Alex McCalister, EDGE
School: Florida | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-6 / 239 lbs
Projected: 5th Round or 6th Round | Actual: 7th Round (Pick 240) by the Philadelphia Eagles
It's hard to tell the type of player Alex McCalister will become in the NFL. Some people compare him to Randy Gregory because of his body type and in a some ways they are very similar. Both are long and lean, they rush from the edge – their play is very raw and uncontrolled, and they both have only had 2 years of meaningful college production in their careers. Both have off the field problems. McCalister was dismissed from Florida for the final 3 games of his Junior year. The team cited he had violated team rules but wouldn't go into details. McCalister ended up applying for early entry to the NFL anyway, but if Randy Gregory can love weed, and Robert Nkemdiche fall out of a 4th story window while intoxicated and not get dismissed from their respective programs it presents a big red flag to me that McCalister did something ridiculous to be dismissed from Florida.
On a more positive note, McCalister has some obvious talent rushing the passer. He is extremely long (36" arms) and bends the edge well and closes in on the QB quickly. He used his length well and can reach beyond lineman and get his hands on the QB. He is a pass rush specialist. He doesn't have the desired functional strength but his quick burst off the edge have helped him against college right tackles. This past season he is actually tied for most sacks on the team despite having missed the last 3 games.
Philadelphia Eagles 2016 rookie preview: DE Alex McCalister - Inside the Iggles https://t.co/j6N6cWyzI6— Philadelphia Eagles (@PhiEaglesview) July 16, 2016
Why Jonathan Bullard, Daniel Braverman, Alex McCalister slid in the NFL Draft - https://t.co/k1o1nmpshm— Walter Cherepinsky (@walterfootball) May 29, 2016
Schwartz on Alex McCalister: I've had some success with tall, long guys before. Reminds me a lot of Willie Young.— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) May 24, 2016
Jim Schwartz says Alex McCalister reminds him of Willie Young. He wants the rookie to focus on adding weight. “Has a long way to go.”— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) May 24, 2016
How He Makes the Eagles Better and Creates Problems for the Redskins
Coaches seem to be excited about working with McCalister. Despite not having the ideal bulk and his issues off the field he is extremely long and did produce is one of the toughest conferences in college football. Normally the odds are stacked against 7th round picks to make the final 53 man roster but McCalister has a legitimate shot to make it. McCalister is of course starting at the bottom of the depth chart but he doesn't have formidible competition in front of him at the DE position which includes Marcus Smith (a former 1st round pick and OLB), Steven Means, fellow rookie Aziz Shittu, and Brian Braman.
If McCalister can focus and make an impact in Eagles camp by outperforming the other guys he has a shot at the roster spot. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz seems excited about of working with McCalister so even if he doesn't make the final roster he’s probably likely to be signed to the practice squad. The Redskins aren't likely to see much of McCalister this season but even if the rookie somehow gets on the field it's unlikely he affects Morgan Moses or Trent Williams off the edge with his lack of bulk and raw technique.