With the Senior Bowl now on the horizon, it is officially mock draft season.

NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah released his first mock draft of the year and it has the Saints taking Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander.

Jeremiah doesn’t offer much reasoning for the pick, writing only that “Alexander lacks ideal size, but he has outstanding coverage skills.”

This is an interesting pick for the Saints. Depending on how you view things, New Orleans is either deep at the position or extremely shallow.

Damian Swann is trying to come back next season after three concussions and Keenan Lewis will try to do the same following three surgeries on his hip. P.J. Williams, who spent his first season on injured reserve, is also on the roster.

If you believe in those players, then there it looks like there is little need to take a cornerback in the first round. If you don’t believe in them, then there’s plenty of reason to take a cornerback early in the draft.

This uncertainty makes it one of the harder positions to evaluate since there is no way of knowing how the Saints view these guys. General manager Mickey Loomis offered few hints when discussing these players last week.

So that makes it hard to know if the Saints classify the position as a must, need or want.

Onto the quick scouting report on Alexander…

Quick scouting report

It’s pretty clear Alexander has special talent after watching three of his games from last season.

He mirrors receivers well, knows how to pin them to the sideline and doesn’t give up much. He has very impressive hips, which allows him to effortlessly change direction and hang with the guy he’s covering.

You can see this below:

In the three games watched, Alexander was targeted a number of times and gave up four receptions. One was on a pick play. The rest came on curl, in and slant routes. None of them would be classified as bad beats.

It appears his greatest strength is in man coverage, which would make him a fit in New Orleans. He had some issues the few times he was in zone and was slow to make decisions.

His tackling also left something to be desired.

Final thoughts

As someone who looked at the cornerback position with optimism, after watching Alexander and envisioning him playing opposite of Delvin Breaux, taking a cornerback in the first round no longer seemed like such a bad idea. His tape is that good.

The only thing that doesn’t quite add up is that Alexander is 5-foot-11 (and possibly even shorter). The Saints have been moving toward larger cornerbacks. It makes one wonder if they would even be interested in Alexander.

But if you can cover, you can cover.