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Spielman: Alexander 'Too Good to Pass Up' In 2nd Round

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Entering the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Vikings had six cornerbacks on their roster.

They added another one Friday night by using the 54th pick on Clemson redshirt sophomore Mackensie Alexander, who brings a strong work ethic to Minnesota.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman spoke to Twin Cities media members on Friday night and said the team's philosophy is to continuously build depth, no matter the position.

"As (Head Coach Mike Zimmer) always says, you can never have enough corners," Spielman said. "We're trying to create, even at that position, as much competition as we can."

Spielman said the Vikings liked Alexander's passion for the game after meeting with him at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine and at a workout on Clemson's campus.

When Alexander was available at pick No. 54, the Vikings pounced.

"We had three guys there and he was our top guy," Spielman said. "We felt like he was too good of a player to pass up, and we were going to take him if he landed at our spot."

Alexander, who helped lead Clemson to last season's national championship game, is the 13th defensive back Minnesota has drafted in the second round.

Alexander was a second-team All-American in 2015 as he recorded 30 total tackles with six pass breakups. Alexander tallied 22 tackles as a redshirt freshman with six pass breakups in 2014.

Spielman said the Vikings weren't deterred by Alexander's height of 5-foot-10, saying he met Zimmer's criteria.

"He said he's right at it," Spielman said. "We're good with it."

Although Alexander didn't record an interception in 2015, he also didn't allow a touchdown.

Spielman said Alexander, who can play at nickel back and as an outside corner, possesses superb coverage skills.

"He didn't have a lot of balls completed on him, and that's the most important thing," Spielman said. "I know Zim' preaches interceptions and turnovers are key.

"But one thing I hear Zim' preach to our players out at practice is 'Don't let you man catch the ball,' " he added. "That criteria he checks the box in."

Spielman and the Vikings have six picks at their disposal for Saturday, the third and final day of the draft.

Minnesota went offense in the first round with wide receiver Laquon Treadwell before switching to defense with Alexander.

After trading their third-round pick, could the Vikings keep adding to their defensive depth?

"Coach Zimmer is really good with taking the best available player," Spielman said with a smile. "They just happen to all be on the defensive side."

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