Big Frank is my defensive guy to have a breakout season this year. Alexander's stats for last year included 2.5 sacks and 3 passes defended. These numbers were basically produced in the first quarter of the season.
Rookies tend to fade during their first NFL season. They complete tons of combine and pro-day preparation. Go through the stress of the draft. Follow that with a rookie camp. Follow that by a mini-camp. During training camp in the July heat, the rookies tend to play all out at 100%, while the vets are going at 50-75%. This is because the rookies have to fight to make the team or get up the depth chart, and they are trying to make an impression on their teammates and coaches. Then during the four preseason games, the rookies get the bulk of the snaps. By the middle of the NFL season, rookies have almost an entire season of physical activity under their belts.
Charles Johnson is our under-the-radar former mid-draft DE who put up super-star numbers. In CJ's second year, he produced 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 7 passes defended. I believe Big Frank will exceed those numbers this year. He has a year of experience under his belt. With our D-line depth, rotation will be emphasized. With Greg Hardy in a contract year, the Panthers brass will want to see more of what they have in Alexander. Alexander will get significantly more snaps this year. He will be extra motivated to show his worth to the team, with Hardy being in his aforementioned contract year.
He showed improvement every year during his college career, and was the most underrated defensive end in the 2012 draft. I've always been impressed with Derek Leazer's pre-draft analysis of the DE's that year, where Frank finished at the top of the rubric. His mutant wingspan will bat down more passes (83.5 in, 8 PD's as a senior). His non-stop motor will produce splash plays. Working with CJ will allow him to train in the art of the forced fumble. Frank Alexander will show the coaching staff and fans why the organization traded away a 3rd round pick to get him.
My projected 2013 Stats for Frank Alexander:
8 passes defended
2 forced fumbles