2015 NFL DRAFT
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Jay Alford

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 304 | College: Penn State
 
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Overview

Over the past five years, defensive linemen Michael Haynes, Anthony Adams and Matthew Rice have captured the O'Hora Award as the Nittany Lions' most improved player on defense. Alford was selected for the O'Hora honor in 2005 and hopes to join that trio in realizing his dream of playing in the NFL in 2007.

Alford was a three-year starter at Orange High School, where he was selected first-team All-State, U.S. Army All-American and was listed among the G&W Recruiting Report Top 50 defensive players in the nation. Alford also was named to the Prep Star Dream Team. As a junior, he made 110 tackles and 13 sacks. During his senior season, he recorded 100 tackles and 12 sacks and caused five fumbles, recovering two.

Alford redshirted as a freshman in 2002 at Penn State. His career got off on the wrong foot, as he suffered a knee sprain in the 2003 season opener against Temple that forced him to miss the next two contests. But he forced his way into the lineup, starting the team's final eight games at right defensive tackle. He finished his first season in a PSU uniform with 25 tackles (12 solos), a sack and 2.5 stops for losses while participating in 481 plays. He also recovered a fumble and deflected three passes.

Alford played in every game in 2004, starting eight contests at left defensive tackle, a position he would man for the rest of his PSU career. He posted 24 tackles (9 solos), 3.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, 1.5 sacks and five pass break-ups in 462 plays. He was part of a defense that was the only school in the Division 1-A ranks to not yield more than 21 points in any game that season.

In addition to receiving the team's O'Hora Award in 2005, Alford was named second-team All-Big Ten Conference. Alford registered a career-high 37 tackles (16 solos), as he ranked second on the team with 8.5 sacks and 11.5 stops for losses. He caused and recovered a fumble, in addition to batting down two passes in 863 plays. His stellar play up front was one of the main reasons the team ranked seventh in the nation, allowing just 93.0 yards per game rushing and ranked eighth nationally with an average of 3.42 quarterbacks sacks per game.

Alford was an Associated Press All-American third-team and All-Big Ten Conference first-team choice in 2006. In his final season, he paced a unit that finished seventh in Division 1-A, allowing only 87.48 yards per game rushing and also ranked sixth nationally with an average of 3.08 sacks per game. He delivered 32 tackles (23 solos) while leading the Lions with eight sacks and 14.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused and recovered two fumbles and deflected a pair of passes.

In 46 games at Penn State, Alford started 41 times. He recorded 118 tackles (60 solos) with four fumble recoveries, returning one for a nine-yard gain. He caused three fumbles, deflected 12 passes and registered three quarterback pressures. He ranks tied with Bruce Clark (1976-79) and LaVar Arrington (1997-99) for eighth on the school's career record list with 19 sacks, good for minus-114 yards. His 32 tackles for losses of 142 yards tied Todd Atkins (1992-95) for 14th in PSU annals.

Analysis

Positives: Has adequate upper body development with a thick chest, thighs and calves and the frame that can add at least 15 pounds with no loss of quickness … Combative type with a quick initial step in attempts to gain advantage … Has very good mobility and range for an interior lineman and could be utilized as a 3-4 defensive end due to his quick first step … Product of the training room, having added 40 pounds of muscle to his frame since arriving on campus as a freshman … Compensates for a lack of strength with a sudden burst that generally puts offensive linemen on their heels coming off the snap … His consistency in getting a jump off the ball and taking good angles let him apply steady pocket pressure … Flashes suddenness to gain advantage and has a good feel for blocking schemes and screens … Active moving down the line and has the closing speed to make plays on ball carriers along the perimeter … One-gap type who flows and fights to get to the ball … Uses his hands effectively to defeat blocks and uses his lateral agility to avoid the opponent on the move … Frees himself well with his feet to close on the ball when engaging single blocks … Routinely chases down plays outside the block, making him a better end candidate than tackle … Quick-twitch player with the ability to quickly diagnose the plays … Active in pursuit, showing a fluid lateral slide and is an effective wrap-up tackler when he stays low in his pads … Intense pass rusher with an array of moves to go along with his mobility in attempts to shoot the inside gaps … When sinking his pads, he is much more effective at gaining leverage on the bull rush … Good second effort type of pass rusher with quick change of direction agility on the move … Shows improvement in keeping his hands active to prevent blockers from latching on … Works hard to replace his hands when engaging blockers … Will close and deliver the big hit flushing out the quarterback (very quick over five yards), flashing that extra surge to seal the deal … Quick reader who won't bite on misdirection or play-action.

