Kwon Alexander

American football player (born 1994)

American football player
Kwon Alexander
refer to caption
Alexander with the San Francisco 49ers in 2019
Personal information
Born: (1994-08-03) August 3, 1994 (age 29)
Oxford, Alabama, U.S.
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:227 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school:Oxford
College:LSU (2012–2014)
Position:Linebacker
NFL draft:2015 / Round: 4 / Pick: 124
Career history
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2015–2018)
  • San Francisco 49ers (2019–2020)
  • New Orleans Saints (2020–2021)
  • New York Jets (2022)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (2023)
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2023
Tackles:631
Sacks:13.5
Forced fumbles:12
Fumble recoveries:5
Pass deflections:34
Interceptions:9
Defensive touchdowns:1
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Kwon Alexander (born August 3, 1994) is an American football linebacker who is a free agent. He played college football at LSU. He was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft. Alexander has also played for the San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, and New York Jets.

Early years

Alexander attended Oxford High School in Oxford, Alabama. An impact player on the defensive side of the ball, Alexander missed most of his 2011 senior campaign with a knee injury after posting 144 tackles, 17 sacks, and six forced fumbles (three recoveries) as a junior in 2010. Oxford finished the season 12–2, advancing the AHSAA Class 6A state semi-finals where they lost 32–22 to Marlon Humphrey's Hoover. Alexander participated in the Under Armour All-American Game as a member of the black team. He was chosen as a finalist for the High School Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s top linebacker. He was also named to the 2011 ESPN All-Alabama Football Team and was a Class 6A All-State Football Team Honorable Mention.[1]

Alexander was also a state qualifier in track & field at Oxford. At the 2011 AHSAA 6A Section 4, he posted personal-best times of 11.24 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 22.99 seconds in the 200-meter dash, placing 9th and 7th, respectively.[2]

Regarded as a four-star prospect according to ESPN.com, Rivals.com, and Scout.com, Alexander was ranked No. 19 in the 2012 Scout.com Final Southeast Top 150. He was ranked No. 45 in the Press-Register Super Southeast 120 and No. 29 in the 2012 ESPNU 150. He was listed in the MaxPreps 2012 Top 100. He was rated as Alabama’s No. 3 prospect by ESPN.com, No. 11 by Rivals.com, and No. 6 by 247Sports.com. Nationally, ESPN.com and Scout.com rated him as the No. 3 linebacker, 247sports.com rated him as the nation’s No. 9 linebacker, while Rivals.com rated him at No. 20.[3] He committed to Louisiana State University (LSU) to play college football.[4]

College career

Alexander attended LSU from 2012 to 2014. As a true freshman, he played in seven games with two starts and had 12 tackles. As a sophomore, he started nine of 13 games. He finished the season with 65 tackles.[5] As a junior, Alexander led the team with 92 tackles and had 1.5 sacks.[6] After his junior season, Alexander entered the 2015 NFL draft.[7]

Professional career

Pre-draft

On December 31, 2014, Alexander announced on his Twitter account his decision to forgo his senior season and enter the 2015 NFL draft.[8] Alexander was one of 33 collegiate linebackers to attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. Alexander completed all of the necessary drills, finishing second among all linebackers in the 40-yard dash, sixth in the bench press and short shuttle, and ninth in the three-cone drill.[9]

External videos
video icon Kwon Alexander's NFL Combine workout

On March 27, 2015, Alexander attended LSU's pro day, but opted to stand on his combine numbers and only performed positional drills for team representatives and scouts from all 32 NFL teams, including Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach Mike Tomlin and general managers from the Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, and Steelers.[10] During the draft process, he attended only one private visit with the San Francisco 49ers.[11] At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Alexander was projected to be a third round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked the second best outside linebacker prospect in the draft by NFL analyst Charles Davis and was ranked sixth best outside linebacker in the draft by NFLDraftScouts.com, and was ranked the seventh best linebacker by Matt Miller of NFLDraftScout.com.[12][13][14]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 0+34 in
(1.85 m)
227 lb
(103 kg)
30+14 in
(0.77 m)
9+14 in
(0.23 m)
4.55 s 1.58 s 2.68 s 4.20 s 7.14 s 36 in
(0.91 m)
10 ft 1 in
(3.07 m)
24 reps
All values from NFL Combine and Pro Day[15]
External videos
video icon Buccaneers select Kwon Alexander

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Alexander with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015

2015 season

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Alexander in the fourth round (124th overall) of the 2015 NFL draft. The Buccaneers traded their fourth (128th overall) and seventh round (218th overall) picks to the Oakland Raiders in order to move up four spots and select Alexander.[16] He was the 11th linebacker drafted in 2015.[17] On May 12, 2015, the Buccaneers signed Alexander to a four-year, $2.75 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $478,322.[18]

