This year's crop of cornerback draft propects projects as perhaps the deepest in recent memory. With potential elite-level talent littering the board on days one and two of the draft, a player like Chidobe Awuzie is likely to slip far beyond the draft slot his skill set commands.
Chidobe Awuzie - CB
Senior - Colorado
Age on Draft day: 25
Weight: 195 lbs.
Awards: 2015 Associated Press Second-Team All-Pac-12, 2016 Associated Press First-Team All-Pac-12 (Second-Team via Coaches).
As fun pronouncing his name can be, watching him fly around from sideline to sideline making big plays is better. The man does everything.
Props - When playing on the outside, he has the size and aggressiveness to man up against large receivers. Awuzie also possesses excellent quickness and footwork for a 6-foot corner, enough so to regularly work out of the slot. He also contributed some snaps at free safety in 2015. He totalled 11 pass deflections in 2016, and 25 in his four years at Colorado.
He is an exceptional, willing tackler. He was credited with 265 tackles in his career. But what stands out on tape even more so than the San Jose, CA native’s tackling talents, is his instinctual ability to create havoc and finish plays behind the line of scrimmage (See: Michigan game from September, 2016).
Plainly stated, he is a disturbance against the run, and must always be accounted for. He displays phenomenal play-diagnosing ability and consistently avoids and sheds blocks from wide-outs. 25 of his 265 career tackles were for loss. Of those 25, 9 were sacks (four in each of the past two seasons). When Awuzie is asked to blitz, he gets home. He also tallied 6 forced fumbles as a Buffalo.
Knocks - On occasion, Awuzie can be caught relying too heavily on his instincts. He doesn't possess elite speed. NFLdraftscout.com lists his average 40-yard dash time at 4.56.
Obligatory NFL player comparison - (see: title of this piece) Here is NFL.com's Combine Profile on Logan Ryan:
"STRENGTHS: Good size for a corner. Extremely physical. Active all across the field, and not afraid to come up an participate in the run game. Reckless abandon for his body, but still a sound tackler. Constantly around the football, makes plays on the ball. Intelligent. Experience with both man and zone coverage. Fluid hips.
WEAKNESSES: Still raw in terms of technique. Lacks blazing speed."
Oh, and Ryan’s combine 40-yard dash time? You guessed it. 4.56.
Now all we need to do is sit back and wait for the combine’s three-cone-drill results.
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