Negatives: Gets too high in his stance at times, losing balance and leverage when trying to anchor … Tends to get over-aggressive at times as he tries to out-muscle rather than using his array of spin moves. That causes him to get washed out on the play, as he has marginal strength to anchor or split double teams … Lacks the wide, natural base to play in a two-gap system … Will over-pursue, losing leverage in the process, as he needs to restart to get back into the play rather than flow to the ball … Needs to wrap securely as a tackler, as he lacks explosion behind his hits (does not follow through when delivering a hit) … Lacks the bulk to stack and control playing the interior, but has just short-area quickness, lacking the sustained speed to be effective rushing off the edge … Better when on the move, as his lack of bulk causes him to struggle trying to disengage from multiple blocks … Gets frustrated when his initial move fails and will then throttle down … Good wrap-up tackler when he gets into position to make the play, but more often than not he will get his hands outside his frame, swing wildly, whiff or make arm tackles rather than securing the ball carrier.

Compares To: CLAUDE WROTEN-St. Louis … Alford is a classic overachiever, but lacks the bulk and overall strength to face up and split double teams. He is a move-oriented pass rusher who compensates for a lack of raw power with a quick initial burst to shock offensive linemen and rock his opponents back on their heels. Like Wroten, he might lack the sand in his pants to play regularly in a base defense, but while he is a good interior pass rusher, he lacks the sustained speed to be utilized as a full-time defensive end.

Career Notes

Alford's 19 sacks tied Bruce Clark (1976-79) and LaVar Arrington (1997-99) for eighth on the school's career record list behind Courtney Brown (33, 1996-99), Larry Kubin (30, 1977-80), Michael Haynes (25.5, 1999-2002), Tyoka Jackson (24.5, 1990-93), Matt Millen (22, 1976-79), Todd Atkins (21, 1992-95) and Rich McKenzie (20, 1989-92) … His 32 tackles behind the line of scrimmage tied Todd Atkins for 14th all-time in PSU annals … Alford's 8.5 sacks in 2005 rank 10th on the school's season record list.

2006 Season

All-American third-team selection by the Associated Press, adding honorable mention from The NFL Draft Report … All-Big Ten Conference second-team pick by the league's coaches and media … Started all year at left defensive tackle, recording 32 tackles (23 solos), as he led the team and ranked fourth in the Big Ten with eight sacks for minus 43 yards … Led the Lions and finished seventh in the conference with 14.5 stops for losses of 58 yards … Added one quarterback pressure, two forced fumbles, a pair of fumble recoveries and two pass deflections … Led a unit that ranked 15th in the nation, allowing 284.46 yards per game in total offense, while finishing ninth in scoring defense (14.38 ppg), seventh in rushing defense (87.48 ypg) and sixth in sacks registered (3.08 per game).

2006 Game Analysis

Akron … Opened the season with a pair of tackles, assisting Josh Gaines in sacking QB Luke Getsy for an 8-yard loss on third-&-14, forcing the Zips to punt with 2:37 left in the third quarter … Followed with a stop of Dennis Kennedy for a 1-yard loss on a third-&-6 run with 6:22 remaining in the game … Head to Head Competition-OG#57-Andy Alleman.

Notre Dame … Made three tackles (1 solo) … Head to Head Competition-OG#76-Bob Morton.

Youngstown State … Posted a pair of solo tackles, including a 4-yard sack of QB Tom Zetts at the YSU 26, causing a fumble that Alford recovered at the start of the fourth quarter …

Head to Head Competition-OG#67-Brad Samsa.

Ohio State … Managed just one solo tackle, but helped limit OSU to a season-low 253 yards of total offense … Head to Head Competition-OG#72-T.J. Downing.