Alexander entered training camp, competing for the job as the starting strongside linebacker against Danny Lansanah. After performing well, he was moved to middle linebacker to compete for the starting role against veteran Bruce Carter.[19][20] Head coach Lovie Smith named Alexander the starting middle linebacker alongside outside linebackers Lavonte David and Lansanah.[21]

Alexander made his NFL debut and first NFL start in the season-opener against the Tennessee Titans and recorded five combined tackles and a pass deflection during a 42–14 loss. Two weeks later, he recorded ten combined tackles, two pass deflections, and made his first NFL interception off of a pass attempt by Ryan Mallett in a 19–9 road loss to the Houston Texans. During Week 5, Alexander made five combined tackles, two pass deflections, and made his first NFL sack on Blake Bortles as the Buccaneers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 38–31. Prior to Week 8, Alexander's younger brother, Broderick Taylor, had been murdered just two days prior.[22] He started the following game and recorded 11 combined tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and an interception during a 23–20 road victory over the Atlanta Falcons.[23] His efforts earned him the title of NFC Defensive Player of the Week. On December 7, Alexander was given a four-game ban for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances and missed the last four games of the season (Weeks 14–17).[24]

Alexander finished his rookie year with 93 combined tackles (59 solo), nine pass deflections, three sacks, and two interceptions in 12 games and starts.[25] He also had an overall grade of 31.6 from Pro Football Focus.[26] The Buccaneers finished fourth in the NFC South with a 6–10 record and Lovie Smith was fired at the end of the season.[27]

2016 season

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was promoted to head coach and hired former Falcons head coach Mike Smith as defensive coordinator.[28] Smith retained Alexander as starting middle linebacker to begin the regular season.

Alexander started in the season-opener at the Falcons and recorded 17 combined tackles and a sack in a 31–24 victory. Two weeks later, he made seven combined tackles and returned an interception off of Case Keenum 38 yards for his first NFL touchdown during a 37–32 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. During Week 8, Alexander recorded a season-high 14 solo tackles and broke up a pass in a 30–24 overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders. During Week 15, he recorded a career-high 21 combined tackles (11 solo) in a 26–20 road loss against the Dallas Cowboys.

Alexander finished his second professional season ranking fourth in the league in tackles with 145 combined (108 solo). He also had seven pass deflections, three sacks, and an interception in 16 games and starts.[25] He earned an overall grade of 77.3 from Pro Football Focus and was their most improved second-year linebackers.[29]

2017 season

Alexander started in the season-opener against the Chicago Bears and recorded a solo tackle, a pass deflection, and intercepted former teammate Mike Glennon during a 29–7 victory.[30] He left the game after sustaining a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the next four games (Weeks 3–6).[31] In Week 15, Alexander recorded a season-high 13 solo tackles as the Buccaneers lost to the Falcons by a score 24–21.[32]

Alexander finished his third season with 97 combined tackles (70 solo), four pass deflections, and a career-high three interceptions in 12 games and starts. On January 16, 2018, he was named to his first Pro Bowl replacing injured Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.[33] Pro Football Focus gave Alexander an overall grade of 68.0, ranking him 48th among all qualifying linebackers in 2017.[34]

2018 season

Alexander started the first six games of the season before suffering a season-ending torn ACL in Week 7. He was placed on injured reserve on October 22, 2018.[35]

Alexander finished the season with 45 tackles, two sacks, two pass deflections, and a sack in six games and starts.

San Francisco 49ers

On March 13, 2019, the San Francisco 49ers signed Alexander to a four-year, $54 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $4 million and $25.50 million guaranteed.[36][37][38]

Alexander (right) with the 49ers in 2019

During Week 1 against his former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Alexander made a helmet-to-helmet hit against former teammate Jameis Winston, and was disqualified as a result.[39] Prior to being ejected, Alexander made three tackles in the season-opening 31–17 road victory.[40] In the next game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Alexander recorded his first interception of the season off of Andy Dalton in the 41–17 road victory.[41] During Week 7 against the Washington Redskins, Alexander forced a fumble on running back Adrian Peterson that was recovered by teammate Jullian Taylor in the 9–0 road victory.[42] Two weeks later against the Arizona Cardinals, he left the eventual 28–25 road victory with an apparent chest injury. The next day, Alexander was diagnosed with a torn pectoral and was placed on injured reserve.[43][44]

Alexander was designated for return from injured reserve on January 2, 2020, and began practicing with the team again.[45] On January 10, 2020, the 49ers activated Alexander off injured reserve the day before the NFC Divisional Game against the Vikings.[46] He helped the 49ers defeat both the Vikings and Green Bay Packers to advance to Super Bowl LIV, where he recorded a tackle and pass deflection in the 31–20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

New Orleans Saints

On November 2, 2020, the San Francisco 49ers traded Alexander to the Saints in exchange for a fifth-round conditional pick in the 2021 NFL draft and linebacker Kiko Alonso.[47] He was named a starter in Week 10, and started the next seven games before suffering a torn Achilles in Week 16. He was placed on injured reserve on December 28, 2020.[48]

On March 16, 2021, the Saints released Alexander.[49] On August 3, 2021, the New Orleans Saints brought back Alexander and signed him to a one-year, $1.12 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $387,500.[50] He was placed on injured reserve on September 17, 2021, with an elbow injury.[51] He was activated on October 25.

