At the beginning of March, The Draft Network’s Ryan Fowler reported that the Kansas City Chiefs would be using one of their top-30 visits to meet with Pittsburgh defensive lineman Deslin Alexandre.
Pitt DL Deslin Alexandre has a Top 30 visit scheduled with the Kansas City Chiefs next week, per source.— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) March 4, 2023
What is a top-30 visit?
Though the term implies that the visits are for the most coveted draft prospects, NFL teams are simply allowed a total of 30 in-person visits to facilities.
The Chiefs have often preferred to use visits for prospects likely to be available on Day 3 or as undrafted free agents — whom they have more control over selecting than the draft’s top players. Cornerbacks Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson — who helped the Chiefs win a Super Bowl as rookies — visited Kansas City on top-30 visits before the 2022 Draft.
Let’s find out why the Chiefs might be interested in Alexandre.
Despite only two years of experience as a football player by the time he graduated high school, Alexandre still earned three stars as a recruit and committed to Pittsburgh. His background as a basketball player provided him with a foundation of athleticism.
In his redshirt-sophomore season, Alexandre was trusted to start, leading to four seasons of impactful play along the Panthers’ defensive front. Over his career, he racked up 16.5 sacks, 29.5 tackles for loss, and seven passes defensed. He earned an honorable mention All-ACC two years but was a three-time selection for the All-ACC Academic Football Team.
Pitt's Deslin Alexandre has won the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award for the '5th Down Campaign' which he spearheaded to help mobilize resources for impoverished children in Haiti.— Nick Farabaugh (@Nick_Farabaugh) February 24, 2023
Alexandre announced in December that he would not play in the Sun Bowl with Pittsburgh as he looked forward to draft preparation. He was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, nor did he appear to attend any prospect showcase games.
In the Panthers’ 4-3 front, Alexandre could be found as a traditional defensive end on the edge. He was a starter, but he didn’t have the pass protection’s primary attention; defensive end Habakkuk Baldonado and defensive tackle Calijah Kancey were on the same line and are more intriguing prospects in this class.
The #Chiefs hosted Pitt EDGE Deslin Alexandre on a Top 30 visit, per @_RyanFowler_ a few weeks ago— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) March 23, 2023
His listed 6'4", 275-pound frame gave him a good baseline of power when engaging, but he becomes a lot harder to stay in front of when he gets a head of steam pic.twitter.com/PuGlaXW99S
Alexandre’s above-average size for a defensive end gives him a good foundation of power to play with. He isn’t the most aggressive player when engaging blocks, but if you give him a step or two, the momentum and strength combined can be overwhelming for a pass blocker.
He won’t show off an array of pass-rush moves, but he has flashes of good hand usage to rip through a blocker. The foundation of strength makes him a staple in the run game as well; he is stouter than a playmaker in run defense.
Alexandre won't blow you away coming off the edge, his best reps seemed to all come when he was asked to loop inside from a DE alignment.— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) March 23, 2023
Gets downhill here quick and gets his hand on the QB's arm to force a bad throw pic.twitter.com/rNSJ6J3hjC
It seemed like Alexandre’s best plays all came on stunts, looping inside to beat an interior offensive lineman and get into the quarterback’s face. On this play, he gains speed downhill quickly and ultimately gets his hand on the quarterback’s arm, forcing a bad throw. That ability to quickly get downhill is important for a pass rusher.
How he fits with the Chiefs
If Kansas City were to bring Alexandre in, he’d be inserted into the room of defensive ends. He is a big build, looking closer to 285 pounds at times, but he would need to be an edge defender in the NFL. He would be fighting for a roster spot in training camp, competing with the reserve defensive ends. Since he doesn’t offer a lot of pass-rush upside, he may have to win off being a stout, strong edge-setter.
However, his best pass-rush reps come when he penetrates the interior, so he could be another versatile piece on the Chiefs’ defensive line.
The bottom line
If the Chiefs value extracurricular accomplishments, then Alexandre will absolutely be a target for them late in the draft or in the pool of undrafted free agents. He has as good an off-field resume as a prospect could have, and he does fit the Chiefs’ defense stylistically. He would be a high-character swing at finding a depth piece in this draft.