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No interceptions, no problem for CB Alexander

In his two seasons as a staple in Clemson's secondary, cornerback Mackensie Alexander didn't intercept a single pass.

Still, don't expect him to be passed over by many teams searching for a cornerback in the first round of the NFL Draft.

"I mean, I had some opportunities to come up with some picks in my career. I didn't come up with them at the end of the day. I'm taking it like a man," Alexander said. "In a lot of situations, I wasn't challenged very much. A lot of quarterbacks and teams stayed away from me. That was their game plan."

Opposing offenses rarely looked Alexander's direction last season, and his value was never more evident than when an offense on the biggest stage looked up and saw that Alexander wasn't there.

Alexander left the national championship game against Alabama before halftime with a hamstring injury. It's no coincidence that in the second half, with Alexander unable to return, Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker threw both of his touchdown passes, connecting on a pair of 50-plus-yard scores as Alabama held on for a 45-40 victory.

"I felt like the offensive coordinator opened the playbook a little bit and did some different stuff," Alexander said. "It was frustrating, but I just stuck by my team and knew we were going to get the job done. But it was tough just sitting out there, not able to finish the game."

Still, Alexander was active on the sideline, sharing insights with his teammates and his coaches that he hoped would help. His success isn't just based on his elite talent and athleticism; in college, he became a student of the game.

"I'm definitely going to have some things I don't know in the league, but my defensive coordinator put a lot of emphasis in learning the game, knowing what to do, understanding offenses, formations, personnel, tendencies – stuff like that," Alexander said. "Then I take it upon myself to learn more, because I'm super-competitive. I want to be the best, and not just at game day but every day at practice, no matter what I'm doing. It pushes me to be better."

While Alexander conceded that the NFL would present a learning curve, he doesn't lack in confidence. He has the mentality of an elite corner and believes he can become the type of defender that opposing quarterbacks tend to avoid on the pro level as well.

"I'm a lockdown corner," said Alexander, who likened his game to that of Darrelle Revis. "I'm a competitor, and they're all competitors, but at the end of the day I'm going to say it – and a lot of you guys will say it – I'm the best corner in this draft class.

"My job is not to get in your head, but if I get in your head, then that's on you. My job is to eliminate you and make you go elsewhere, make you do different stuff."

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