New York Jets

On August 2, 2022, the Jets signed Alexander to a one year, $1.27 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $152,500.[52][18]He played in all 17 of New York's games, starting 12 and racking up 69 tackles.

Pittsburgh Steelers

On July 30, 2023, the Steelers signed Alexander to a one-year, $1.31 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $152,500.[53][18]

On November 2, 2023, in a Week 9 Thursday Night Football game against the Titans, Alexander made the game-sealing interception of Titans quarterback Will Levis to cement the Steelers' 20–16 home victory.[54]

On November 12, 2023, in the Week 10 game against the Green Bay Packers, Alexander suffered suffered a season-ending torn Achilles.[55] Two days later, the Steelers place him on injured reserve.[56]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
Bold Career high
Regular season statistics
Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck Int Yds Avg Lng TD PD FF FR Yds TD
2015 TB 12 12 93 59 44 3.0 2 15 7.5 15 0 9 2 1 20 0
2016 TB 16 16 145 108 37 3.0 1 38 38.0 38T 1 7 1 1 4 0
2017 TB 12 12 97 70 27 0.0 3 70 23.3 28 0 4 1 0 0 0
2018 TB 6 6 45 34 11 1.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0
2019 SF 8 8 34 22 12 0.5 1 0 0.0 0 0 4 1 0 0 0
2020 SF 5 5 30 22 8 0.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
NO 7 7 27 17 10 0.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 4 1 2 20 0
2021 NO 12 8 50 39 11 3.5 1 0 0.0 0 0 2 1 1 8 0
2022 NYJ 17 12 67 42 27 0.5 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
2023 PIT 9 2 41 32 9 1.0 1 0 0.0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
Career 104 88 631 445 186 13.5 9 123 13.7 38T 1 34 12 5 52 0
Postseason statistics
Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck Int Yds Avg Lng TD PD FF FR Yds TD
2019 SF 3 2 3 3 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Career 3 2 3 3 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

