Cornerbacks aren’t always the highest priority for NFL teams during the draft, due to their rather short career span and the ability to, for the most part, change them in and out rather easily. However, the team that is lucky enough to get their hands on Oregon corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will be very fortunate, as the junior provides a very unique skill set that is not too commonly found among cornerbacks in the NFL.
The most striking comparison to Ekpre-Olomu’s playing style is that of St. Louis Rams corner Cortland Finnegan. Like Finnegan, Ekpre-Olomu is a bit undersized, but he makes up for it with an extreme level of physicality, which brings him success in pass coverage and run defense. On top of that, his high level of discipline when it comes to positioning frequently allows him to break up passes and get interceptions. And even more so than Finnegan, Ekpre-Olumu is a very good tackler, who if nothing else will provide a team with a great special teams asset due to his crisp form and positioning.
Ekpre-Olumu’s lack of size will undoubtedly cause him to slip down some team’s draft boards, and it’s not very likely that he’ll be able to make it into the first round, especially due to the notoriety of Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby and Florida‘s Loucheiz Purifoy. Ekpre-Olumu’s on-field performance certainly would make him worthy of a first-round selection, however, and whatever team takes him will be making a wise choice.
- Fantastic positioning all the time, which enables him to be a playmaker.
- Physical tackler, does a good job of consistently getting in on plays.
- Very good run defender.
- Great in press coverage.
- Always plays full-speed and goes to the whistle.
- Impressive athleticism and jumping ability.
- Somewhat inconsistent when sitting back in zone coverage.
- Seems to have issues covering significantly bigger receivers and tight ends.
- Physicality puts him at risk for penalty calls.
- Size could be a turnoff to some teams.
Ekpre-Olomu has gotten off to a very solid start in 2013, and has 11 tackles through Oregon’s first two contests. He will be getting challenged weekly as Oregon navigates through the pass-heavy Pac 12. The Ducks won’t face USC during the regular season, so Ekpre-Olomu won’t have a chance to go up against the conference’s best receiver in Marqise Lee. His greatest challenge of the year likely will come in week eight, when he’ll have to try to stop UCLA‘s dynamic passing attack.
2014 Draft Projection: second round