This is the seventh in a series of film breakdowns of players that the Dolphins could take early in this weekend’s draft.
Part 1: Haason Reddick.
Part 2: Jordan Willis.
Part 3: Forrest Lamp.
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Part 4: Taco Charlton.
Part 5: Reuben Foster.
Part 6: Jabrill Peppers.
If nothing else, you gotta love Chidobe Awuzie’s swagger.
Take, for example, when he covered Washington burner John Ross III all over the field last fall. Awuzie knew Ross was fast. He didn’t know he was fastest recorded 40 time (4.22 seconds) in Combine history fast.
“Never scared,” the Colorado cornerback explained recently. “I'm always confident. And when I'm on the field that's when I'm at home, I'm comfortable. I like to compete. I like to challenge people.
“When somebody has a big game, that's better for me because I can show others that good, too,” he continued. “So, when I go against players like that it just heightens my awareness.”
Months later, both Awuzie and Ross await their draft fate. Ross is expected to go in Round 1. But Awuzie? It’s going to be close. Round 2 seems more likely at this point.
And yet, Awuzie will be in Philadelphia’s draft green room Thursday with 21 other prospects who accepted the NFL’s invitation to attend. He might be the last of the 22 to hear his name called; the gambling website SportsBettingDime.com puts the odds of Awuzie being the final green-room occupant at 5-to-1, behind only Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer (11-to-4).
But his pain could ultimately be the Dolphins’ gain.
If he does fall to the second round, the second-team all-conference corner would certainly be enticing. The Dolphins, who haven’t been shy about their desire to take a corner this weekend, would likely have to trade up from 54 to take him, though.
Short of a damaging late revelation, it’s hard to see how Awuzie will fall out of the 30s altogether. But if the Dolphins aren’t sold on him at 22, he also could be an option if they trade back in the first round to acquire more picks.
At 6 feet even, Awuzie could contribute on the boundary in Miami, but would probably be a better fit in the slot. And he’d be a beast on a corner blitz; Awuzie had seven sacks in his last two years at Colorado.
“I want to show teams that I can play anywhere and I'm versatile,” he said at last month’s Scouting Combine. “I have experience playing corner, nickel, both safety positions. I feel like that speaks to my football knowledge.”
Height: 6 feet.
Weight: 202 pounds.
Arm length: 30 5/8 inches.
Hands: 8 1/2 inches.
40 time: 4.43 seconds.
Bench press: 16 reps.
Vertical jump: 34.5 inches.
Broad jump: 132 inches.
Three-cone drill: 6.81 seconds.
20-yard shuffle: 4.14 seconds.
SPARQ score: 137.9, 97.7th percentile, t-fourth among draft-eligible cornerbacks.
Pros: Chidobe Awuzie's greatest asset is versatility. He played both inside and outside corner at Colorado, facing top competition including John Ross and JuJu Smith-Schuster. He's a high-level competitor, always challenging receivers at the catch point and fighting for the ball. Awuzie does a good job of reading QBs. He possesses a good jam off the line, and can contribute as a blitzer.
Cons: Awuzie is by no means a burner. He has solid speed, but isn't the type of player who can catch up if he falls behind the receiver by multiple strides. This makes him vulnerable to receivers running routes predicated on suddenness. Some also believe he could be prone to pass interference calls downfield, using his hands frequently in coverage.
Fit for the Dolphins: Awuzie would be a perfect fit for the Dolphins in the slot, and he provides a potential solution in case the team needs someone to step outside in case of injury. His aggressiveness and competitive play would go a long way towards frustrating some of the slot options that have had field days against the Dolphins, most notably Julian Edelman. If the Dolphins want to win games in the division, they'll need someone like Awuzie inside to take care of shifty receivers. Given his lack of top-end speed, Awuzie could be available in Round 2 for the Dolphins.