Two-Deep Analysis: OL Taj Alexander

With spring camp over, ScarletReport.com is ready to look ahead to training camp with an in-depth, daily look at the depth chart. Going player by player, we break down the key players of training camp with an in-depth look today at right tackle Taj Alexander.

Junior Taj Alexander is one of many converted defensive linemen that make up the 2013 Rutgers offensive line. Moving from defensive tackle to guard early in his career, Alexander played both tackle and guard in the spring and will use his blend of versatility and athleticism to push for a starting job.

Spring Performance -- Alexander was solid in playing both right guard and right tackle in spring. A consistent first-team guy in the spring, the offensive line as a whole performed better with Alexander at tackle and the Chris Muller and Kaleb Johnson combination at guard.

With R.J. Dill being the only departure from last year's line and Alexander splitting time with Andre Civil in 2012, he is a top contender to jump up permanently to first team.

Expected 2013 Role -- Coach Kyle Flood and offensive line coach Damian Wroblewski continue to search for the best spot on the line for Alexander, but he went through the full spring as a starter and enters training camp on the first team. Alexander projects better as a tackle for Rutgers coming out of spring but has more experience playing guard.

Scouting Report -- Long, athletic and smart, the biggest barrier between Alexander and major playing time has been the adjustment to playing offense. A defense-first lineman out of high school, it came as a shock to Alexander when he moved to the offensive line early in his Rutgers career. Initially learning the position from Flood during his time as offensive line coach, Alexander slowly fought his way onto the two-deep.

Alexander is big and rangy enough to play tackle. His footwork is improved and he has a quick first step in pass protection. Rutgers did not run the ball well while Alexander worked at guard with struggles to get into the second level and with the push at the line of scrimmage. A cerebral blocker, Alexander is strong in recognizing and attacking his assignments.

The Bottom Line -- Alexander is the kind of lineman that needs time to develop. Going into year three on the offensive line, the development is taking shape.


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