Rams bring safety Maurice Alexander home

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Just two years ago, Maurice Alexander was working in the Edward Jones Dome as a janitor, cleaning up after St. Louis Rams home games.

The St. Louis native, who attended Eureka High, had been suspended from the Utah State football team for his role in a fight with a teammate and returned home to spend a year refocusing on his future. To make ends meet, Alexander took the job.

On Saturday afternoon, Alexander got another job at the Edward Jones Dome, but this one would qualify as far more glamorous than the last. The Rams tabbed Alexander with their fourth-round pick, No. 110 overall in hopes that he can upgrade their secondary

"That’s what really motivated me, seeing myself working there and being around that field," Alexander said. "I’ve done that since I was a younger kid, it’s just a dream come true. Every time I went to work, I always sat on the end of the field, and I looked at it like, 'This could be my dream spot.' Look where I’m at now.”

Alexander's journey back to St. Louis has seen him bounce around on the football field. He started as a defensive end in high school and junior college, moved to linebacker upon arrival at Utah State before the fight incident took him out of the game for the 2012 season.

So Alexander returned to St. Louis and looked for any job that would keep him busy and money in his pockets. By the time he returned to Utah State, Alexander was asked to change positions, moving to safety at the start of the 2013 season.

Alexander took to his new position without much trouble, racking up 11 tackles in his first game against Utah. When the season was through, the 6-foot-2, 212-pounder had established himself as a physical presence on the back end. He finished with 80 tackles, nine for loss and 3.5 sacks.

During the pre-draft process, the Rams brought Alexander to Rams Park for a "local" visit and put him through a workout. They were quickly satisfied with what he brought to the field as a player, but had to dig a little deeper to ensure that Alexander wouldn't be a character risk off it.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Alexander's fight was with a teammate, but the two were friends and the incident wasn't anything more than a one-time issue.

"It’s going to be a cool story because he’s from here, grew up here and the whole Dome thing, but you can tell he’s got a passion for football," general manager Les Snead said. "Anytime you’re probably young and go through something like that, that’s adversity that you’ve got to have some grit to get through it. I think you love the passion that, 'I really want this opportunity,' so I think he’s really, really jacked to be a Ram because it means something to him. He got to come in, we got to know him probably better than anybody because of the local workout and all of that."

The question now becomes where Alexander fits in the defense. With his size and physical style of play, Alexander would seem to fit the mold of a strong safety, but the Rams drafted one of those last year in T.J. McDonald, who is already penciled in as a starter.

Fisher has said many times that the two safety spots are interchangeable in the Rams' defense, which could allow the Rams to use Alexander in tandem with McDonald. In the meantime, he figures to chip in on special teams right away.

"It’s interchangeable," Fisher said. "He has the range. He’s got the hips. He’s got the ball skills as well."

For now, Alexander is happy to know his football home and actual home are one in the same. Where he lives on the football field will be sorted out later.