Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft on Thursday, and the ESPN draft expert has the Redskins selecting Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
With the Washington Redskins’ cornerback depth tested during the 2015 season, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. believes a solution will be found in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
“Alexander has legit man-to-man coverage ability, but he needs technical work and is going to show some rough edges during his rookie year,” Kiper Jr. writes. “But all cornerbacks do, and Alexander has a ton of upside. He's just a hair over 5-foot-10, so he's not a jump-ball winner, but he's powerful, and will make plays in coverage and attacking the line of scrimmage.”
After starting the season on the Bednarik and Thorpe Award watch lists, along with being a third-team All-American by Athlon, Alexander thrived on a team that was ranked first nationally for a majority of the year.
The 5-foot-11, 195 pounder helped guide a defense that finished fifth in the nation in pass defense, giving up just 166.9 yards per game. Individually, his statistics in 2015 don't jump off the page, which is likely a testament to opposing offenses' unwillingness to throw the ball his way.
Alexander made his season debut for the Tigers on Sept. 12 against Appalachian State, recording a tackle in a 41-10 victory.
Against Boston College on Oct. 17, Alexander accumulated a season-high four tackles.
In a thrilling 56-41 shootout victory over North Carolina State on Oct. 31, Alexander recorded two tackles along with two passes defensed.
Alexander started the National Championship Game against Alabama, totaling two tackles.
In December, Alexander was selected to the 2015 first-team All-ACC Team by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
As a freshman in 2014, Alexander was selected as a first-team freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America along with receiving an Honorable Mention All-ACC selection after accumulating 22 tackles, six passes defensed and a fumble recovery.
His 766 snaps were a school record for a freshman.
Alexander attended Immokalee (Fla.) High School where he was ESPN’s No. 4 player in the nation for the class of 2013.
He accepted Clemson’s offer over 28 other offers including those from Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC.