Rufus Alexander LB Oklahoma
Rufus is small in stature, but big in heart. He has very good athleticism and excellent quickness and burst. He is a solid tackler, shows very agile change of direction skills and is good in pass defense. Rufus is a strong blitzing LB and is very smart with natural instincts. He is a leader on the field, shows good stamina as well as mental strength and passion when he plays. Rufus reminds me a lot of Jonathan Vilma (New Jersey Jets). He is a bit of a system LB at this point, but his leadership qualities, intelligence and passion will allow him to be used in any kind of defense in the future.
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
Rufus will struggle if he is in a defensive system that makes him take on big offensive lineman but, like Vilma, he will prevail anyway. Rufus understands that he must attack the line on running plays to make the tackle or he will be engulfed at the line of scrimmage.
TALENT BOARD ROUND: 1
Normally, I would value a player like Rufus in the second round because the best fit for him to impact is in a 2-gap 4-3 defensive scheme. The truth is that because of his character, intelligence and passion, Rufus will find a way to impact in any system. The one thing Rufus understands about his talent is that to be successful in defending against the run, he must be running downhill and attacking the line of scrimmage. In understanding his weakness, he has developed the other portions of his game to compensate for this weakness. He will have to improve his lower body strength to continue to compensate for this weakness in his game, but his body type limits that, so he is going to have to concentrate more on his tackling techniques. One of the best tacklers I have ever seen play is about 5’8” 195 lbs. His name is Antoine Winfield (CB Minnesota Vikings0. He puts guys on their backs all the time -- sometimes, behind the line of scrimmage and sometimes right in the middle of the field. He does it all with technique and he will take down a player running or catching the ball no matter what size he is. Now, granted he is not an LB and does not take the pounding an LB does, but I can tell you that if you use his tackling techniques, you will become one hell of a player. Rufus could be used as a MLB in a 2-gap 4-3 defensive system or outside in a 3-4 defensive system. If you need a linebacker that is going to play for you the day after you draft him, then you need Rufus on your team. He will be a good one. Like I said, he reminds me a lot of Jonathan Vilma and I think Jonathan has been a good LB in a couple of different systems and has been successful in all of them because of his character, intelligence, passion to go along with some pretty good talent -- just like Rufus!