Lorenzo Alexander is a special teams stud and a team leader without question. But those two qualities weren’t enough to keep Mike Sellers on the Redskins roster, and it might not be enough to keep Alexander as well. While there are some differences between the two players (age, slight decline in ST production), it does show that special teams ability alone might not guarantee a roster spot.
I realize this is unfathomable to a number of Redskins fans, and it would be hard for me to swallow as well, but it is possible. Alexander might be a special teams standout, but the question becomes would their be really a noticeable dropoff in either Jonathan Goff’s or Keenan Robinson’s production on special teams? Goff was considered a pretty good special teamer for New York, before he became a starting linebacker. Robinson had a strong special teams reputation in college and that will likely be his role for the next year or two. So while Alexander likely has an edge, it probably is a slight one, and both Goff and Robinson have a far greater edge as quality back-up inside linebackers. Now the easy answer would be for the Skins to keep 5 ILB’s, but that is a pretty high figure. You are only going to keep between 23-25 defensive players so keeping 5 at a position where one of your starters hasn’t missed a single game in the past 13 years, seems unsustainable.
Since Alexander can no longer really be considered an ILB, he needs to make the case that he can be a super utility player. In addition to being the back-up to the back-up inside linebacker, Alexander could be considered a depth outside linebacker and in certain packages defensive end. On offense he’s been working some as a tight end, and it would shock me to hear that he’s taking some full back reps as well.
Now what does all of this mean? Is Alexander really the back-up at all these spots? No, in fact I don’t think he’ll be the back-up at any of them. Instead he’ll make the team due to his versatility. Instead his versatility will be his trademark, and it could allow the team to be more creative in filling out their roster. This is particularly true on game days. The Redskins very well could keep three regular tight ends, but they may not want all three active on most game days.Having Alexander could allow him to be the 3rd TE on some jumbo packages. Alexander would also be able to fill in at a number of positions, in case of injury during the game. While Alexander wouldn’t be a long term solution to fill in for those positions but he should be a decent fill in during the game.
The real question is, will this be enough versatility to merit a spot? It will be close, but I think he edges out a spot for one more season. What do you think? What are the chances he doesn’t make the team?