The Panthers just traded a 2012 6th rounder and a 2013 3rd rounder to the 49ers in order to take DE Frank Alexander out of Oklahoma in the fourth round. Although I'm not sure how I feel about trading another future early round pick, I am very excited about what this prospect brings to the table. At 6' 4" 270, Alexander is the complete package. He is an excellent run-stopper and pass rusher. One of the more promising aspects of his game is the fact that he increased his production in consecutive seasons by posting 7.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss during his junior campaign, then posting 8.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss during his senior season. There's no doubt that his 35 inch arms and 83.5 inch wingspan enabled him to break up 8 passes and force 3 fumbles during his final season at Oklahoma as well. Meet me after the jump for further analysis.
The initial draft process got off to a scary start for Alexander when doctors found a supposed congenital heart defect at the combine, where he was subsequently held out of all the events. Thankfully, for him, his family, and the Panthers, this heart condition proved to be a misdiagnosis. Now, let's take a look at where Alexander will initially fit in on this roster, and beyond.
Greg Hardy will find himself in an immediate competition with Alexander for the right to start at the left defensive end spot. I actually think that Alexander has a very good chance to supplant Hardy because of his ability to stop the run and Hardy will become a rotational pass-rush specialist on third downs. Our depth on the defensive line just got some much needed assistance and Hardy will conceivably get to do what he does best with more strength and energy. Alexander projects to be an every down defensive end for the Panthers if he continues to progress in the same way that he did at Oklahoma. I'm also excited about the trickle down effect this will have in our secondary. Our corners and safeties will be the beneficiaries because it will give them more opportunities to make plays. I certainly can't blame the Panthers for being bold enough to make the move for a guy that they obviously believe will make an immediate impact. How do you feel about the move? Let us know in the poll and the comment section that follows.