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2016 NFL Draft: Mackensie Alexander could be a shutdown corner for Giants at No. 10

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Could Clemson's finest be headed for a pro career in New York?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mackensie Alexander is a cornerback from Clemson who had zero interceptions throughout his college career. Many will look at that number and think he's not a good player. With a wider understanding of his game, you learn that it's because his coverage was so good that opposing teams didn't even throw at him. In college, Alexander was one of the fabled few. He was a rare unicorn-like beast. To put it simply, this guy is a shutdown corner.

With the 10th pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Giants need to find an impact player. While they currently have two starting corners on their roster, this team had to go out and pay big bucks to get them. They know first-hand what it costs to get someone even halfway decent, so could they be tempted by a guy like Alexander at the top of the draft? Is he worth the draft capital?

Measurables

Pros

  • Unparalleled ability for press-man coverage, ideal man cover guy for any team using a player-to-player lock scheme.
  • Prince Amukamara learned early to keep plays in front of him, and Alexander already has that absolutely nailed down. If it's a completion, he's usually in position to make a tackle.
  • Slot/outside versatile.
  • No interceptions, but five pass-defenses in 2015. Can certainly play the ball in the air.

Cons

  • Must improve at play recognition for when he can't rely on reading receiver, such as line switches.
  • Needs to check back in on plays because sometimes the ball is thrown elsewhere and he's still trying to cover.
  • Noticeably weaker in zone coverages, goes too soft to protect himself.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 19th*

Mocking The Draft - 10th

CBS - 28th

Draft Tek - 16th

*New BBV board coming soon. I have Alexander ranked 14th on that.

Does He Fit With the Giants?

I think Alexander would be an excellent addition to the Giants. His skills would be very much welcome on an aggressive defense like Steve Spagnuolo. His tape is noticeably strong, even when competing against lower competition. He's just a good player, and you can't have too many of those.

He can play the slot, he can play outside, he can play wherever. Alexander would give the Giants a lot of flexibility in the secondary and would take a lot of the stress off a safety group that needs as much help as they can possibly get. Honestly, the only reason you wouldn't want him is if you're operating a soft read-and-react defense, and even then I think Alexander could be coached up for that.

Final Thoughts

People crave pro comparisons for draft prospects, and I usually don't like doing those, but to me, Alexander is Nnamdi Asomugha through and through. He's an excellent man corner, whose skills are tailor-made for that one style of play and whose weaknesses remain virtually invisible until you switch him out of that one style, which is fair enough, because I think misusing any player is a recipe for bad performance.

If you can work within his limitations, which shouldn't be too hard, then I think Alexander would be a home run on any team willing to use him right. Even if you are a zone-based team, you can still lock him on one man and play the other 10 guys however you like. Rex Ryan used to do it all the time with Darrelle Revis.

Would the Giants pull the trigger on Alexander with the 10th overall pick? I don't know. I think it's as easy to argue either way on that argument, so I'll reserve judgment on that. Would I be happy if this guy was on the field for Big Blue come September? Damn right, I would be.