In an effort to get to know more about the latest additions to the Kansas City Chiefs, we are reaching out to our fellow experts within the SB Nation network to hear more about their collegiate careers. This time, we've reached out to Andy Woolridge and Chris Knotts from our Oregon State blog, Building the Dam, to hear more about the Chiefs third round selection, cornerback Steven Nelson.
The Chiefs say they're projecting Alexander inside in their 3-4 scheme. How was he best used in Oregon State's defense?
Andy: Alexander played mostly in a 4-3 base and a 4-2 nickel scheme, so he has plenty of experience working inside. As the smaller, but faster, of the pair of inside linebackers would be a good fit for him.
Chris: He lined up almost exclusively as an outside linebacker and his real standout plays came against the run. He is a sound tackler and was able to contain well using his solid speed. When healthy he can be extremely effective but he has been so hurt so often in his career when he was in he was limited in that aspect as well.
If he can stay healthy a move inside might be a good fit for him, similar a little to Lawrence Timmons of the Steelers moving inside after being an OLB in college although certainly not of that magnitude. His speed should let him fill holes quickly once he puts on a little more weight to hold guys off.
Can Alexander handle coverage at all or is he likely only going to play against the run?
Andy: Deep coverage against NFL grade receivers would out-distance him, but he has above average speed for a LB, and can handle the short range stuff underneath safety high schemes.
Chris: He never stood out there, but he did not do much of concern either. He should be passible unless he is matched up against an above average pass catcher.
How much of an adjustment do you think Alexander has to make to play at the pro level? Is he more ready than what fans might think a fifth-rounder would be?
Andy: The adjustment to the week after week physicality of the NFL makes linebacker one of the tougher positions to adapt to. At the same time, Alexander is pretty athletic, and would have projected better as a pro had he had more than one complete season. Until a problem with a bone spur was successfully corrected after his junior season, he never had a full year without stinger problems going clear back to high school. Once that was resolved, he finally had the full season that lived up to considerable expectations.
Chris: He is still a little small to play NFL linebacker. He is a little slight and needs to continue to put on more weight. Alexander came in as a freshman and got playing time, so learning should not be an issue. I would not expect him to do more than play a handful of plays outside of special teams though. His athleticism is solid and should not be an issue as much as just getting up to a real pro size.
What do you think we'll be saying about Alexander one year from now?
Andy: Alexander will probably be a special teamer and a part-timer, depending on the overall depth at linebacker, and so I don't think he will be the focus of a lot of conversation by the average fan. But I expect a few people will take note of him being a hard worker and a good soldier.
Chris: Solid special teamer, but hopefully he can stay on the field.