NFL Draft Preview 2015: CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
The Sports Quotient’s annual Draft Preview series returns! Over the course of the ten weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position. This second week, the focus is on cornerbacks. Our first CB prospect is Ifo Ekpre-Olomu out of Oregon.
In his four years as a Duck, Ekpre-Olomu played in 53 games, racking up 244 total tackles (including 6.5 for a loss), nine interceptions, eight forced fumbles and one touchdown. His sophomore season was arguably his most impressive. In 2012, Ekpre-Olomu totaled 63 total tackles, four interceptions and six forced fumbles. The latter two were career highs, and his tackles total was topped in only one of his other three seasons.
Ekpre-Olomu tore his ACL in practice mid-December before the inaugural College Football Playoff, and missed both of Oregon's playoff games. Though it has been reported that his knee is healing ahead of schedule, most still expect that he will miss the start of the 2015 regular season, which will likely affect his draft status.
Ekpre-Olomu is a very agile defender who swivels well and has quick feet. He can play both man and zone coverage and transitions easily between them. He is a playmaker who projects as a solid NFL special teams gunner.
Ekpre-Olomu tackles well, though that was more of a struggle this past season. Still, he often makes strong tackles in the open field, as can be seen below:
The torn ACL is one of Ekpre-Olomu biggest flaws; it will surely cause him to fall on draft day(s). He also tends to try to jump routes, which can come back to bite him. He is short for a modern cornerback at 5'10" - For comparison, Seattle's Richard Sherman is 6'3" - and there is concern that he will not be able to cover taller receivers. Some have called his defensive style unorthodox, saying that he does not rely enough on technique.
Ekpre-Olomu was no lock for the first round before his ACL tear, and now the consensus is that he is more of a third-to-fourth-round guy. Because of his small size, Ekpre-Olomu could struggle to find a place as a NFL starter and could be relegated to special teams early in his career.
The Philadelphia Eagles make the most sense for Ekpre-Olomu, as former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is now the head coach there. Kelly got the most out of Ekpre-Olomu while he was still at Oregon, and he should best know how to fit Ekpre-Olomu into an NFL lineup. The fact that the Eagles need secondary help is also a plus.