Should the New York Giants make a bid on Adonis Alexander?
The NFL’s Supplemental Draft kicks off on July 11, and the New York Giants have the perfect opportunity to address their uncomfortably thin corner depth.
The New York Giants are set to roll out Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple as the No. 1 and No. 2 guys, respectively. Behind them, defensive backs like William Gay, Curtis Riley, Grant Haley and others will fight for backup priority.
That lineup has promise, but admittedly, there is plenty of room for improvement.
Enter the Supplemental Draft where despite the NFL season currently in peak tranquility, all 32 teams and front offices will have to crack their knuckles and get down to business.
In case you aren’t aware of how the unique event works, FanSided’s very own George Stockburger conveniently broke down the details and which names to watch for this summer.
As a quick summary, know that the draft order is different from April’s. The league will divide teams into three tiers based on 2017’s win percentage and playoff/non-playoff finishes. Those in the first tier with the least amount of wins will have a higher weighted lottery to receive top priority bids.
And yes, teams bid blindly giving a draft-round grade (1-7) for each man available. Whichever franchise has the highest bid, they will be rewarded the player and have to forfeit next year’s pick in the round they graded him.
There are five athletes available. Three of them are defensive backs. Virginia Tech corner Adonis Alexander could be the most underrated prize if the G-Men have the desire to out-eBay the rest of the league.
In three seasons (2015-18) and 32 total collegiate games, Alexander has compiled an impressive 125 tackles, seven interceptions and 17 passes defended.
He’s a presence, too, measuring 6-foot-2 and 194-pounds and would enter New York Giants training camp as one of the biggest DBs on their current 90-man roster. His Pro-Day measurements in June were also impressive, per NFL.com’s Gil Brandt.
The man has a desirable combination of speed, size and ball-hawking skills. Considering the Giants ranked in the middle of the league last season in total interceptions (13), they could use additional playmakers in the secondary.
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher will also implement a blitz-heavy scheme based on evidence from his past three seasons at Arizona. That pressure will mostly come from linebackers, but Bettcher will get creative and involve his secondary too.
Alexander, who is a physical, solid tackler, could surprise offenses and bring heat from the nickel slot while outside linebackers Olivier Vernon and Lorenzo Carter drop back into coverage.
Versatility and unpredictability, those are two traits the Giants defense can take advantage of by adding the former Hokie.
New York Giants
If you are wondering, “How does one become available for the Supplemental Draft anyways?” Well, it’s not usually a positive process.
So is the case for Alexander, who withheld from 2018’s April phenomenon to return to Virginia Tech for his senior season. Unfortunately, Alexander’s poor grades led to academic ineligibility. His issues started in his freshman year when he withdrew from classes and eventually landed on academic probation.
Also, he served multiple suspensions in 2016 and 2017—one for marijuana possession and the other for violating team rules.
Per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, Alexander was honest about his struggles and confident in overcoming them:
"“I thought I was untouchable, doing stuff I wasn’t supposed to do, but as I got older, I realized the other opportunity that I was messing up. Back then, I was probably a more in-the-moment guy. I didn’t really look ahead. But I can honestly say as I mature, I begin to think about my future before I make a decision.”"
Athletes can develop maturity, and the New York Giants are an organization known for assisting with that process.
The promising star’s troubled past has not discouraged interest from teams around the league, though. Per Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst, more than 26 teams attended Alexander’s Pro Day in June. The Chiefs, Jets, Saints, and Colts have all met with the former Virginia Tech corner.
If the Giants want any shot, they will have to be willing to part ways with a fifth-round pick or possibly greater.
Alexander’s value is high, and his price tag is sure to match.
According to Pro-football-reference.com, there has not been a guy selected in the Supplemental Draft since 2015 when the St. Louis Rams took tackle Isaiah Battle.
Still, great players have broken into the league this way including Bernie Kosar (1985), Ahmad Brooks (2006) and Josh Gordon (2012). Could the New York Giants be the next team to end the drought?
If so, Virginia Tech’s Alexander could be the guy. The Giants currently have 2019 picks in Rounds 1-6 with their seventh-round selection dependent on punter Riley Dixon’s production.
The G-Men likely won’t receive a 2019 compensatory pick after free-agent additions Nate Solder, Patrick Omameh and Kareem Martin. Future draft-pick ammunition is currently low.
The New York Giants can only go a season at a time, though. In 2018, they will face some of last year’s top passing offenses in the league, including all three NFC South teams, the duo of Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins in Week 3, and the ferocious Philadelphia Eagles RPO attack twice.
Next: How Should the Giants Approach the Supplemental Draft?
The Giants are a Jenkins injury or another Apple slump from potential defensive disaster. Perhaps taking the risk on Alexander would not just be the right move, but the smartest one.