to get drafted by the Redskins."
Alexander's path to the NFL has been difficult, and most of that has been self-inflicted. Twice he got suspended at Virginia Tech, reportedly at least once for marijuana violations, and earlier this year he was deemed academically ineligible for the Hokies' 2018 season.
Ineligibility meant Alexander was headed for the NFL Supplemental Draft, where the Redskins rolled the dice and spent a 2019 sixth-round draft choice on Alexander.
"I definitely made some mistakes at Virginia Tech but I’m using those, just learning from them. Using them to help form a better character, form myself as a man. I’m trying to benefit from the things I did in the past in a good way," Alexander said on a conference call with reporters.
The young man sounds contrite, genuinely.
And he should.
In three seasons in Blacksburg, he amassed seven interceptions. His best season came as a freshman, when he grabbed four INTs, knocked down nine passes and made 55 tackles. From there, the suspensions began and his college career began the arc towards the supplemental draft.
In turn, it's likely Alexander cost himself some money.
Had he been able to play his senior season, and play well, he probably would not have been a sixth-round draft choice. A slow-ish 40 time in pre-draft workouts didn't help either, but his college performance would probably override the workout result. Plus, at 6-foot-3 and a frame that will support more weight in an NFL training program, Alexander looks like a prototypical safety or rangy corner.
Regardless, he's with the Redskins now, and he's got a number of familiar faces around him.
Washington defensive backs coach Torrian Gray coached Alexander as a freshman at Tech. Tim Settle and Greg Stroman, two Redskins draft picks this season, also played with Alexander. In fact, Alexander was playing Fortnite with Settle when he got the call that he'd been drafted.
"Coach Gray knows exactly how to coach me. With my teammates, they have been around me," Alexander said. "They know exactly the type of person I am."
In the NFL, coaches and scouts often try to discern from young men that make dumb mistakes compared to young men that make bad mistakes. It's the type of thing that is hard to find, but easy to see.
With Alexander, it seems like he made dumb mistakes. And he now realizes he can't make any more of them.
"This is a golden opportunity for me. Being able to play with Coach Gray, being able to play with former teammates, I feel like it was the best opportunity I could’ve gotten."
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- Need to Know: How Alexander will affect DB depth chart
- McAdoo Speaks: Ex-head coach takes shots at NFC East
- By the Numbers: Turnover ratio a big problem in 2017
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