Northwestern … Added two solo tackles with a 6-yard sack of QB Andrew Brewer at the NU 10 with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter … Was hit with a 15-yard celebration penalty after he looked like a gymnast with his somersault into the end zone after scooping up a fumble and returning it for a score. But, the play was overturned … Head to Head Competition-OG#52-Joel Belding.

Minnesota … Registered a season-high seven tackles (4 solos) with 1.5 sacks for minus 8 yards and three stops for losses totaling 12 yards … Assisted Josh Gaines in sacking QB Bryan Cupito for a 9-yard loss at the Minnesota 14 late in the first quarter … Tackled tail-back Amir Pinnix for a 1-yard loss on a rushing attempt midway through the second quarter and again took down Pinnix for a 3-yard loss on a rushing attempt with 2:02 left in the first half … Defensive end Tim Shaw told reporters after the game, "Jay Alford is as good as he always is. He took advantage of the guys that were blocking him. He did what he does best. I knew he could do it. He had a big day." … Head to Head Competition-OG#66-Nedward Tavale.

Michigan … Totaled three tackles, one tackle for loss and a pass deflection on the night …

Head to Head Competition-OG#73-Alex Mitchell.

Illinois … Followed with two assisted tackles … Head to Head Competition-OG#67-Matt Maddox.

Purdue … Earned a defensive game ball after posting two sacks and helping limit the Purdue offense, ranked eighth in the nation, to 246 total yards (62 rushing), 202.5 below average, as Alford came up with a pair of sacks for minus 12 yards … Took down QB Curtis Painter for a 7-yard loss early in the fourth quarter and sacked Painter again for a 5-yard loss with 3:34 left in the game … Head to Head Competition-OG#66-Jordan Grimes.

Wisconsin … Delivered three solo tackles with a 2-yard sack and a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage … On the game's first series, Alford sacked QB john Stocco for a 2-yard loss on third-&-11, forcing the Badgers to punt … Took down tailback P.J. Hill for a 1-yard loss at the PSU 25 on a late first quarter rushing attempt … Head to Head Competition-OG#63-Kraig Urbik.

Temple … Managed just one tackle, but caused a fumble that he recovered at the Temple 9, when he stripped the ball from Jason Harper on a 3-yard run with less than seven minutes left in the third quarter … Helped hold Temple to two first downs and 74 total yards, the lowest opponent output in the Paterno Era, as the Owls never crossed the 50-yard line …

Head to Head Competition-OG#79-Dwavon Battle.

Michigan State … Playing in his final regular season game, Alford responded with two solo tackles, including a 7-yard sack of QB Brian Hoyer at the MSU 26 at the start of the third quarter … Alford told reporters about how it felt to see his PSU career come to a close, stating "It was tough. You don't want to be the guy that is crying, but it was tough today. Coming out there of the tunnel, knowing it was the last time was tough. I don't think anyone cried, but inside it was emotional." … Head to Head Competition-OG#73-Roland Martin.

Tennessee (Outback Bowl) … Both of Alford's tackles came behind the line of scrimmage, taking down tailback Montario Hardesty for a 2-yard loss four minutes into the game and then sniffed out the reserve, bringing down receiver Robert Meachem for minus 6 yards on a second quarter run … Head to Head Competition-OG#65-Jacques McClendon.

2005 Season

All-Big Ten Conference second-team selection while starting all twelve games at left tackle … Recipient of the Jim O'Hora Award, presented to the defense's most improved player in the spring … Paced a team that ranked 12th in the nation in total defense (304.67 ypg), tenth in scoring defense (17.0 ppg), seventh in rushing defense (93.0 ypg) and eighth in sacks registered (3.42 per game) … Recorded a career-high 37 tackles (16 solos), as he ranked second on the squad with 8.5 sacks for minus 57 yards and 11.5 stops for losses of 63 yards … Recovered and caused a fumble … Deflected two passes and registered one quarterback pressure while participating in 863 plays.

2005 Game Analysis

Cincinnati … Totaled three tackles, including one that stopped Butler Benton for a 3-yard loss on a first quarter rushing attempt.

