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Potential Broncos free agent target: Linebacker Kwon Alexander

If healthy, Kwon Alexander could be a steal in free agency for the Denver Broncos.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

One thing is known as the Broncos near closer to the start of free agency and that is their need of speed and athleticism at the linebacker position as well as likely another starter as well.

It has already been recently reported that the Broncos will not exercise veteran linebacker Brandon Marshall’s contract option making him a free agent once that period opens next month. This leaves veteran Todd Davis and second-year linebacker Josey Jewell as the team’s starters at inside linebacker as they head into free agency. Neither linebacker really fits newly hired Head Coach Vic Fangio’s defense which asks for his linebackers to be athletic, move well in space, and able to cover. Neither Davis or Jewell really have the skill sets to do that.

So I expect General Manager John Elway to search high and low for a linebacker that fits Fangio’s defense this offseason. One name I expect the Broncos to consider is Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker, Kwon Alexander.

Player profile:

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 227lbs

Age: 24 years old

Experience: 4th season

Alexander played his college ball at LSU and had a decent career during his three-year tenure there. During his three seasons at LSU, he totaled 167 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 5 pass deflections, and 3 forced fumbles.

His career at LSU impressed NFL scouts, coaches, and General Manager’s enough that he ended up going in the 4th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He instantly outplayed his draft positioning and totaled 93 tackles, 3 sacks, 9 pass deflections, and 2 interceptions. During his four seasons in the NFL, Alexander has totaled 380 tackles, 31 tackles for a loss, 7 sacks, 17 quarterback hits, 6 interceptions, 22 pass deflections, and 6 forced fumbles.

However, his 2018 season who ended due to a torn ACL after just six games. This was a tough injury for a talented linebacker who was just months away from free agency. It is likely this injury could limit the type of contract he may get in free agency but it also may end up giving some team an absolute steal on a cheap contract for a few years. Could that team be the Broncos?

I think so.

Why it makes sense:

When healthy, Alexander is one of the better and more athletic linebackers in the game. His skill set fits exactly what Vic Fangio asks for from his linebackers. He would also step right in as an experienced starter who is known as a tackling machine.

Alexander was named as the fifth-best linebacker on the free agent market according to Pro Football Focus.

The former LSU product is just 24 heading into free agency, making him worth a look despite limited production. Alexander missed time in 2018 due to injury, so what he can bring to a team will likely be judged on prior production. His past has plenty of positives, including 11 combined pass breakups in 2015 and 2016, three interceptions and no touchdowns allowed in 2017, and double-digit pressures in his first three years in the league. He clearly has the tools to succeed at the NFL level, it’s just a matter of putting them all together to form one solid season.

He should also come at a reduced price because of the injury. Likely will take a shorter deal or even a one-year “prove it deal” from some team. This is the sort of deal I could see the Broncos offering Alexander if they indeed are interested in his services.

Why this doesn’t make sense:

Anytime you have a free agent player coming off an ACL injury it draws some pause from decision makers and fans. Now, the injury isn’t the death sentence that it was a decade or so ago, but it’s still a lengthy return and a concerning injury for someone who relies on speed and athleticism like Alexander does. He will need to prove to teams that he is on track with his recovery and won’t miss a beat once he returns to the field.

Even before the ACL injury, Alexander has had some durability concerns. He has only played in 16 games just once in his career(and it was a damn good season fwiw). I would say he is an undersized linebacker, but modern day linebackers are becoming lighter and quicker like Alexander. However, his smallish stature for a linebacker could lead to more durability concerns down the road.

Final thoughts:

Kwon Alexander is someone I think the Broncos will show some interest in, especially if they cannot land C.J. Mosley in free agency. He fits what Fangio looks for in a linebacker and has a history of high level play in his past. He is also just 24 years old. That is the same age as some rookies who will be drafted in this years NFL draft. HIs best years(if he stays healthy) are likely ahead of him.

I think a one-year “prove it deal” is the way I would go with Alexander. He is coming off an ACL injury and will need to prove he’s back to form before receiving a big money deal.


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