Chiefs

Chiefs take Oregon State linebacker D.J. Alexander in fifth round of NFL Draft

Oregon State linebacker D.J. Alexander (4) sacked Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) during a 2014 game.
Oregon State linebacker D.J. Alexander (4) sacked Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) during a 2014 game. The Associated Press

D.J. Alexander enjoyed his trip to Kansas City during the draft process, and now he’s headed here as the Chiefs’ fifth-round pick on Saturday.

“It was one of my favorite visits,” said Alexander, an inside linebacker from Oregon State. “I fell in love with it out there and I felt like the coaches really liked me. I had a good feeling that they could pick me up, but you never know with the draft.”

That the Chiefs had drafted another former Beavers defender — cornerback Steven Nelson, during the third round Friday night — should make the transition that much easier.

“When I saw him go earlier (Friday), I was like, ‘Man, that would be great to be on the same team with him,’” Alexander said. “I think he’s a phenomenal player … and I think we’re going to be a good fit for the Chiefs.”

Area scout Trey Koziol, who was responsible for bringing both players to general manager John Dorsey’s attention, said drafting teammates wasn’t a product of any organizational philosophy. But Koziol also said that it can’t hurt the Chiefs, who drafted two players from Oregon State and two from Georgia among nine picks during the three-day draft.

“It was more coincidence than anything …” Koziol said. “Having a familiar face around, I’m sure couldn’t hurt those guys as they’re making the transition to the NFL.”

Alexander brings speed to the middle of the defense and also has special-teams value. He said he ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash at Oregon State’s Pro Day.

“He’s got some rare physical traits just getting from point A to point B on the field,” Koziol said. “He made a lot of plays for (Oregon State).”

Alexander joins a position group that includes Derrick Johnson, James-Michael Johnson, Josh Mauga and JoJo Dickson along with fourth-round pick Ramik Wilson from Georgia, but Alexander made it clear on his visit that he would embrace a special-teams role.

“I love special teams,” he said. “That’s kind of how I got my foot in at Oregon State was on special teams, so I plan on doing whatever it takes to get on the team in Kansas City and contribute as much as I can to help us win games.”

When asked for a personal comparison, Alexander offered a comparison for his style of play instead.

“I really focus my game off of (Green Bay linebacker) Clay Matthews and (former Pittsburgh safety) Troy Polamalu, even though he retired,” Alexander said. “The aggressiveness that they bring to the game, that’s kind of how I see myself playing in the NFL.”

Alexander — who played receiver at Palm Desert (Calif.) High, where he set school records in the 100 and 200 meters — changed his last name from Welch in college to honor his stepfather, Eugene Alexander, who he said had been like a father to him since he was 1.

Alexander, whose junior season ended early because of neck surgery, made 32 starts for the Beavers and racked up 70 tackles, including 12 for a loss, as a senior.

In other picks, the Chiefs selected cornerback Marcus Peters in the first round with the 18th overall pick Thursday.

On Friday, they picked Missouri guard Mitch Morse in the second round (49th overall), Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley with the 12th pick in the third round (76th overall) after trading a sixth-round pick to Minnesota, and Oregon State cornerback Steven Nelson with the 34th pick in the third round (98th overall).

On Saturday, they drafted Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson in the fourth round (No. 118 overall) and then Alexander and Illinois State tight end James O’Shaughnessy with back-to-back compensation picks. They took Southern Miss defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches in sixth round (217th overall). With their final pick, in the seventh round, they drafted Northern Illinois receiver Da’Ron Brown (233rd overall).

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @todpalmer.

Chiefs’ fifth-round pick

▪ WHO: Inside linebacker D.J. Alexander

▪ PICK: Round five (172nd overall)

▪ SCHOOL: Oregon State

▪ HEIGHT: 6-2

▪ WEIGHT: 235 pounds

▪ PRO DAY STATS: 4.56-second 40-yard dash. 17 bench reps. 34.5-inch vertical. 123-inch broad jump. 6.97-second three-cone drill. 4.24-second 20-yard shuttle.

▪ HOW HE FITS: Alexander possesses excellent athleticism for the position, and like inside linebacker pick Ramik Wilson, he’s got a chance to help on special teams immediately and compete for a role behind Derrick Johnson and Josh Mauga.

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