2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie

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We’re back again breaking down prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, set to kick off on April 27th through the 29th. Our goal this season is to write reports on at least 150 players and hopefully, as many as 200. It will, of course, have a focus on Pittsburgh Steelers’ wants and needs but we will look big-picture too at the best players in this year’s draft.

If there’s a player you would like us to breakdown, let us know in the comments below.

Chidobe Awuzie/CB Colorado – 6’0 195

The Good

NFL size and appears to have at least adequate length
– Ultra-aggressive player, rallies downhill, and throws his body around in the run game
– High football IQ, quick to diagnose route concepts, and closes quickly
– Quick feet and change of direction ability
– Versatile, played all over Colorado’s defense, experience in almost every usage (boundary/field, outside/slot, man/zone/blitz)
– Above average speed, enough to play in man coverage
– Ball skills and ability to play the pocket
– Gets high praise off the field as leader and tone setter, in locker room and community

The Bad

– Has to be reined in a bit, plays a little too out of control as a tackler, tackling angle is too high and around the neck/helmet
– Can get aggressive in man coverage, stick eyes to the QB and lose the receiver
– Technique in press coverage needs developed, punches with wrong hand (same side as WR release)
– Better in a zone scheme than man
– Limited interception production in college

Bio

– Career: 255 tackles, 25 TFL, 5 FFs, 3 INTs
– Three year starter for Buffs
– Played all four secondary spots
– Suffered lacerated kidney in 2014, missed final three games, and missed Senior Bowl with injury
– RB/FS in high school, averaged over 9 yards per carry senior year

Tape Breakdown

Awuzie is one of my favorite corners already; and he isn’t even short! I’m as shocked as you are. Awuzie has everything I’d look for in a Steelers’ corner. Physical, aggressive, smart, versatile, and no major red flags on/off the field.

That aggression and physicality is certainly to be one of the first things you’ll notice when you watch him play. Watch him read/react and give the running back hip replacement surgery.

His ability to diagnose is fantastic. Sees the screen, fights through the block, and – almost literally – jumps into the receiver’s lap.

For as aggressive and physical he is, it’s important to note how smart and overall, technically sound too. He doesn’t break this slant up here, maybe a little slow flipping, but I dig the technique. Play to the upfield shoulder and look to break the throw up. That’s something Artie Burns didn’t do on Mike Wallace’s long touchdown this year.

It’s hard to show in a screenshot so I’m throwing another GIF here. I love his aggression but he does need to work on being a more technical tackler. He tries to snap your neck off, which is awesome, but also going to create the potential for misses, penalties, and probably some medical bills. Similar to here, even if he wasn’t flagged for anything.

Still, it’s hard not to love Awuzie. He’s a perfect Steelers’ corner. We haven’t touched on his versatility, which is as extensive as anyone. Played right and left corner, in the slot, safety work, in the box. Played man coverage, zone, the latter he’s better in, and has blitzed from the slot.

Which is something the Steelers need because their cornerbacks don’t have much versatility, William Gay aside. Awuzie may not do all that Day One, Sean Davis’ struggles highlight how tough that is, but it would be in his long-term plan. Good depth, he’ll be a monster on special teams, and someone who has legitimate starter potential. Go get him, Kevin Colbert.

Projection: Late Day Two

Games Watched: vs Colorado St, vs UCLA, at USC

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Sam Clonch

    Don’t lie, you like him so much because his name reminds you of Chidi Iwuoma!

  • Spencer Krick

    Love his physicality! I’d be very happy to have him in the Steelers secondary, or at least on ST’s.

  • falconsaftey43

    Really nice player. Love the physicality and versatility. I also really like his teammate, Whitherspoon, as a press man CB. Long and plays the ball excellently.

  • thomas hmmmm

    His tackling reminds me of Mike Mitchell.. Do we really want another “Missed Tackle Mitchell” in the secondary?
    Would have been nice to see coverage gifs.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    Thanks Alex. I like the depth in the draft at the CB position. HIs flexibility is definitely a big plus. Look forward to seeing a few more CB options in the draft. This guy should definitely be in the mix.

  • Hubert Parker

    Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon can you do him

  • falconsaftey43

    He does have that high upright tackling style like Mitchell, but honestly most of Mitchell’s missed tackles are due to poor angles, not failing to bring a guy down once he gets to him.

  • Steelers12

    i like him but we would have to take him in the 2nd and he is a project player

  • The Tony

    Can you right up James Connor? I’d love to see his style of play as a number two back for the Steelers

  • newguy68

    I like him. Even wears the Black and Gold (so to speak) in College.

