After having three players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, the pressure is on Pittsburgh to keep producing. Pitt DT Deslin Alexandre might be the Panthers’ best chance at molding an NFL Draft prospect in 2022, and his scouting report is undoubtedly worthy of consideration. What does Alexandre bring to the table, and what kind of value might he provide NFL teams with at the next level?
Deslin Alexandre NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Defensive Lineman
- School: Pittsburgh
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 285 pounds
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Deslin Alexandre Scouting Report
In Section C and Clause 13 of the College Football Handbook, it is stated that Pittsburgh is required to have at least three “dudes” on their defensive line at all times. Through 2008 and 2009, the Panthers had one of the most productive end tandems in the league in Jabaal Sheard and Greg Romeus. And not long after, a short, stout defensive lineman named Aaron Donald came along to carry the torch.
Even today, Pittsburgh’s penchant for development in the trenches has proven supreme. In 2021, the Panthers had three linemen drafted — Patrick Jones II, Rashad Weaver, and Jaylen Twyman. And this year, players like Calijah Kancey, John Morgan, Keyshon Camp, Devin Danielson, and DeAndre Jules will contribute to one of the deeper defensive line rotations in the nation. Among those names, Alexandre has a chance to be one of, if not the most impactful of the group.
Deslin Alexandre’s athletic profile
Few interior defensive linemen in this class have a more intriguing athletic profile than Alexandre. A former edge defender turned defensive tackle, Alexandre has both the trademark wingspan and initial explosiveness that players need to succeed on the edge. He has a fairly explosive first step, and he possesses stellar proportional length. With this combination, Alexandre’s extensions can be brutal. He carries a great deal of momentum into blockers, and his long arms serve as terrific conduits.
Alexandre’s twitch and short-area explosion afford him lots of potential energy on a given snap. The Pitt DT has the lateral athleticism and contortion ability to adjust his angles in tight quarters. It also helps that he brings exceptional energy and urgency as a rusher. Additionally, he has a large reservoir of power at his disposal. His hands are heavy and forceful and have the capacity for fast movement.
Among other things, Alexandre has impressive pursuit speed for his size. He has also flashed the ability to reduce his surface area somewhat and slip past blocks. Even at his increased weight, Alexandre carries his weight well. Therefore, he has the size and experience to be versatile across the line.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Position changes can sometimes set players back in their executional development, but Alexandre still boasts several quality traits in this department. Particularly in run defense, he uses his length well. Alexandre employs his length to establish strong anchors against opponents, and he knows when to disengage and wrangle ball carriers. He also has the grip strength to maintain extensions and stand his ground.
On pass-rushing reps, Alexandre’s hands can easily knock blockers off-platform when placed effectively. The Pitt DT has flashed the ability to use his hands without sacrificing his own balance. Alexandre can improve his overall balance — as we’ll get into shortly — but there is a level of multitasking present that alludes to more potential.
Alexandre ties his game together with an infectious in-game mentality. As mentioned above, he brings a lot of energy to every snap. He’s a fiery, hard-nosed player who doesn’t hold back and plays to the whistle more often than not. His effort allows him to sustain rushes and earn tackles on pure hustle.
Areas for improvement
Although Alexandre is set to be a redshirt senior and a 24-year-old rookie when he enters the league, there are areas where he can seek further development. As promising as his length-explosiveness combination is, Alexandre can refine his hand usage. His hands don’t always move at full speed, and he can be more coordinated with his hands overall.
Additionally, his ability to stack counters can improve. Alexandre didn’t improve his hand usage as much as desired from 2019 to 2020, but there’s still time to gain more ground.
Going further, Alexandre’s balance is inconsistent, and he can feasibly lower his pad level more often. It also hurts that the Pitt product’s lower body isn’t quite as well-built as his upper body. His lacking base can impede his ability to absorb power, and it also limits his leg drive when extended. Alexandre’s extensions are powerful, but his legs don’t always prove strong enough to complete the puzzle.
Rounding out his profile, the Pitt DT can sometimes lead with his shoulder, failing to use his length effectively. Alexandre sometimes bites hard on play-action fakes, and he can also improve his rushing angles on stunts.
Deslin Alexandre’s NFL Draft scouting report overview
Alexandre is an incredibly intriguing NFL Draft prospect. In 2019, he showed immense promise as an edge defender. And in 2020 — after tacking on 15 pounds — he proved that he was still athletic enough to be a force on the interior. The Panther can play anywhere from 0-technique to 5-technique. His explosiveness is a mismatch inside, and his overwhelming length and power serve as defining traits all across the front.
Together, Alexandre’s explosiveness and length compose a dangerous combination for opposing linemen. However, Alexandre can better employ his hands in conjunction with his physical traits. He’s a stellar athlete with a versatile frame, and those natural traits will grant him some three-down utility. Still, whether Alexandre can be a starter in a hybrid-front scheme is contingent on him refining his hand usage and taking the next step. If he can do that, he can be a Day 2 pick.
Deslin Alexandre’s Player Profile
A large percentage of the nation’s top recruits commit to a select few Power Five schools. This cycle often leaves many of the mid-level Power Five programs, like Pittsburgh, to sift through the ranks looking for hidden gems. The Panthers might’ve found one in Alexandre when they signed the 6’4″, 235-pound defensive end prospect in 2017.
A product of Deerfield Beach, Florida, Alexandre wasn’t an overly coveted athlete. He was only a three-star recruit and ranked 85th at his position. He fielded offers from a few in-state schools like South Florida and Florida Atlantic, but the lanky defender craved an opportunity in a more visible conference. Rutgers and Syracuse approached Alexandre, but he was ultimately drawn to Pat Narduzzi’s Panthers.
Alexandre’s career at Pitt
Alexandre possessed the necessary talent to play in the ACC, but he wasn’t ready for action right away. The Pitt DT needed to add weight to his frame, and so he redshirted his first season, preparing for his eventual opportunity. As a true freshman, Alexandre was 255 pounds. By his redshirt freshman campaign, he’d worked his way up to 270.
Alexandre looked the part in 2018, but he was still primarily a rotational player. Although he played in every game, he only logged 5 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. 2019 would be Alexandre’s breakout season. That year, the Pitt lineman started all 13 games — not at DT — but at DE. He earned 5.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, and 2 pass deflections, and made the ACC All-Academic team.
Heading into 2020, Alexandre appeared primed for another standout year on the edge. Instead, Alexandre tacked on weight and moved inside as a hybrid interior lineman. Although he was no longer a full-time starter, he still produced 3 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 2 pass deflections in his new role.
Deslin Alexandre’s NFL Draft ascension
Alexandre’s collegiate career has been peculiar. He could have remained at 270 pounds and been a standout edge defender. But now, he’s listed at 285 pounds and has retained much of the athleticism he showed at 270. It’s unclear yet what weight he’ll play at in the NFL. Nevertheless, Alexandre can be a fascinating chess piece on the defensive line at his current size.
As it stands, the Pitt DT is best suited for a versatile interior role, as he’s shown the ability to play from 3-technique to 0-technique. However, Alexandre’s experience on the edge makes him even more adaptable, and his athletic upside gives him utility from almost any alignment. With three standout Panthers from 2020 now gone, the opportunity is there for Alexandre to make his mark on the NFL Draft stage.
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