Adonis Alexander wanted teams to know one thing leading up to the supplemental draft: He had learned his lesson in college.
The Redskins sufficiently believed him, using a 2019 sixth-round pick Wednesday to select the Virginia Tech cornerback.
Alexander was in the draft because he was ruled academically ineligible for his redshirt senior season. He also was arrested on a marijuana charge in 2016, but said he has passed "eight or nine" drug tests in recent months.
Had he run faster than 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, they would have used a higher pick to get him.
The Redskins have a strong connection to Alexander. His first college defensive backs coach at Virginia Tech, Torrian Gray, now coaches the Washington secondary. Alexander's agent, Andy Ross, has nine clients on the Washington roster and a strong relationship with the organization. And the Redskins drafted two of Alexander’s teammates -- Tim Settle and Greg Stroman -- in April. In fact, Alexander was playing the video game "Fortnite" with Settle when he learned the Redskins had selected him.
The Redskins also met with Alexander and his father a handful of times throughout the process. They envision him as a physical press corner, thanks to his 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame. But a key for Alexander is showing that any off-field concerns are left in the past.
"I definitely made a lot of changes from my freshman year,” Alexander said. “I came in as an immature high schooler. I ended up coming in a semester early; I graduated high school a semester early and ended up enrolling into [Virginia] Tech. So I definitely feel like I came in immature. I definitely matured throughout the past year and the situations have nothing but built better character, made me stronger, made me want to persevere through this whole process even more than I did before."
Alexander didn’t point to any specific changes, but said it was mostly about maturing.
"I became more consistent with doing the right thing,” he said. “Definitely being more mature and treating this like a job, not just a hobby."
Alexander said he liked being able to talk directly to teams so they could hear his story.
"Just be completely honest with them. Let them know everything. How I felt about it,” he said.
“I was actually glad that I got to do the talking because the media might not put the best spotlight on me, so the fact that I got to express myself to them personally and let them know firsthand what happened. Basically was upfront with them about everything and they appreciated it."
In Washington, he’ll have a chance to win a job as the fifth corner. Barring a problem in camp, it's unlikely the team would cut him. The Redskins don’t have a corner with his size, someone who could help in red zone situations, if nothing else.
But it’s a good fit because of the familiarity.
"I’m very comfortable with them. This is a golden opportunity for me,” he said. “Being able to play with Coach Gray, being able to play with former teammates, I feel like it was the best opportunity I could’ve gotten."