Central Michigan … Added three more tackles, as he assisted defensive end Tamba Hali in sacking QB Kent Smith for a 3-yard loss with 2:34 left in the first quarter and teamed with defensive tackle Scott Paxson in sacking Smith for minus 8 yards with 5:27 left in the first half.

Northwestern … Made four tackles, assisting Tamba Hali in sacking QB Brett Basanez for a 4-yard loss on third-&-14 at the PSU 25 with 7:58 left in the second quarter.

Ohio State … Sacked QB Troy Smith for a 7-yard loss with less than eleven minutes left to play, coming up with four tackles and a pass deflection.

Michigan … Totaled a season-high six tackles (3 solos), including a 3-yard sack of QB Chad Henne at the start of the second quarter.

Wisconsin … Deflected a third-&-4 pass thrown by John Stocco with 0:48 left in the first half and sacked Stocco for a 9-yard loss (along with defensive end Matthew Rice) on third-&-12, forcing the Badgers to punt with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter.

Michigan State … All three of his tackles came behind the line of scrimmage … Sacked QB Drew Stanton for an 8-yard loss on third-&-8 at the PSU 21 with 1:35 left in the first quarter … Tackled tailback Jehuu Caulcrick for a 1-yard loss on a run at the start of the fourth quarter and two plays later on third-&-11, he sacked Stanton again for a 13-yard loss.

Florida State (Orange Bowl) … Alford earned ESPN All-Bowl Team honors after he posted four tackles (3 solos) with a 9-yard sack, two stops for minus 10 yards and a forced fumble … On the game's opening drive, he took down Leon Washington for a 1-yard loss on a third-&-10 screen pass, forcing FSU to punt … In the second quarter, he stopped Washington for no gain at the FSU 30 on a rushing attempt and on the next play, he sacked QB Drew Weatherford for an 8-yard loss at the FSU 12, causing a fumble that the Seminoles recovered at their own 14-yard line … Assisted Scott Paxson in sacking Weatherford for a 2-yard loss on third-&-5 six minutes into the second half.

2004 Season

Played in all eleven games, starting eight contests at left defensive tackle … Recorded 24 tackles (9 solos) while competing in 462 plays … Had 1.5 sacks for minus 5 yards, 3.5 stops for losses totaling 9 yards and five pass deflections.

2004 Game Analysis

Alford made a season-best five stops vs. Central Florida … Had four each vs. Minnesota and Indiana, helping keep the Hoosiers out of the end zone on four tries late in the game to preserve the Lions' win.

2003 Season

Rebounded from a knee sprain suffered in the season-opener with Temple to start the final eight games at right defensive tackle … Missed most of the Temple game and all of the Boston College and Nebraska contests … Finished with 25 tackles (12 solos), including a 9-yard sack and 2.5 stops for losses of 12 yards … Also broke up three passes and recovered a fumble … Made a career-best four stops each vs. Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern and Indiana and was on the field for 481 snaps.

2002 Season

Redshirted as a freshman.

Injury Report

2003: Suffered a knee sprain vs. Temple (8/30), sitting out the next two games vs. Boston College and Nebraska.

2006: A right shoulder injury prevented Alford from participating in the 225-pound bench press at the Scouting Combine in February.

Agility Tests

Campus: 5.01 in the 40-yard dash … 340-pound bench press … 500-pound squat … 32 1/2-inch arm length … 9 5/8-inch hands.

Combine: 5.17 in the 40-yard dash … 25 1/2-inch vertical jump … 8'7" broad jump … 4.83 20-yard shuttle run … 7.81 three cone drill … Did not participate in the 225-pound bench press due to a right shoulder injury.

High School

Attended Orange (N.J.) High School, playing football for head coach Randy Daniel … Three-year starter who was selected first-team All-State, U.S. Army All-American and was listed among the G&W Recruiting Report Top 50 defensive players in the nation … Also was named to the Prep Star Dream Team … As a junior, he made 110 tackles and 13 sacks … During his senior season, he recorded 100 tackles and 12 sacks and caused five fumbles, recovering two.

Personal

Graduated in December 2006 with a degree in Integrative Arts … Born Jason Jamaal Alford on 5/28/83 in Orange, New Jersey.

 
 
 

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