Last season, if it was one position that really struggled and let the defense down, it was the safety position. With Rodney McLeod, T.J. McDonald, Darian Stewart, and Matt Giordano all taking snaps, it was really no surprise that this was an issue.
With a rookie, a special teams player, and two agin veterans taking snaps, you can’t really expect the safety position to be a strength.
Looking into the draft, many fans wanted the Rams to take Ha Ha Clinton-Dix out of Alabama. Not only was the Alabama safety the best at his position in the draft, he would have also been a perfect fit for what new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is going to try to do on defense.
When the Rams passed on Clinton-Dix to take Aaron Donald, many fans were left disappointed. The Rams took the best player available route, and by doing so, they took a player a position that many considered the team’s strength, and passed on a player at a position that many considered the greatest weakness.
Calvin Pryor, Deone Bucannon, and Jimmie Ward, one by one the safeties began to fall off the board, even the one’s that some though would drop into the second round were gone. Because of this the Rams were left with a big problem, they passed on the best guy at their biggest position of need to take the best player available, and were now left with very few options.
The Rams waited all the way until the fourth round to take a safety, Maurice Alexander out of Utah State. They very well could have gotten him in the fifth round, but Fisher really liked Alexander, and as reported by Michael Silver during the draft, Jeff Fisher said, “If I don’t get him, I’m gonna be mad.”
Kevin Demoff then respond by saying, “If you want him that much, just take him in the fourth round, even if you think he might be around later. It’s not worth messing around.”
With that said, when the 110th pick came up, the St. Louis Rams jumped on the former Utah State safety and Edward Jones Dome janitor to fill their massive hole at safety.
Gregg Williams has compared Alexander to former Redskins safety and unfortunately deceased Sean Taylor. For a fourth round pick, that is a pretty good comparison.
For a linebacker that converted to safety, Alexander can cover ground pretty well, he has the potential to develop into a pretty good center fielder. The Rams didn’t pick up Craig Dahl 2.0 by any means. He also has the ability to play in the box if needed and can develop into a good blitzing safety, which is what Williams likes.
The only problem is his inexperience at the position and his limitations in man to man coverage. This guy has only played one season at safety at the college level. The NFL could be a big wake-up call for him.
Most likely Alexander won’t solve the Rams’ problems at safety right away, and unfortunately we most likely will have to suffer through more Rodney McLeod, however, Alexander will get plenty of time on the field. This guy is tough and he is always around the ball, which makes him perfect for special teams.
Alexander most likely won’t start right away, but you will see plenty of him and there is no doubt that he is in the Rams’ plans in the very near future. If not later in the season, but by next season, Alexander and McDonald could be the Rams two starting safeties.
The big thing will be to see how fast Alexander can play catch-up per say and how fast he learns the system. This is the type of player that Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams like on their defenses. How this guy develops is going to be something to keep an eye on this offseason and could be exciting to watch. There is no doubt Alexander has the potential to turn into a good football player, let’s just hope he develops sooner rather than later.