2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Eastern Washington OLB Samson Ebukam

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Samson Ebukam/OLB Eastern Washington – 6’1/7 240

The Good

– Excellent athlete who looks the same on tape the way he tested
– Great first step off the line and stresses tackles with his outside threat
– Shows ability to flatten and corner the edge, dip/rip is best move he showed
– Fanatical effort and chase to the football, no quit in his game
– As comfortable moving backward as he is forward, fluid and effortless spot dropping into coverage
– Versatile, lined up everywhere in the front seven with extensive experience playing with his hand up
– Plays with good pad level as a run defender and uses his length
– Lots of starting experience and good production, finished with a strong senior season

The Bad

– Lacks innate strength and can get washed at the LOS in the run game
– Run fits need work, susceptible to over pursuing and losing cutback lane because he’s chasing so hard to the football
– Has to discover a counter move as a pass rusher and find ways to win when he isn’t able to beat tackle with his get-off
– Lack of strength hurts him as a pass rusher, does a poor job to generate power, first punch is weak and footwork isn’t clean on speed bull, planting off wrong foot and too often is rebuffed by the tackle
– Smaller school competition concerns
– Can wear down at the end of games and play takes noticeable drop-off


– 38 career starts
– Career: 188 tackles, 15 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 2 FF
– 2016: 71 tackles, 15 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 2 FF
– Ran a 4.5 40, jumped 39 inches in the vert, 10’10” in the broad, and 7.07 three cone at his Pro Day
– Voted by coaches as First-Team All-American as a senior
– Played tight end, fullback, and defensive end in high school, also a successful javelin thrower and part of relay team

Tape Breakdown

Ebukam got on the radar with his excellent Pro Day workout and for Steelers’ fans, when he was brought in for a visit. I really didn’t know a thing about him so I was excited to take a look.

And the tape is pretty good. Not perfect but you can see the intrigue. He’s a fantastic athlete and really easy-mover with experience dropping into coverage. Put on his game against Washington State and you’ll see him line up all over the place: left end, right end, three tech on third downs, SAM linebacker, MIKE linebacker, and detached from the box to cover the slot. Go thumb through it at the bottom of this article.

Those explosion numbers translate to what you see on the field. Great first step and that with his dip/rip to beat the tackle to the outside. Like here, ripping past the Washington State left tackle and finishing the play for a sack.

I love his get-the-ball mentality, always looking to swipe down with his outside arm to try and pop the ball out. He’s also a really high effort player, something that’ll be attractive to Pittsburgh. He’s worn down by game’s end before because he played a high volume of snaps, the end of the loss to North Dakota State was pretty ugly, but that’s also because his motor runs so hard. End of game, he’s tired, win on the line, he chases the QB to the sideline and forces the throw away.

He also suplexed a dude. In an interview, he said he wanted to get to do that to a QB all year long and finally got his wish. I like a guy who seems a little crazy.

Comfortable and a natural in coverage make him appealing. Something a lot of Power 5 guys can’t do and this guy from the FCS level can.

But he is lacking upper body strength and his footwork as a pass rusher can hurt him on his speed/bull. LDE, not much power here. Not planting off his outside foot as he makes contact for his bull.

I can definitely see the allure in taking him. He has to find a counter, get stronger, and play with better technique as a pass rusher. Very similar to Travis Feeney, who was that hyper-athlete with tons of upside. Makes a lot of sense for Pittsburgh, again, like Feeney, in the 5th round.

