New Orleans Saints: First-round NFL Draft prospects worth watching

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Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

  1. Vadal Alexander, Offensive Lineman, LSU

Age as a Rookie: 22 (Birthday in March).

Listed Height, Weight: 6-foot-6, 320 pounds.

Vadal Alexander is one of the more physically-imposing draft prospects of the 2016 class.  The mammoth lineman towers over the fields and has all the traits you look for in a quality guard — he revels in physical contact and mauls anyone in his way.  Like La’el Collins of last year’s draft debacle, Alexander has played all over LSU’s offensive line and has been a big part of Heisman Trophy favorite Leonard Fournette averaging 4.5 yards before contact on the year.

Where He Wins:  Alexander wins in the trenches where his uncommon size, strength, and surprising short-area speed gives him an advantage over his less-athletic opponents.  There are some warts to Alexander’s game so far as refined technique (identifying and reacting to blitzing defenders from the back seven, also leaning too far out of his stance and getting unbalanced), but he could immediately step into most lineups as a starting-quality guard.  Another issue with Alexander may be his weight; conflicting reports state that he is playing at anywhere from 320 to 342 pounds.

Surrounding Alexander with veteran teammates like Terron Armstead and Max Unger would do a lot to develop him at the next level.  He would also give the New Orleans Saints another young asset to build a team around.  Perhaps nothing speaks more for Alexander’s prospects for the NFL as him staying out of the news and avoiding having his name called for penalties.

Next: 2. Great, but can anybody get after opposing quarterbacks?