Name: Chidobe Awuzie
Position fit: Cornerback with the skills to play inside and out
Stats to know: Led all cornerbacks in 2015 with 41 tackles resulting in a defensive stop.
What he does best:
- Excellent fit in zone coverage. Reads plays well to break on the ball in front of him.
- Improved at getting his hands on the ball on in 2016, with pass breakups going from five in 2015 to nine this past year.
- Reads screens to wide receivers well, coming up to make tackles behind and close to the line of scrimmage.
- Experience playing both at outside cornerback and in the slot, and has shown the quickness to cover in the slot effectively.
- At 6 feet and 202 pounds, has the size NFL teams covet at cornerback.
- Contributed as a blitzer, racking up eight sacks, six hits and 17 hurries over the past two seasons.
- Long speed is an issue? Struggled with recovery speed on several long receptions this past season.
- Not a playmaker. While he improved at forcing pass breakups in 2016, he has recorded just three interceptions over the past three seasons.
- Needs to improve his technique as a tackler. Far too often he goes in high and looking for a big hit. Missed 33 tackles over the past three years and will likely miss even more against bigger, stronger NFL receivers.
- Inconsistent against the run over the past three seasons. Impressed in 2015 but struggled in 2014 and 2016.
Player comparison: Byron Maxwell, Miami Dolphins
Like Maxwell, Awuzie has shown himself to have the coverage skills to succeed in the NFL, and has the ball skills to swat the ball away from receivers to force incompletions. Similarly though, neither have shown consistency when it comes to coming away with interceptions, with Maxwell having just 11 over the past five years.
Bottom line: Awuzie has the coverage skills to be a starter in the NFL, but he does still need to iron out a few parts of his game if he is to reach there. He needs to improve his technique as a tackler, and as much as he has improved at getting his hands on the ball, it would be nice to see him come away with more interceptions. Nevertheless, he is another top prospect in a deep cornerback class.