The 2017 NFL Draft is now just a little over a week away, which is why I have started to identify and analyze some of the Dallas Cowboys draft targets. Former Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie was one of the Cowboys allotted 30 pre-draft visitors, so I decided to break down his strengths and weaknesses as a player.
With both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne leaving via free agency, the CB position will need to be upgraded at some point in the draft, but when and where is still up in the air. I personally think it is probably a bigger priority than defensive end, but who knows if the Cowboys feel the same way.
There is a lot to like about Chidobe Awuzie's game and skill set on the film. Thankfully, I have analyzed his strengths and weaknesses as a defensive back and how he would possibly fit into the Cowboys secondary. Take a look below and let me know what you think.
Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado | 5'11”, 202 lbs | 5/24/1995 (21)
Measurements Arm: 30 5/8 | Hand: 8 1/2 | Wingspan: 74 1/8
Combine 40-yd: 4.43 | 10-yd: 1.53 | 20-yd: 2.57 | BP: 16 | VJ: 34 1/2 | BJ: 11'0″
Chidobe Awuzie has four years of college experience playing nearly every position in the secondary during his time at Colorado. He played both left and right CB, in the slot, and nine games at free safety. The versatility to play any position in the secondary is an attractive asset for any defensive back.
Awuzie is a balanced defensive back who has a smoothness to his game to make things look almost effortless for him. He has really good footwork and a clean transition from his backpedal to keep wide receivers on his hip. He is patient in coverage and turns his head to locate the ball when it is in the air.
He is an intelligent player and trust what he sees on the field. He reads and diagnosis plays quickly. He is decisive when he makes up his mind and has a knack for blitzing and applying pressure to the quarterback (usually from the slot). In fact, he holds the school record for QB sacks by a defensive back with nine.
Chidobe Awuzie doesn't have the ideal height or length NFL teams prefer in their outside CBs. This might make him a nickel cornerback at the next level. He also has better timed speed than play speed, which can get him in trouble if he is trailing the receiver.
Awuzie doesn't have the best play strength and struggles to shed blocks, which causes him to get taken out of plays too easily at times. Needs to work on his tackling mechanics, because he strikes too high a lot of times. He has quick feet, but lacks the catchup speed to close the gap on WRs that have gained separation.
He struggles at times with combination routes and if he gets beaten he tends to get grabby, usually resulting in a penalty. Didn't get his hands on a lot of interceptions. In his four years at Colorado he had 39 passes defensed, but only three interceptions. Durability is also a concern. He has had several nagging injuries, but nothing serious.
Chidobe Awuzie has four years of starting experience in college at Colorado and finished his career with 277 tackles, 9 QB sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 39 passes defensed, and 3 interceptions in 42 starts. He has played nearly every position in the secondary and is a fluid athlete with good body control.
He doesn't have the ideal height or length NFL teams prefer in their outside CBs. He plays with a toughness, but his nagging injuries in college is a concern. He also has just average speed and ball skills, but makes up for it with his intelligence.
Awuzie's versatility to play several different positions in the secondary would definitely be attractive for the Dallas Cowboys. He could be a Day 1 starter on the outside or the slot CB as a rookie, which would allow Orlando Scandrick to move to the outside. He could also play some safety if needed.
I personally think he will be a Day 2 draft pick, which is why I have a second round grade on him. But, his versatility is attractive and I could see him sneaking into the end of the first round. The Cowboys might have to take him at 28 to secure his services, but would probably prefer to target him in a trade down scenario.