While the general league consensus has viewed the Rams’ draft performance through four rounds rather favorably, perhaps no one has benefited more over the past three days than Gregg Williams.
The Rams’ defensive coordinator, who received arguably the best defensive tackle in the draft with the team’s second pick of the first round, has seen a pair of hard-hitting defensive backs join his
Following up their selection of Lamarcus Joyner with their second-round pick, the Rams drafted Utah State safety Maurice Alexander with their fourth-round choice. After addressing needs on either side of the line of scrimmage during the draft’s first round, the Rams have managed to add talent and depth to a position group that has seen a significant overhaul during the past two offseasons.
As a former linebacker, Alexander adds to what is already an aggressive defensive backfield in St. Louis. In his first year as a safety at the collegiate level, Alexander posted 79 total tackles for Utah State, including nine for a loss. While his greatest attribute may be his ability to provide run support and playing in the box, Head Coach Jeff Fisher was bullish on Alexander’s coverage ability, as well.
At 6’2” and 212 pounds, Alexander’s profile fits the mold of a number of Williams-coached defensive backs throughout his various tenures as a defensive coordinator, in addition to his years as a head coach in Buffalo. As a special teamer, Alexander’s speed and tackling ability make him a prime candidate to be used on the Rams’ punt and kickoff coverage teams, which have blossomed into two of the league’s best units under special teams coordinator John Fassel.
For Alexander, a St. Louis native and graduate of Eureka High School in southwest St. Louis County, Saturday’s phone call from General Manager Les Snead was the realization of a long-held dream. Alexander, who worked as a janitor at the Edward Jones Dome during a year away from school at Utah State, would often envision himself starring for his hometown team while at work. While he had little inkling as to where his mid-round draft stock would place him on Sundays this fall, Saturday’s phone call made that vision a reality.
“I’m speechless,” Alexander said. “It was the greatest phone call I’ve ever gotten in my life and I was just so happy that Coach (Fisher) and Mr. (General Manager Les) Snead called me. It was a great feeling. I had no clue.”