References

  1. ^ "Kwon Alexander Bio". LSUsports.net. Archived from the original on October 19, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  2. ^ "AHSAA 6A – Section 4". AlabamaRunners.
  3. ^ "Kwon Alexander". yahoo.com.
  4. ^ "Top 100 LB Kwon Alexander picks LSU - CBSSports.com". CBSSports.com.
  5. ^ "Speed and experience make LSU veteran LBs Kwon Alexander, Jesuit grad Deion Jones key parts of a revitalized defense". NOLA.com. August 7, 2014.
  6. ^ "LSU's leading tackler Kwon Alexander to enter the 2015 NFL draft". NOLA.com. January 2015.
  7. ^ "LSU linebacker, Oxford native Kwon Alexander skipping senior season for NFL draft". AL.com. January 2015.
  8. ^ si wire (January 1, 2015). "LSU's Kwon Alexander, Jalen Collins declare for NFL Draft". si.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  9. ^ Brady, James (February 22, 2015). "NFL Combine 2015: Full results for linebackers". sbnation.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  10. ^ Gil Brandt (March 28, 2015). "LSU's Danielle Hunter wows scouts with dazzling pro-day display". NFL.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  11. ^ Brady, James (April 27, 2015). "2015 NFL Draft visit tracker: Which teams are the prospects meeting with?". sbnation.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  12. ^ "*Kwon Alexander, DS #6 OLB, LSU". nfldraftscout.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  13. ^ Davis, Charles (April 1, 2015). "2015 NFL Draft prospect rankings by position". NFL.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  14. ^ Miller, Matt (April 29, 2015). "NFL Draft Big Board 2015: Matt Miller's Final Rankings". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  15. ^ "*Kwon Alexander – LSU, OLB : 2015 NFL Draft Scout External News". nfldraftscout.com.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "2015 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved May 15, 2023.
  17. ^ Sharp, Katie (May 2, 2015). "NFL Draft results 2015: Kwon Alexander taken by Buccaneers after trade". sbnation.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  18. ^ a b c "Spotrac.com: Kwon Alexander contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  19. ^ "Rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander works with Bucs starters". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  20. ^ Yasinskas, Pat (August 14, 2015). "Rookie Kwon Alexander making push to start at MLB". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  21. ^ "Ourlads.com: Tampa Bay Buccaneers' depth chart: 10/01/2015". Ourlads.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  22. ^ "Family, friends mourn loss of Oxford High School student". wvtm13.com. Archived from the original on May 15, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  23. ^ "NFL Player stats: Kwon Alexander (2015)". NFL.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  24. ^ "Kwon Alexander will miss Buccaneers' final four games with suspension". Bucs Nation. December 7, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  25. ^ a b "NFL Player stats: Kwon Alexander (career)". NFL.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  26. ^ Monsoon, Sam (June 13, 2016). "Kwon Alexander wasn't as good as you think". profootballfocus.com. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  27. ^ "Buccaneers fire coach Lovie Smith". ESPN.com. January 7, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  28. ^ Jones, Jonathan (December 16, 2016). "How Mike Smith found new NFL life in Tampa Bay at the helm of Bucs' surging defense". si.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  29. ^ Mott, Bonnie (February 19, 2017). "Kwon Alexander is Pro Football Focus' most improved second-year LB". bucswire.usatoday.com. Archived from the original on February 24, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  30. ^ "Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - September 17th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  31. ^ Auman, Greg (October 4, 2017). "Bucs' Kwon Alexander to miss third straight game with injury". tampabay.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  32. ^ "NFL Player stats: Kwon Alexander (2017)". NFL.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  33. ^ "Kwon Alexander headed to Pro Bowl, replacing Bobby Wagner". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  34. ^ "Pro Football Focus: Kwon Alexander". profootballfocus.com. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  35. ^ Smith, Scott (October 22, 2018). "Kwon Alexander, Jack Cichy Out for the Season". Buccaneers.com. Archived from the original on February 26, 2021. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  36. ^ Patra, Kevin (March 11, 2019). "Niners to sign LB Kwon Alexander to massive contract". NFL.com.
  37. ^ "49ers Acquire DL Dee Ford, Sign LB Kwon Alexander". 49ers.com. March 13, 2019.
  38. ^ "Spotrac.com". Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  39. ^ "Alexander ejected vs. former team". NFL. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  40. ^ "Sherman, 49ers upend Winston, Buccaneers 31-7". www.espn.com. September 8, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  41. ^ "Garoppolo throws 3 TDs, 49ers roll over Bengals 41-17". www.espn.com. September 15, 2019. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  42. ^ "49ers beat Redskins in ugly 9-0 game to improve to 6-0". www.espn.com. October 20, 2019. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  43. ^ Wagoner, Nick (November 1, 2019). "49ers LB Kwon Alexander out for season with torn pectoral". ESPN.com.
  44. ^ "49ers Announce Roster Moves". 49ers.com. November 5, 2019.
  45. ^ Martin, Keiana (January 2, 2020). "Kwon Alexander Sought Advice from J.J. Watt as Both Eye Postseason Returns". 49ers.com. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  46. ^ "49ers Activate LB Kwon Alexander, Place DL Kentavius Street on Injured Reserve". 49ers.com. January 10, 2020.
  47. ^ "49ers Announce Trade". 49ers.com. November 2, 2020. Archived from the original on February 28, 2021. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  48. ^ Williams, Charean (December 28, 2020). "Saints place Kwon Alexander on IR". Pro Football Talk. NBC Sports.
  49. ^ "Saints terminate contract of linebacker Kwon Alexander". NewOrleansSaints.com. March 16, 2021. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  50. ^ "New Orleans Saints re-sign linebacker Kwon Alexander and waive linebacker Kendall Donnerson". NewOrleansSaints.com. August 5, 2021.
  51. ^ Shook, Nick (September 17, 2021). "Saints place DE Marcus Davenport (shoulder), LB Kwon Alexander (elbow) on injured reserve". NFL.com.
  52. ^ Alper, Josh (July 28, 2022). "Kwon Alexander agrees to sign with Jets". NBCSports.com.
  53. ^ Kozora, Alex (July 30, 2023). "Steelers Officially Sign LB Kwon Alexander, Release OL Jarrid Williams". SteelersDepot.com. Retrieved July 30, 2023.
  54. ^ Pryor, Brooke; Davenport, Turron (November 3, 2023). "Steelers shut door in fourth quarter, continue Titans' road skid". ESPN.com.
  55. ^ Pryor, Brooke; Davenport, Turron (November 12, 2023). "Source: Steelers LB Kwon Alexander suffers torn Achilles". ESPN.com.
  56. ^ Varley, Teresa (November 14, 2023). "Steelers make roster moves". Steelers.com.

External links

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