NFL Draft

2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEBRAXSbb9w

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun Watson Haason Reddick Marshon Lattimore Corey Clement Tim Williams
Jourdan Lewis Takkarist McKinley Brad Kaaya Nathan Peterman O.J. Howard
Charles Harris Alvin Kamara Tyus Bowser David Njoku DeMarcus Walker
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