Mackensie Alexander   CB   Clemson

Mackensie is a physical cornerback with quick feet and toughness to fight through blocks and make tackles on sweeps and screens to his side. He does a good job reading his opponents in single coverage and is smart when used in zone coverage. Mackensie loves a challenge and starts on the Sunday after his Saturday game to intimidate his next opponent for the following Saturday game. He has long arms and shows the speed to stay with those smaller wide receivers, being physical with them all the way down the field. He will fight to knock the ball down in coverage and looks to have good enough hands to make interceptions. Mackensie should be a solid cornerback at the next level and, if he can return punts on special teams, he could become an impact player for the team that selects him.

Until Mackensie learns exactly how physical he can be at the next level, he will have penalty issues because of his physical and aggressive nature. This year he was used more inside instead of outside and he got washed out by bigger players on a lot of plays to his side. Because of his size, he is limited to playing corner only, which isn’t a bad thing, but most teams (and me) are looking for multiple position players when it comes to defensive backs. That doesn’t mean that Mackensie can’t become an impact CB, it just means he is limited in coverage and to a certain size player he can cover.

Mackensie is flashy and intimidating; at the college level, that attracts people to his play. That being said, he is a mis-match as a nickel/dime back on the inside against those tall receivers. In the red zone, he can be out-maneuvered and out-muscled by big pass catching tight ends and 6’5’’ receivers. On the outside, once again bigger receivers can shield him from the ball to get separation, which will be a problem on third downs. Unless Mackensie has better techniques to battle this with something other than intimidation and being physical with receives, he will struggle committing penalties at inopportune times of a game and teams will pick on him knowing that he is likely to commit a penalty. If he can add some special teams impact in the return game, he can become a core player and core players are just as hard to find as impact and franchise players. Because of Mackensie’s physical, aggressive nature and his athletic talent, I expect Mackensie to have an excellent career for the team that selects him. However, for the purposes of this draft, he is limited to a certain style of defense and limited in his impact to the size of receivers he will cover. Mackensie could easily be selected in the 1st round of this draft because of the need for corners who can play single bump coverage and who are physical off the line of scrimmage. For me, Mackensie is a late 1st round/2nd round selection. I like that he is a fighter and as a pure corner on the outside, he is a potentially impacting player -- but bringing him inside to work against bigger players like guards and tight ends will lessen his impact.

Drew Boylhart  JAN.2016