I recently interviewed, Terrell Williams, who is the defensive line coach at Purdue where he coached, Alex Magee. Film review is obviously a big part of evaluating NFL Draft prospects. However, it is helpful to gain some insight into the mental make-up or character of a player by discussing his career with someone who has worked closely with him. The following is a summary of our discussion:
Denis Krusos: What kind of person is Alex Magee off the field?
Coach Williams: Alex was a pleasure to coach and is easy to like. Alex treats everyone with respect. He treats everyone well and it did not matter whether you were a coach, professor, secretary or equipment manager.
Denis Krusos: What is Alex’s greatest strength as a football player in your opinion?
Coach Williams: His versatility, no doubt. Alex is big enough to be a defensive end in a 3-4 defense. He also has the athletic ability to play the 3-technique at defensive tackle. We played Alex at defensive end and tackle. There are not a lot of defensive linemen that can do that. It is not just his physical tools that enable him to be so versatile. He is a smart player who understands the responsibilities of the entire defense. That is why we felt comfortable dropping him into a zone coverage or even have him cover a tight end at times.
Denis Krusos: What does he need to work on to take his game to the next level?
Coach Williams: He needs to work on becoming more consistent and finish plays. He would sometimes beat an offensive lineman, but miss tackling the quarterback. We did not redshirt him, so I think he can learn to finish plays and develop consistency with more experience. This is something many young players struggle with. You develop consistency over time by practicing hard and with intensity.
Denis Krusos: What was it like coaching Alex Magee?
Coach Williams: Alex is aware and would come to the sideline with suggestions or something he noticed about the opponents’ blocking scheme. He was one of my favorite players to coach and I do not say that about everybody. I am looking forward to watching Alex play in the NFL.
Denis Krusos: Tell me more about his weight room workout habits?
Coach Williams: Alex bench presses 450 pounds and squats around 650 pounds. Our strength coach did not have to push him to work out.
Denis Krusos: How would you compare his pass rushing ability to how he plays the run?
Coach Williams: It really depends on where he is playing. I think he is a better pass rusher at defensive tackle because his athleticism gives guards trouble. He is stouter against the run when playing at defensive end.
Denis Krusos: Is there a play that stands out in your mind about Alex Magee?
Coach Williams: We were playing Minnesota two years ago and they set-up a screen pass to a wide receiver that had touchdown written all over it. Minnesota had the play blocked to perfection. We had one cornerback staring down four blockers leading the way. Alex displayed tremendous hustle and seemingly came out of nowhere to make the tackle and prevent a big play. It was the only time an opposing coach came up to me and said you know #71 prevented a sure touchdown.
Alex Magee is one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the 2009 NFL Draft. He recently played in the Under Armour Senior Bowl, where he displayed quickness and good use of his hands to disengage.