Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
40-Time: (NFL Scouting Combine Time Feb. 23 - Mar. 1 to be added)
Most people have Amukamara as the #2 cornerback in this draft. I have to believe that after watching the film on him, that they're basing this off of 3 great attributes to his game. When Amukamara is in pass coverage on mid to underneath routes he has great awareness to the running game. He's able to step up quick and find the fastest way to the ball carrier. This can be contributed to him running for over 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns as a running back his senior year in High School.
Prince can be seen on tape getting a step behind covering out of the break, but you always see him close quickly and gets around the ball. He has the closing speed of an NFL starter. He's never really out of the play. The other key to him always being in on the play is the fact that he takes educated angles on the ball. He attacks the ball as a top tier receiver should. Heading into the negatives, that's probably where he would have been better off if he has the hands for it.
I am a little tougher on cornerbacks than most draft analysts. They are seeing all of the strengths in Prince's game but seem to be overlooking quite a few weaknesses. Even though Amukamara is great at recognizing the run, he seems soft in tackling. He doesn't really enforce his will on the ball carrier and he's not physical at the line with the receivers. His 6'1 size doesn't show up on film like Patrick Peterson. He has shown that he'll struggle against bigger receivers that are physical at the point of attack. One of his key attributes, stop the running, has also shown to be a flaw in his game, as he'll peek into the backfield and then get burnt by the double move by the receiver he's guarding.
Prince struggles against quick receivers that have quick get off. Amukamara can be seen on film time and time again getting left at the line of scrimmage due to a quick first step. If it wasn't for his well above average make-up speed and great angles towards the ball, we wouldn't even be talking about Amukamara as a draft pick anywhere before the 3rd day of the draft. Even when he's not beat by the first step he struggles with change of direction. He doesn't have the fluid hips that you need as a starting corner in the league. He gets lost by quick change of directions and once again is only saved by his make-up speed. If he goes to a defense that doesn't get to the quarterback quick, he'll struggle mightily in the league.
Prince Amukamara is very gifted athletically. He's not only a good cornerback but he was also the starting guard on his High School basketball team that went on to win the State Championship. When I found that out, along with the fact that he was a high school running back, I thought for sure his game film would blow me away. It's rare for a guard in basketball, who can also play running back in football, to struggle with stopping on a dime and changing direction, but that's exactly what I see on film. The other thing that sticks out on film though, is his speed. If you know how to play the game and have elite speed, someone will always like you (Al Davis). I've always stated that cornerback is the hardest position to play in my mind. The most underrated assessment of cornerbacks making the jump to the NFL is the "mirror" factor. It's not good enough to be fast, you have to react faster than the fastest guys in the world. If you don't then it's 6 points for the opposition. Just ask Prince about Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State.
Potential NFL Team, Round
Mostly everybody I've seen has Amukamara in the top 10 in their Mock Draft. It's extremely rare for 2 corners to go into the top 10 and most years you won't see 1 in the top 10. After watching film on the both of them, Prince is nowhere close to Patrick Peterson in my mind. I haven't seen film on all the top corners yet but I wouldn't be surprised to see Amukamara fall out of the first round by the time the draft comes around. But as for now, there's no way I can see Prince going in the top 10. The Jacksonville Jaguars are so bad in the secondary that if they value Amukamara as high as most others, they'll be ecstatic to snag him up at pick 16. It'll be a bad spot for Prince to go because they'll try and make him the focal point of the secondary and he'll have to face Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub 4 times a year or more importantly, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne 4 times a year.
Jayson Braddock appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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