Is Kwon Alexander a good fit for the New York Jets?
It’s been around a month since former Saints linebacker Kwon Alexander completed a visit with the New York Jets, yet he remains unsigned.
There have been no further reports of Alexander visiting other teams and although it was reported on May 11 that the Jets remain very interested in adding him, there has been no movement.
Jets very interested in both, per sources. Comes down to them making a decision. https://t.co/Y7MQ2iTgWB
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) May 11, 2022
There are several reasons that could be the case. One would be the compensation. Maybe the Jets and Kwon don’t see his value the same way.
The Jets run a base 4-3 defense, but with the passing attacks in the NFL being what they are, they spent a lot of time in a modified 4-2-5 formation in 2021, which only has two linebackers on the field.
Players want to play and the longer this goes on the more likely the Jets are to get a deal done if no other team shows interest. Of course, that’s if the Jets are motivated to get a deal done.
If the Jets do decide to sign Kwon Alexander, what would they be getting in the seven-year veteran out of LSU?
Analyzing Kwon Alexander’s resume
A fourth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015, Alexander showed a huge amount of potential over the first three years of his career, in particular as a coverage linebacker. His instincts and nose for the ball resulted in him being selected to the Pro Bowl in 2017, a season where he put up 97 tackles and three interceptions.
Unfortunately for Kwon, his momentum and trajectory were derailed by a series of injuries.
In 2018 he tore his left ACL, in 2019 it was a torn pectoral, and in 2020 it was a combination of a bicep injury, high ankle sprain, and then an Achilles injury. In 2021 it was elbow troubles. All of this has added up to him starting just 34 games over the last four years, which averages 8.5 per season.
So, there are significant injury concerns there, and injuries don’t tend to get better as you get older. But, saying that, he did appear in 12 games in 2021, starting eight.
Alexander played well for New Orleans next to former Jets linebacker Demario Davis. Pro Football Focus gave him a 67.6 coverage grade which is significantly better than the two Jets starters. C.J. Mosley sat at 50.2 and Quincy Williams earned a 47.9.
Kwon was targeted 42 times last season and allowed 31 completions for 322 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception (85.6 passer rating).
Over the course of his seven-year career, Alexander has almost as many interceptions (8) as he does touchdowns allowed (9) and his total of 22 passes defended shows that he has a natural feel in coverage to get into passing lanes.
Kwon’s run defense has always been sketchy and his 18.4% career missed tackle rate is a testament to that, but he does have 14 career sacks including four in 2021, so there is some pass-rush talent there.
The emergence in New Orleans of Pete Werner (a 2021 second-round pick) made Alexander expendable. Although there is believed to be some interest in bringing him back, the Jets are largely the main players here as far as we’re aware.
Robert Saleh worked with Alexander in San Francisco between 2019 and 2020. Alexander came back from injury to play in the 2019-20 post-season to help the 49ers reach the Super Bowl. Although, according to PFF, the Super Bowl was his lowest graded game of the season (24.6); not the best time to have a bad game.
The Jets’ ability to defend the pass from the LB position was a big issue last season and while I’m keen to see how Quincy can improve in that area with his athleticism, I’m also keen to have a more proven commodity in the building and Alexander is that.