The NFL always needs good cornerbacks. Oregon senior Ifo Ekpre-Olomu should keep this fact in mind as the All-American corner begins the road to recovery after tearing his ACL at practice, abruptly ending an otherwise fantastic career with the Ducks.
So, what are NFL draft analysts saying about the Ducks’ cornerback from Chino Hills, CA? According to CBS Sports analysts Dane Brugler and Rob Rang, it’s Ekpre-Olomu’s body-type, instincts, and willingness to provide support against the run that standout the most.
STRENGTHS: Competitive and alert. Possesses broad shoulders and a well-built frame, overall and is sound in run-support, traits that could make him one of the country’s best all-around cornerbacks. While undersized, does not shy away from throwing his body around in run defense.
He has many of the requisite skills to survive in both press and off-man, displaying quick diagnose skills, twitchy reaction time and the athleticism to break on the ball. Ekpre-Olomu shows swivel hips, smooth footwork and explosive lower body skills to close in a hurry on the ball.
WEAKNESSES: He lacks prototype size and relies on vision, timing and hand-eye coordination rather than extraordinary speed or fluidity to shut down opponents. Can be easily tied up by blockers on the perimeter. Perhaps best suited to playing the nickel in the NFL.
–Dane Brugler and Rob Rang (9/5/14)
Ekpre-Olomu utilizes a heightened sense of awareness and subtle instincts to make big plays at the corner position. Whatever Ekpre-Olomu lacks in size or speed is easily recouped with these astonishingly innate faculties.
For now, the injured All-American cornerback is quickly adjusting to his new role as mentor and spirit-guide for his replacement, redshirt freshman Chris Seisay, and in a broader context, provides a motivational spark for his teammates.
“You’ve got to put him on your back, carry him, you’ve gotta fight for him. That’s what we have to do, we have to go fight for Ifo and for all of the guys who got hurt,” Oregon defensive coordinator Don Pellum told the press on Thursday.
Despite the injury, the Ducks’ remarkable cornerback still has a bright future after the postseason, hoping to bring his enthusiasm, leadership, and killer instincts to the NFL.
For more information on NFL draft prospect analysis, check out this article from Bleacher Report’s NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller:
Top photo by Craig Strobeck