Saints trade for LB Kwon Alexander

New Orleans swings a deal with conference rival San Francisco to upgrade their linebacking corps.
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According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the San Francisco 49ers are trading linebacker Kwon Alexander to the New Orleans Saints on Monday. The deal is reportedly for a conditional 5th round draft choice in 2021 and LB Kiko Alonso, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.

October 4, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Kwon Alexander (56) during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

October 4, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Kwon Alexander (56) during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander is in his sixth NFL season, entering the league as a 4th round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015 after starring for LSU in college. He played four seasons with the Buccaneers, earning a Pro Bowl berth in 2017. Alexander had 6 interceptions, 26 passes defended, forced 8 fumbles, recovered 2 fumbles, 31 tackles for loss, had 7 sacks, and led the league with 108 solo tackles in 2015. Injuries limited him to just six games in 2018 before his free agent departure to the 49ers that offseason. Injury again slowed him with San Francisco last season, limiting him to just eight regular season games. Alexander returned for the stretch run and helped fuel the 49ers to a berth in Super Bowl LIV, finishing the year with an interception, half sack, 2 tackles for loss, and six pass defenses.

Oct 27, 2019; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (56) tackles Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY

Oct 27, 2019; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (56) tackles Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY

A high ankle sprain has hampered Alexander in 2020, causing him to miss the last three contests. In five games this season, he has a forced fumble, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 QB pressures. The 6’1” 227-Lb Alexander has tremendous athleticism and can play any of the linebacker positions. His versatility and explosiveness upgrades a New Orleans linebacking corps that already has All-Pro Demario Davis and Alex Anzalone, allowing the Saints to be even more diverse in their defensive alignments.

All49ers reporter Grant Cohn shared the following with Saints News Network on the Alexander trade:

"Kwon Alexander has been a disappointment for the 49ers. He tore his pec last season and missed time, and currently is out with a high-ankle sprain. He misses lots of tackles and is a liability against the zone read, but he's fast and can be an asset in coverage. Plus he was developed in the NFC South and is familiar with that division."  Cohn

Saints News Network contributor, Mike Detillier had this to say about Alexander:

He’s an outstanding player when healthy. Super highly recruited prep player. Has fought knee, torn pectoral muscle and ankle injuries.  

Smooth athlete, runs the field well, smart, very instinctive, reads and reacts quickly to what is breaking down in front of him and he’s a good open field tackler. 

Has worked hard to upgrade his coverage skills. 

But injuries have plagued him in HS, college at LSU and in NFL with Bucs and 49ers..  

Athletically he’s what you look for in a LB., but he has had issues staying healthy.   But healthy, he’s a player and he can really run side to side and in reverse in coverage.