Projection: Mid Day Three

Games Watched: at Washington St, at North Dakota St, vs Youngstown State

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
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge KittleEjuan PriceChris Wormley
Jeremy McNicholsJoe MathisDerek BarnettAmba Etta-TawoGareon Conley
Taco Charlton Elijah McGuireRyan SwitzerTanoh KpassagnonTre’Davious White
Brian HillMatthew DayesDonnel PumphreyJosh ReynoldsNazair Jones
De’Veon SmithDavis WebbObi MelifonwuTJ WattJohn Ross
Jerod EvansVince BiegelJosh CarrawayJosh MaloneKevin King
Fadol BrownChris GodwinNate GerryJordan WillisStacy Coley
Zay JonesJimmie GilbertGlen AntoineTarell BashamDuke Riley
Rayshawn JenkinsChad KellyTrey HendricksonJeremy SprinkleJoe Williams
D’Onta ForemanCarlos WatkinsDamontae KazeeWayne GallmanWillie Quinn
Xavier WoodsElijah HoodMalik McDowellDesmond KingSolomon Thomas
Cordrea TankersleyRaekwon McMillanJosh Harvey-ClemonsChristian McCaffreyChris Carson
Montravius AdamsAaron JonesMack HollinsDeatrich Wise JrAdoree’ Jackson
JuJu Smith-SchusterJosh JonesDavon GodchauxLorenzo JeromeQuincy Wilson
Stevie Tu’ikolovatuMike WilliamsAhkello WitherspoonDede WestbrookTedric Thompson
Marcus MayeJoe MixonTaywan TaylorTyson FernandezJarrad Davis
Ishmael ZamoraDaeshon HallCJ BeathardKendell BeckwithJalen Reeves-Maybin
Rasul DouglasMarcus WilliamsDevonte FieldsJustin EvansKenny Golladay
Marquez WhiteChad WilliamsCurtis SamuelD.J. JonesSeth Russell
Amara DarbohNoah BrownMalik HookerCarroll PhillipsIsaiah Ford
Marlon HumphreyT.J. LoganJalen MyrickChad HansenEddie Jackson
Budda BakerJahad ThomasFabian MoreauMatt MilanoTashawn Bower
Jason CroomJamal AgnewHoward WilsonShaquill GriffinKeionta Davis
Michael RobertsTeez TaborShock LinwoodShelton GibsonChanning Stribling
Montae NicholsonNajee MurrayJoseph YearbyJustin DavisKD Cannon
Dawuane SmootLeonard Fournette

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.

  • Boots

    This kid has been a mystery to me too. When he came in I looked up his workout numbers, or what I could find, and was intrigued. Don’t see anything that an NFL strength program and some position specific coaching can’t fix relatively easy. Really trying not to jump the gun but man him or Javancy as late round picks have me dreaming up packages to get them on the field. Would love to move one of them inside with Shazier in the nickel and really disguise who is coming. Don’t always have to blitz if you can create confusion on who the four rushers are!

    Alex if you had to pick between him and Javancy who would you take?

  • Alex Kozora

    This dude. Higher ceiling.

  • Michael James

    Would love him in the fifth round. To me he also looks a lot more like a traditional 3-4 OLB than Feeney ever did.

  • Spencer Krick

    I like my LB’s a little crazy.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Ebukam is my favorite developmental linebacker in this draft. He appears to be able to play ILB or OLB.

    I personally rank him higher than most. I would have no problem spending our late 4th rounder on him.

  • Steelers12

    man i want this guy, i wanted to see what Freeney had to offer 2 to 3 years down the road

  • Spencer Krick

    So did the Saints 😛

  • Alex Kozora


  • SoCal Steeler

    I likeee… That suplex would bring a flag and maybe even a suspension in the NFL but we need more guys with that kind of attitude and mentality on the Steelers. Plus he has talent.
    I wasn’t super excited about Javancy in the 7th but I would’ve taken him but I would be excited if we draft Ebukam and I think you’re right, Alex we’d most likely have to pick him in the 5th. Nice work!

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Am I seeing a pink field?.

  • Alex Kozora

    Red and yes you are. Welcome to EWU lol

  • Alex Kozora


  • igloojoe

    I really like him as a late round douple dip guy, if we don’t take an edge rusher in the first. Are you guys going to do a report on Pita Taumoepenu, edge/ILB out of Utah? The dude looks like an interesting prospect as an edge or ILB.

  • Matt Manzo

    I’d like to see him spend a year with James Harrison!

  • Darth Blount 47

    I wanted to go on record as saying he could be a later round gem, that falls victim to the dreaded “small school” stigma. He measures out well, and I like his motor. He needs to up his conditioning, but his reported work ethic tells that he should do nothing but keep striving to get better, and work on his flaws. He has good dip and bend, and appears to be able to hold his own against the run. I think he could learn quite a bit from having someone like Deebo as a mentor. For as much as he was asked to play DE, he is one of the guys who also seem like he doesn’t have much problem with dropping. Which is obviously key. Love his overall versatility. Fits what we are trying to create over here now. If we could score Samson in the 6th, and especially as a double-dip, that would be wonderful. But I’d take him as early as the 5th. Not sure about any earlier than that, though. But possibly.

  • Darth Blount 47

    One of my thoughts exactly, Matt!

  • Robert Heinrich

    Take a look at Lawrence Elliott rb from Bloomsburg college. Great size ,has good patience like Bell,great hands out of the backfield. Can line up as wr. Kick and punt return specialist. Led division2 in punt return avg most off junior season . 2nd in the nation with 20 rush tds while avg 17.2 yds per catch