04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Panthers' picks: Round 4/103 -- Frank Alexander, DE, 6-4, 270, Oklahoma...Has shown good pass-rush ability (15.5 sacks last two years), and is known as a hard worker and solid character guy, with long arms and all the physical traits you're looking for. Has a chance to contribute in a thin group. - The Sports Xchange
Alexander was a three-star defensive end/tight end recruit out of high school, choosing Oklahoma over Auburn, LSU and Miami. After redshirting in 2007, he saw substantial playing time in 2008 as a RS freshman with 5 starts, recording 26 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble, earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors. Alexander was again a rotational starter in 2009 as a sophomore, finishing with 23 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery (returned for a TD). His playing time increased in 2010 as a junior with 9 starts, recording 39 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Alexander had his best season in 2011 as a senior with 13 starts, finishing with 54 tackles, 1 interception, 3 forced fumbles and a career- and team-best 19.0 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, earning First Team All-Big 12 honors and was the conference's Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Alexander is a solid overall athlete with an active, attacking motor, but lacks any dynamic qualities to be consistently effective against NFL blockers. He had a career-year in 2011 and played inspired, really benefiting from the fifth year, but where was this intensity the past few years. Alexander continued to grow on me as a pro prospect throughout his senior season and could be considered a late bloomer, but doesn't have a high ceiling at the next level because of his very ordinary measureables and skill-set - a hard working rusher worth a mid-to-late round draft pick, but will face an uphill battle to see playing time in the pros.
Strengths: Has fluid footwork to redirect and change his momentum, showing good pursuit and chase skills with closing burst - plays fast and doesn't let up. He has quick get-off speed and is routinely the first defensive lineman off the ball - very good snap anticipation, timing-up the snap count. Alexander flashes strength at the point of attack with active, violent hand usage and doesn't give up on his pass rush - forceful with his upper body to defeat blocks. He plays with very good effort and energy - strong hustle player and doesn't quit on plays. Alexander is aggressive with good awareness to track the ball and attack. He is tenacious and tough, showing an improved intensity and motor. Alexander is competitive and versatile, lining up in either the two or three-point stance and moving inside to the three-technique in passing situations - very good at gaining inside leverage by shooting the gaps. He showed improvement against the run as a senior, holding contain and playing stout at the point of attack. Alexander does a nice job elevating and getting his hands into the passing lanes to deflect passes (14 career passes broken up in college). He had an extremely productive senior season, tallying team-highs in sacks (8.5) and tackles for loss (19.0) ... awarded as the Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12.
Weaknesses: Alexander has only average size and strength and needs to add bulk to his upper and lower body. He isn't a sudden athlete with very ordinary flexibility and fluidity ... not overly explosive and lacks the speed to consistently win the edge. Alexander is an upright rusher and plays too high - not a natural bender and pops too upright off the snap. He has limited power and struggles to disengage blocks ... not overpowering in any aspect of his game. Alexander is too aggressive, biting on fakes and allowing himself to be caught out of position. He has poor leverage against the run and can be washed out of the play ... too easily redirected. Alexander needs to consistently finish and complete the tackle. He had only one season of elite production ... somewhat of a one-year wonder.
NFL Comparison: Jammie Kirlew, Jacksonville Jaguars
-- Dane Brugler