New York Jets 2017 Draft Preview: CB Chidobe Awuzie
After an atrocious season at the cornerback position in 2016, and only one notable addition in free agency, the New York Jets are clearly in the market for secondary help in the draft. There are numbers of great options to choose from in this year’s class, but a few stick out as potential great fits for Gang Green. One of those prospects is Chidobe Awuzie out of Colorado.
Awuzie spent four seasons as a starter with the Buffaloes, and he did more than enough to show NFL scouts that he has the potential to be a very good pro. He recorded 265 tackles, 9 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 25 pass deflections over the course of his collegiate career. Awuzie also has accolades to his name as he was named second-team All-Pac 12 in both his junior and senior seasons. With that basic information out of the way, let’s delve into some of Awuzie’s biggest strengths and weaknesses.
Very good size for the position at 6’0” 202 lbs.
Can and has played at all cornerback spots.
Has special teams value on kick and punt coverage units.
Has great speed and solid athleticism.
Has a good amount of experience and was fairly effective as a blitzer at Colorado.
Constantly displays a high football I.Q. and great instincts.
Does a great job of reading what’s in front of him and reacting correctly.
Particularly good at sniffing out screen passes and breaking them up.
Adequate fluidity and change of direction.
Consistently good in man-press coverage.
Doesn’t make a great amount of game-changing plays.
His tackling will need significant development in the NFL.
Recovery speed has been a consistent issue for him.
Quick double moves in press coverage get the best of him too often.
Will need to control his physicality in the NFL in order to avoid penalties.
What makes him a particularly good fit for the Jets: If you’ve kept up with Todd Bowles’ defenses over the years you know that he loves big athletic corners who excel in man-press coverage. Awuzie fits that bill completely as he can do almost everything that Bowles’ would ask for out of the starting cornerbacks in his scheme. Awuzie’s tackling will definitely need to improve if he’s going to become an elite player with the Jets, but his skillset in coverage would give him a great shot at being an opening day starter.
How could the Jets land him in the draft: A few months ago Awuzie was not a very recognizable name, but as time goes by his stock continues to rise. Scouts are really starting to see the ability that he has. There’s a solid chance that the Jets could have the opportunity to select him with their current second round pick, but if they wanted to guarantee his selection, they’d have to trade into the back half of the first round.
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