Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The backstory of Redskins supplemental pick Adonis Alexander

July 13, 2018 - 10:59 am

The Redskins selected Virginia Tech defensive back Adonis Alexander Wednesday in the sixth round of the NFL's supplemental draft.

Alexander declared for the late draft after he was ruled academically ineligible this spring. The Redskins forfeited a 2019 sixth-round pick for the right to select Alexander. They are expecting to have three sixth-round picks, making the decision to spend one on a high-upside player like Alexander pretty easy.

Washington did a lot of homework before deciding to select the promising defensive back. One of the Redskins' top scouts went to Blacksburg to meet with Alexander and some of his family in person. 

On top of the academic struggle, Alexander was arrested on a marijuana charge in 2016. The Redskins have an advantage, though, in terms of knowing him. Defensive backs coach Torrian Gray coached him during his freshman season, Gray's last before leaving for D.C.

The Skins also drafted two of his teammates in 2018: DT Tim Settle and fellow CB Greg Stroman. Alexander told reporters on a conference call Thursday he has spoken to both players about the Redskins. He was actually playing Fortnite with Settle when he got the call that he'd been drafted.

After all the homework was done, the Redskins decided to proceed on a player they think has extraordinarily high upside. Alexander is 6-2, 195 pounds, and projects as an outside corner for the Redskins, per a team source, despite playing safety and corner in college. He's said he'd be comfortable with either position and approaches them both the same way - with physicality. The Redskins are also hoping that physicality can help on special teams, where he has collegiate experience as a gunner on punt coverage.

Alexander only ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at his pro day, but a scout told 106.7 The Fan that his tape was much, much more impressive than his workout. He's inconsistent, but Washington is hoping his game will mature with age and more of Gray's coaching.

Alexander absolutely has a shot at the 53-man roster, where he'll be competing with Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau and Orlando Scandrick outside, opposite of Josh Norman. Stroman and Josh Holsey are also expected to compete for roster spots as inside corners.

Alexnader's ability to make the roster might come down to how many cornerbacks the Redskins carry coming out of training camp. Last year, they kept six, with Holsey claiming one of the final spots thanks to a stellar preseason and training camp.

Alexander is also behind his new teammates, as he's now missed the entire off-season program. However, teams are made in August, so he has a chance to crack the 53 if he works hard and shows flashes of the potential that got him selected, a potential that has people at Redskins Park excited in mid-July.

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