After taking a look at his tape, I really like this pick. A true outside guy that plays zone and off man extremely well, which fits to Nolan's D. He is versatile enough to play everywhere, though. Great hips, obviously great speed. He doesn't get much targets, which is a plus, and when he does, he is there to make a play. He is, behind only Milliner, probably the best pure cover corner in this draft.
Obviously his competition in the FCS wasn't great, but even when you watch the blowouts against Mizzou for example, he is the best player on the field, not giving up, and he is the one element in that D that even much better opponents tried to scheme around. National FCS Defensive Player of the Year.
I don't like his shoulder tackles that crop up from time to time, but if there ever was a coachable thing, it's this. He is fast and smart enough for run support, with a bit of seasoning he'll be great there. His blitzes are sweet. He is not the biggest or strongest guy, so he has the usual problem that his speed sometimes takes him out of plays and possible tackles, but that is as well a very coachable thing.
Mentally, on tape he seems like the Dimitroff type. One mental lapse has about 100 sound plays againt it, where he is just focused and knows what do to and what not to do. Of course there is the issue of his former DC speaking up against his understanding of formations, but it seemed like he leraned his lesson very well, since at the Senior Bowl he impressed everbody with his adjustment to a completely new coaching staff and terminology, so that issue seems to be ironed out. Also, he would of course have enough time to learn the ropes in ATL since he is not slotted for starter duty right away.
His return game seems solid, his speed helps, his vision is not elite, but above average.
He is 24 years old, which is a concern, and he has Crohn's desease (like David Garrard), but Crohn's usually doesn't prevent succesful pro careers. He missed
two one season due to injury though, so he might have a medical flag.
But, I'll be honest, this is a great tape player to watch. Much more than I expected. This could turn out to be a very smart pick down the line, because he is a workout warrior with great tape, which is a rare feat. His questionsmarks (schmall school, age, injury, mental maturity) of course caused him to be a Day Two guy, but behind them is a possible long term shutdown guy. If he stays healthy and learns a bit Nolan Think in his first season, we might have an incredible long term CB solution for even the post-Asante time right there. Tru and Alford looks like a great comob for years to come.
Here is some film on Alford:
Robert Alford vs Northwestern State 2012 (via phillyjimmyphilms)
Robert Alford (CB Southeastern Louisiana) Senior Bowl (via Justis Mosqueda)
#13 Robert Alford, 5-11, 188, CB, Southeastern Louisiana Highlights 2012 (some 2011) (via slulionsfan)