Scouting the NFL Draft: Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie

Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
Ht. 6', Wt. 202, Arm: 30⅝", Hand: 8½", Bench: 16
40 yd: 4.43, 10 yd.: -, 3 Cone: 6.81, Vertical: 34½", Broad: 11'

Colorado's Chidobe Awuzie (chih-DOE-bey ah-WOOZ-yeh) is a three-year starter and shared team MVP honors with quarterback Sefo Liufau after his senior season.

Unfortunately, Awuzie did not record an interception his senior year and only intercepted three passes in his career, which is not exactly what the Cowboys need. They need guys who can get their hands on the ball. Played all over the Colorado secondary during his career.

Strengths (per former NFL Scout Chris Landry and Pro Football Focus)
• Balanced athlete
• Controlled footwork to pedal and transition to stay attached at the hip to receivers
• Patient, but decisive process and limits wasted steps
• Quick eyes, reflexes and reaction to receiver movement, staying on top of routes and getting his head turned to locate
• Senses seem to heighten on money downs
• Coverage skills to succeed in the NFL, and has the ball skills to swat the ball away from receivers to force incompletions
• Trusts what he sees and processes it quickly to break on the ball - intelligent player
• Knack for blitzing and pressures (usually from the slot), creating disruption in the backfield with his closing speed - holds the school-record for sacks (9.0) by a defensive back, adding 26.0 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles over his career
• Standout tackler on all special team coverages, adding a blocked field goal off the edge as a senior
• Graduated with a degree in business management
• 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 outside cornerback and the slot, and has shown the quickness to cover in the slot effectively
• Has the size NFL teams covet at cornerback

Weaknesses (per Landry)
• Better timed speed than play speed
• Lack of ideal size and length shows in coverage
• Tough as nails, but below average play strength
• Late to shed and too easily taken out of the equation by blockers
• Bad habit of tackling high and needs to clean up his striking mechanics
• Quick-footed, but lacks the make-up burst to close gaps in a flash
• Needs to improve his spacing in zone coverage
• Out of position on combination routes and will be caught grabbing when beat
• Collected 39 passes defended over his career, but only three interceptions
• Doesn't have ideal body armor with several nagging injuries over his career, including a right turf toe injury (Dec. 2016) late in his senior season, which also sidelined him for the Senior Bowl

NFL Draft comparison: Prince Amukamara, Byron Maxwell

Verdict: Second round

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If Dallas looks to use the 28th pick on a corner, I could see them taking Awuzie. At the end of the first round, teams don't always have first round grades on players. Many draft analysts thought center Travis Frederick was a second round talent the Cowboys selected in Round 1, and Dallas ended up making the right call with the All-Pro. I just think there are seven corners who may get drafted before Awuzie.

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