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Saints give due diligence to supplemental draft prospect Adonis Alexander

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The Virginia Tech cornerback has serious playmaking ability.

South Bend, IN - Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Adonis Alexander (36) breaks up a pass intended for Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Nic Weishar (82) in the fourth quarter at Notre Dame Stadium.
South Bend, IN - Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Adonis Alexander (36) breaks up a pass intended for Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Nic Weishar (82) in the fourth quarter at Notre Dame Stadium.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NBA Draft opens up tonight, and the 2018 NHL Draft drops tomorrow to carry us through the weekend. More importantly, the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft is less than three weeks away, with teams scheduled to make their bids on July 11. The supplemental draft process is a little different from typical annual selections: teams work in a format comparable to silent auctions, offering future draft picks in exchange for any of the handful of prospects.

So if the New Orleans Saints like any of them enough to pick another rookie, they’d have to sacrifice a 2019 draft pick to make it happen. That’s a tall ask given they’re already shorthanded after the Marcus Davenport trade. For reference, the three supplemental draft-eligible prospects are:

It’s interesting that there’s so much activity surrounding this year’s supplemental draft prospects. No team has drafted a player through the supplemental route since the then-St. Louis Rams picked Clemson Tigers offensive tackle Isaiah Battle in 2015; Battle spent two years on the Rams’ practice squad before joining the Kansas City Chiefs, who traded him to the Seattle Seahawks.

The other most-recent supplemental draft pick? Cleveland Browns superstar receiver Josh Gordon went pro in 2012, but his notorious off-field issues have often reduced him to an afterthought. I’m not trying to drag either Battle or Gordon, but their stories do illustrate why the supplemental draft carries more risk for teams.

DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline reported earlier this week that VT cornerback Adonis Alexander worked out for 26 teams at his individual pro day, meeting privately afterwards with four clubs including the Saints.

Alexander’s pro day workout results were something of a mixed bag: he nailed the height/weight/length measurements (standing 6-foot-2, 195-pounds with 32-inch arms) and explosive testing, posting broad and vertical jumps that would have ranked among the best in the draft class. However, his 40-yard dash time left a lot to be desired (4.61-seconds) and his agility drills (short shuttle and three-cone) were outperformed by some linebackers.

On tape, Alexander looks the part of a big, playmaking defensive back who excels at competing at the catch point and swatting away errant passes (boasting 7 interceptions and 17 other pass deflections in his career). He’s not afraid to mix it up at the line of scrimmage in run support, with 4.5 tackles for loss to his credit. However, his lapses in focus and lack of recovery speed will be problems at the next level.

Unfortunately, Alexander appears to have some issues consistent with supplemental draft prospects. He’s had a couple of off-field incidents in his VT career and is only available in this process because he was ruled academically ineligible to compete as a senior. Members of the VT athletic department characterize him as a “knucklehead” to independent scouts.

So will the Saints select Alexander? It’s too soon to say, though they’re obviously interested. Considering they spent the 2018 offseason restocking the defensive backs room (adding Kurt Coleman, Patrick Robinson, Natrell Jamerson, and Kamrin Moore) and their lack of draft capital in 2019, I’d be surprised if they made any kind of strong bid for Alexander’s services.