Having looked at each of the Jets’ draft picks in detail, we’re now going to move on to discuss each of their undrafted free agent signings. We begin today with a breakdown of Incarnate Word edge defender Justin Alexandre.
The 21-year old is listed at 6’5” and 256 pounds and was an all-Southland Conference first teamer in 2018. He recorded 11 sacks in his two seasons at UIW, including 8.5 in his senior year.
Alexandre, who is from Elmont, NY, didn’t get any scholarship offers out of high school so he ended up attending ASA Brooklyn at the junior college level.
While he was listed on their roster, initially as a tight end, records indicate he didn’t play much there, as he’s only credited with having made two appearances and two tackles.
At the end of his sophomore year, thanks to a recommendation from his former defensive line coach, he was able to get a transfer to Incarnate Word, where was a rotational player in his junior year and became a full-time starter as a senior.
In 2017, Alexandre made 21 tackles, including 4.5 for loss, with 2.5 sacks. He was also credited with two passes defensed and five hurries.
As a senior, Alexandre had a breakout year, as Incarnate Word - who had been 1-10 in 2017 - improved to 6-5, losing in the first round of the postseason. Alexandre contributed 55 tackles including 12.5 for loss, with 8.5 sacks and two passes defensed. He also forced three fumbles.
Alexandre was invited to participate in the 2019 College Gridiron Showcase, but was not a combine attendee and didn’t play in any other all-star games.
Following the draft, Alexandre was signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent; their only Division II player from this year’s UDFA haul.
Now let’s take a look at what Alexandre brings to the table, divided into categories.
Alexandre bulked up for his pro day at the end of March, as he measured in at 267 pounds. He had only been 255 at the College Gridiron Showcase in early January.
His pro day workout numbers were quite disappointing though, as he only ran a 4.94 and his explosiveness and agility numbers were slightly below average. He posted a decent number in the bench press though, with 23 reps.
Alexandre has excellent length, with his arms being over 34 inches long and his wingspan just under 82 inches.
Alexandre played a variety of techniques, sometimes matching up with a guard inside, while at other times lining up wide to rush off the edge.
He played primarily with his hand in the dirt in 2017, but started to play more as a stand-up linebacker on the edge in 2018. He has said he prefers this and attributed the success in his senior year to being more comfortable within that role.
As noted, he seems to have been originally listed as a tight end while at the junior college level.
Alexandre gives good effort, shows relentlessness and doesn’t give up on plays. Here’s a good example of that mindset in action.
He’s also shown to be capable of handling a large workload, as he played 50 or more snaps in two of UIW’s three games against Division I opposition in 2018.
Alexandre is blessed with good length and he uses this well to free himself from his blocker. He can create some good pressure off the edge and shows a good ability to accelerate around the corner.
He also displays some ability to transition from speed-to-power or to get some traction with a bull rush.
Level of competition is obviously a concern, but he fared reasonably well in three games against Division I opposition in 2018 as he recorded 10 total pressures, albeit with no sacks.
Alexandre has said his idol and the player he models his game after is former Giant Justin Tuck.
Alexandre has also had some production against the run, especially in his senior year. He’s particularly adept at coming downhill and does a good job in pursuit.
However, there are times where he gets swallowed up by blockers in the trenches and pad level can be an issue at times. On this play, he tries to shoot a gap, but the right tackle just uses his momentum against him to take him down and create a running lane.
When Alexandre keeps his pad level low, he can demonstrate some good technique in the running game. Once again, he is able to use his length to his advantage, extending his arms to get separation on this play.
While Alexandre has a developing toolbox of pass rush moves, including straight-arm, arm over and rip moves, this is something he can continue to refine at the next level with a view towards mastering some of these moves. On this play, he sets up for an outside rush and then shows quickness on a jab-step to the inside.
Alexandre seems to be a solid tackler who will wrap up his man and take him down, while also being able to use his long wingspan to extend his range. He shows impressive strength to complete this play.
He had a few missed tackles in the available footage, but generally made the play most of the time.
Alexandre doesn’t have a lot of experience of dropping into coverage so far in his career. He had a few passes defensed, but these were primarily from batted balls at the line.
On this play, he dropped off the line and pursued the receiver to the outside to make a tackle to force a punt.
Alexandre has described himself as intelligent and the footage seems to back that up. He makes a lot of plays where he is disciplined and stay at home to react quickly to play fakes and read option looks.
Here’s a good example of him battling with his blocker but keeping his head up and his eyes on the ball the whole time so that he is able to make the play.
Alexandre didn’t play much on special teams at UIW, but made a special teams tackle on his only play in kick coverage against Fresno State in his first ever game for them.
Otherwise, he only really contributed by being on the field when the other team was kicking field goals and extra points. He’ll need to do more than that to have a chance at impressing the Jets in preseason.
Alexandre is a high-energy player who was considered a leader at UIW. He is said to be mature and has a team-focused approach. He has said he’s been inspired by his mother’s courageous battle against cancer.
On the field, he’s an intense competitor, but plays with discipline and doesn’t seem to have issues with penalty flags.
Alexandre played in every game while he was at UIW. As noted, not much information is available about his time at ASA but it seems like he barely played. That may or may not have been due to injury though.
Alexandre’s versatility should serve him well early on, but he’ll need to adjust to the added complexity of pro-level defenses, as well as learning to drop and cover on a more regular basis.
It’s extremely difficult to scout lower-level players because it can be impossible to place their contributions into context. Alexandre has many impressive plays on his highlight reel, but he’s primarily taking advantage of speed or power advantages or sloppy technical play from his blockers that he isn’t likely to see replicated at the pro level.
His length is good and he shows some burgeoning ability to use that to his advantage. That’s the kind of attribute coaches will figure they can work with and try to build a foundation around. His improvement from 2017 to 2018 is also a good sign of his potential.
However, this player is an extreme long-shot to make any short-term contributions. If he can make it to preseason and then display that he has some upside, a practice squad spot could be his ultimate goal.