The talk during Redskins OTA’s has been 7th round rookie cornerback Jimmy Moreland. Although the James Madison University, tiny dynamo has been impressive with multiple interceptions during 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills, there has been no contact and expectations should be tempered.
On the other hand, second year cornerback and 2018 Supplemental Draft selection Adonis Alexander has been relatively quiet since joining the Redskins. At 6’3″ 207lb., the former Hokie offers the size & ability to contribute at multiple positions. So we must visit the question, Could Alexander Be Primed For A New Role?
Many fans have questioned what the role of second year DB Adonis Alexander will be in this defense and if he’s a candidate to play in sub-packages. Alexander will have a fresh start wearing a new number #36 and playing some safety could be on the table. During his time at Virginia Tech, Alexander showed his versatility by playing single high safety in certain formations. Although used sparingly in that role, Alexander showed his value as a defensive back. The consensus is, third year safety Montae Nicholson will start opposite Collins, but the former Spartan has shown immaturity and an inability to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, the Redskins don’t have much behind Nicholson with Deshazor Everett reaching his ceiling as a special teams’ ace and Troy Apke looking like the latest Washington draft bust. The door should be open for Alexander and it’ll be up to him to convince coaches that his time in Blacksburg showed just how effective he could be, if given an opportunity.
A scenario in which Alexander competes with Josh Harvey-Clemons for time at Dime Linebacker is also something coaches could tinker with. It’s been reported that Harvey-Clemons is now north of 240 lb. which gives him a nearly 35 lb. advantage over Alexander, so this scenario could be a reach at this point.
The Cornerback Room
Although it’s only OTA’s, the cornerback room is getting crowded. The presumptive starters include Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar, with Fabian Moreau & Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie potentially sharing time at the slot. With the aforementioned Jimmy Moreland, Adonis Alexander and Greg Stroman rounding out the group, the likelihood is those three will be vying for two spots. Dunbar will be the biggest question mark of the defense after dealing with nerve issues in his shin for most of the 2018 season.
Per Jay Gruden’s recent comments, Dunbar’s situation is still an issue and the depth at cornerback could once again be tested.
“This is a unique deal. When you’re talking about the nerve and you’re talking about that area for a guy who utilizes his speed, it’s tough. Last week, he felt comfortable enough to play, but you could see he was struggling with it as the game went on.”
Alexander’s progress and ability to offer versatility as a cornerback, safety and sub-package defensive back make him one of the most intriguing youngsters to watch during training camp and the pre-season.
By Adam Aniba
Follow on Twitter @TheBandGreport
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