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Cowboys 2017 Draft Picks: Scouting Report On Second-Round Pick Chidobe Awuzie

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A scouting report on the Cowboys second-round selection, Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie

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Colorado v Colorado State Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Checking in on the Cowboys second-round selection, cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

Unlike yesterday, things got off to a rocky start in the second round of the draft with defensive backs coming off the board early and often. Things were getting a little dicey for a bit, but as the pick got closer, there were still a few intriguing names on the board. With an enthusiastic Drew Pearson making an epic announcement in front of a heart-warming Philadelphia crowd, the Cowboys selected Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

The Cowboys have a plan and they are executing it. Awuzie has great size and can use his length to challenge receptions. He had 39 passes defended during his college career. He’s flexible and can play both inside and outside. He is a good blitzing corner who had nine career sacks and 24 tackles for losses. He’s a high-energy guy who has been an outstanding specials team gunner. Awuzie takes great angles and always finds himself around the ball.

This is another Jason Garrett guy who possesses great football intelligence. He keeps his eyes on the quarterback without losing sight of his receiver. He is a versatile back who can play all over the field. Awuzie has always wanted to be a Cowboys player and now he will get his chance.

SB Nation interviewed him earlier this offseason. Here’s some of his quotes.

“I’m a cornerback that thinks like a Mike linebacker,” he told SB Nation in an interview.

“My preparation is everything for me. I didn’t really have any hobbies outside of football. If I’m not playing football, I’m watching tape on some player. I’m trying to study on Google, just trying to find any kind of tidbit that I can.”

“Learning defenses, being able to prepare for other teams, and really understanding the game and understanding what everybody else is doing, I think that separates me,” he said. “My instincts, my cerebral-ness as a football player.”

Here is the scouting report from Lance Zierlein NFL.com

STRENGTHS

Fluid, controlled steps with easy change of direction allows for extended mirroring from press. Decent jam to disrupt. Carries smooth backpedal downfield with excellent mirror-and-match footwork in man coverage. Digests route combinations from zone and makes wise choices. Athletic with suddenness in his movements. Springy feet allow for abrupt click and close to the throw. Opens and swivels hips for desired transition in all directions. Experienced outside and from slot. Able to maintain coverage on shifty slot receivers. Instinctive with feel for route development. Possesses short-area closing burst. Confident on an island. Finds receiver on deep balls and gets head turned around. Dangerous slot blitzer with seven sacks over final two seasons at Colorado.

WEAKNESSES

Short strider. Appears to lack long, recovery speed if beaten over top. Feels smaller than his listed size. Can be handsy down the field with pulls and tugs that turn into flags as a pro. Managed just three interceptions in college. Run support is lacking. Could use more aggressiveness and commitment when stepping downhill to tackle. Passes on the big hit and allows tight ends and big receivers to power through tackle attempts.

Here is the scouting report from Pro Football Focus:

What he does best:

Excellent fit in zone coverage. Reads plays well to break on the ball in front of him.

Improved at getting his hands on the ball on in 2016, with pass breakups going from five in 2015 to nine this past year.

Reads screens to wide receivers well, coming up to make tackles behind and close to the line of scrimmage.

Experience playing both at outside cornerback and in the slot, and has shown the quickness to cover in the slot effectively.

At 6 feet and 202 pounds, has the size NFL teams covet at cornerback.

Contributed as a blitzer, racking up eight sacks, six hits and 17 hurries over the past two seasons.

Biggest concern:

Long speed is an issue? Struggled with recovery speed on several long receptions this past season.

Not a playmaker. While he improved at forcing pass breakups in 2016, he has recorded just three interceptions over the past three seasons.

Needs to improve his technique as a tackler. Far too often he goes in high and looking for a big hit. Missed 33 tackles over the past three years and will likely miss even more against bigger, stronger NFL receivers.

Here are his measurables courtesy of mockdraftable.

The Cowboys have themselves a corner. That’s a good start to day two. What do you think of this pick?