  • JNick

    The tackling worries me, especially given the larger, stronger NFL WRs that he is going to be trying to bring down. Definitely a good looking prospect and may be BPA at 62.

  • Matt Manzo

    Sounds perfect! Also sounds like someone who will move up a round if he tests well!
    High IQ, plus aggressiveness sounds like what we need in our cbs. He tackling can be taught.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Reading the “bad” list, he’d fit on this team like a hand in glove lol. The tackling issue scares me. They have way too many poor tacklers on this team already.

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  • Hubert Parker

    I want a bigger end in our nickle and maybe dime defense. No more 250 Lb guys. I want 4 guys with their hands in the dirt going after the QB.

  • Steelers12

    There are some to be had in free agency

  • steelburg

    He is a corner. Name me 5 corners in the NFL who are sure tacklers. I love this guy in the 3rd round and I think he helps in a ton of areas. Special teams, he can play slot and the outside, he can be the plan B if Golson gets hurt again, and he can also provide that competition for Cockrell to see if he is the real deal. Not to mention if Burns goes down he can back him up. I like him better then Cameron Sutton who we were rumored to be talking to at the senior bowl.

  • Ike Evans

    Love him….i think he can play slot as well too….i agree

  • falconsaftey43

    Alex could you do Dwayne Thomas, CB, LSU? Kind of a safety/nickle guy. Heck of a game vs. Alabama this year.

  • Alex Kozora

    Guilty as charged.

  • Alex Kozora

    It needs worked but I’m not worried about it. He wants to tackle, he really embraces it. He just needs to work on his technique.

  • Frank

    I saw him play this year & I liked what I saw, putting him w/ Burns & Cockrell would be sweet. Can you get him in the 2nd though, b/cuz I think it’s pass rusher all day in RD.1.

  • Frank

    Maybe we’ll go back on a Colorado run, like in the 90’s : D.Figures, C.Brown, Kordell.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Speak of the devil huh…you were just telling me about this kid.

    I like that Sutton can factor in the return game, a little more length…really like the way he turns his head to make plays on the ball midair vs playing the WR like Cockrell does. At the same time Awuzie might have quicker feet…both will need to wrap better at this level

    To be honest I’d take either one, as they would upgrade what is on the roster now.

  • steelburg

    My biggest knock on Sutton is his size 186 pounds which isnt big enough to handle outside WR in the NFL IMO and his tackling. Sutton can definitely help more in the return game, but Chidobe Awuzie will help more on kick coverage teams and I think we need that a little more then Suttons return ability right now.

  • Applebite

    He’s Nnambi Asomugha, he won’t last late Day 2….

  • ATL96STEELER

    I hear ya SB…I see maybe 12-15 CFB games a yr…mostly SEC and I’m from TN originally so naturally I watch them in the bigger games, UGA, Bama, etc…so I’ve seen Sutton play.

    What I’ve learned about Awuzie has come over the last 24 hrs or so. If I appear to be slanted towards Sutton, it’s strictly because from a familiarity standpoint.

    If both were on the board and they took Awuzie, I would not be disappointed in the least.

  • LucasY59

    If they havent picked a CB by rd 3 then I would be Ok with Awuzie, but there are others I like a little better (but most are rd 2 guys like Jourdan Lewis)

  • Shannon Stephenson

    One of my favorite CB’s in this draft…was disappointed in his bowl performance but a injury did slow him up. I would be happy with him in the 3rd I feel a 2nd is a lil high for him

  • Wing t

    I would take him in the first. I like him.

  • Gotta like a secondary player who is a willing tackler. I like that he is supposedly high character as well. Give me someone I can work with. He looks like a 4.55 40 type of player, not too bad, but you’d like to see him be a tick faster. At the same time, if you understand leverage and angles, you can mask a lack of elite speed with good positioning. Good prospect overall I think

  • Ra’Mon Jones

    Tedric Thompson

  • Jay Hallauer

    Is he a first round pick for us if all the good pass rushers are gone?

  • Darth Blount 47

    Circling back around on the profile pages I didn’t comment on…

    Funny how Alex kept mentioning his “smarts.” The Wonderlic scores are in, and this kid scored an OUTSTANDING 34. Best among the DB’s from what I’ve seen reported. Why has Pittsburgh not openly shown more interest in Chidobe? His versatility, character, IQ, and speed, are great. He’s not overly athletic, but he had a good 3-cone time at the Combine. I really like what I’ve watched from this kid. Technically, he could sneak into the 1st. But I still think he goes in the middle of round 2, where he will be a good get for some team. Unfortunately, likely not us. 🙁