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2016 NFL Draft Player Breakdown: Mackensie Alexander

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Even though Miami's draft plans remain hidden, the team will certainly draft a cornerback later this month. With the 13th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select; Mackensie Alexander, cornerback, Clemson University.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Who is Mackensie Alexander?

Mackensie Alexander was born and raised in Immokalee, Florida.  Here, he attended Immokalee high school where he combined for 139 tackles and 10 interceptions throughout his high school career. Rivals.com ranked Alexander a four-star recruit out of high school.  He later committed to Clemson University.

At Clemson, Alexander proved he was one of college football’s best cornerbacks.  After redshirting as a freshman in 2013, Alexander showed he had the skill-set to be a true shutdown corner.  In 2014, he recorded 21 tackles, 6 passes defended and one forced fumble.  He earned freshman All-American honors, in addition to All-ACC honorable mention.

As a sophomore in 2015, Alexander recorded 23 tackles and 5 passes defended.  Much like the year prior, he was among college football’s best at his position, despite never recording an interception. Nevertheless, Alexander put up impressive numbers in 2015.  He allowed zero touchdowns in 13 games, permitting 19 receptions on 57 targets.

The Good

Mackensie Alexander is everything you could ask for in a player.  Frequently after games, coaches would find Alexander studying film striving to be the best cornerback possible.  His goal was to become the very best player in college football.  Even though his stats were not jaw dropping,  Alexander proved to be one of the best corners in the nation.  He allowed 19 catches during the 2015 season, quite the feat at any level of play.  With the right coaching staff and scheme fit, Alexander will have a bright future in the NFL.

In this play, Alexander shows off his elite coverage skills.  He runs stride for stride with the receiver, making it nearly impossible for the pass to be completed.  Yes, the ball was thrown poorly and yes, Alexander and the receiver are battling heavily with their hands. However, the ball would not have been caught even if the quarterback delivered a perfect throw.

Here, Alexander shadows the wide receiver near flawlessly.  He uses his natural instincts to force the defender towards the sideline, making it harder for the quarterback to hit his target.  This makes things easier on Alexander, something he did often throughout his collegiate career.

In this play, Alexander shows off his ability to tackle in the open field.  He recognizes the swing pass and breaks off his designated receiver to make the tackle.

Here, Alexander shows off his natural instincts, as he times the snap perfectly.  The result is a minimal gain for one of the nation's best running backs.

Another perfect example of his ability to dissect the play.  Here, Alexander reads the screen pass, splitting two defenders and laying the big hit on the running back.  Incomplete pass.

The Bad

In this play, Florida State's quarterback sees the pressure and throws up a prayer.  Alexander has trouble reading the pass, resulting in a significant gain.

Alexander relies heavily on his hands, something that will not be tolerated at the next level.  Here, he battles "hand in hand" with the receiver.  The referee throws the flag, resulting in a costly penalty.

Here, Alexander gets completely washed out by the wide receiver.  His poor angle, mixed with his inability to shed a block, contributes to the positive gain.

The Skinny

Mackensie Alexander possesses a vast array of traits NFL coaches and scouts covet.  He remains a great coverage cornerback that has very little problem telling opposing wide receivers how he feels.  Alexander manages to get under an opposing player's skin, leaving a lasting impression throughout the duration of the game. Furthermore, his lack of size makes his future in the NFL a bit of an uncertainty.  There is little doubt he possesses the work ethic and skill-set to succeed in the NFL; however, his transition to the NFL may be a bit harder than anticipated.

Throughout my study, I saw a cornerback that has the skill-set to be an elite cornerback at the next level.  I also witnessed a corner that relies heavily on his hand usage, something that won't be tolerated in today's NFL.  Due in large part to his small frame, it was difficult for Alexander to shed blocks, something that will remain an issue at the next level.  In the end, Mackensie Alexander is a great cornerback and will have a very successful career in the NFL.  Despite his work ethic and natural instincts, Alexander is unlikely to be selected until the late part of the first round.  He may not make the immediate impact expected from a first round draft pick, but Mackensie Alexander has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL.

All clips were taken from draftbreakdown.com

This article was written by Josh Houtz.  Follow him on Twitter!