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CU at the NFL Draft

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CU at the NFL Draft

 

May 2nd

Inside knowledge helped Cowboys draft two Buffs

From ESPN … The best way to have quality drafts is to mitigate risks.

No player is ever foolproof, but the more you know about the player, the better the chance he will succeed, whether he is a first-round pick, a seventh-round pick or an undrafted free agent.

The Dallas Cowboys used some inside knowledge in the selection of their draft choices, as well as one of their impending undrafted free agents.

… Before becoming the head coach at Colorado, Mike McIntyre was an assistant secondary coach for the Cowboys from 2003-06 under Bill Parcells. In the second round, the Cowboys chose Chidobe Awuzie, who was set to play for McIntyre at San Jose State before McIntyre took over at Colorado.

… “I think it is a huge, huge asset for us. We have great relationships with them, I know our coaches do, certainly, and our scouts, had great visits with Coach MacIntyre,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “Of course, he has done a great job over there at Colorado. He was a big, big, big-time endorser of that situation, and then you turn around and look at our internal knowledge that we had with Greg Jackson and what he knew about these football players at Michigan certainly helped us. He was right there on the coaching staff and right there in the middle of it. It’s rare that you get that type of internal knowledge on football players. It certainly helped us.”

Continue reading story here

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May 1st

Jon Wilner: Pac-12 winners and losers from the 2017 NFL Draft

From the San Jose Mercury News … NFL draft picks, broken down by picks per team:

SEC: 53 picks/3.78 picks per team
ACC: 42 picks/3.0 picks per team
Pac-12: 36 picks/3.0 picks per team
Big Ten: 35 picks/2.5 picks per team
Big 12: 14 picks/1.4 picks per team
AAC: 15 picks/1.25 picks per team

Winner: Utah. Led the Pac-12 and set a school record with eight players selected, including four offensive linemen.

Loser: Utah. That’s one draft pick per FBS victory — not so hot — and eight more draft picks than Oregon.

Winner: Colorado’s secondary. Joined Washington as one of the few defensive backfields to have three players picked. (The NFL thought both units were as good as they looked.)

Loser: Davis Webb. After so much pre-draft bravado, the Cal QB slid all the way to the back end of the third round. Now comes his chance to prove all those teams wrong.

Loser: Oregon. Shut out of the draft for the first time since 1985, when, if I remember correctly, they were not a destination program.

Winner: UCLA . Five players selected.

Loser: UCLA. More draft picks than wins is a very bad look. How bad? Of the 15 programs with at least five players picked, the Bruins were the only team to win fewer than eight games. And they only made it halfway to eight.

Continue reading story here

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April 30th

2017 NFL Draft … notes and numbers

— CU had four players drafted, with four others signing free agent contracts. The draft total was the highest since 2011, when four Buffs were also drafted (OT Nate Solder and CB Jimmie Smith in the first round; CB Jalil Brown in the fourth round; and WR Scotty McKnight in the seventh)

Related … “Neill Woelk: CU Once Again Becoming ‘Must’ Destination On NFL Scouts’ Itinerary” … from CUBuffs.com

— Colorado had three defensive backs taken in the draft. The only other schools to have three taken were Florida, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State and Washington. This draft represented the fourth time CU has had three defensive backs taken in one draft.

— Tedric Thompson is the first safety selected in the NFL Draft since Michael Lewis in 2002.

Related … “Tedric Thompson can’t hold back emotions after receiving call from Seahawks” … From ESPN

— Jordan Carrell is the first defensive tackle to be drafted since Tyler Brayton was a 1st-round pick of the Raiders in 2003.

— With both Chidobe Awuzie (second round) and Jordan Carrell (seventh round) being taken by the Dallas Cowboys, it marked the first time since 2000 in which two Buffs were drafted by one team in the same draft (OG Brad Bedell and LB Rashidi Barnes, by the Cleveland Browns).

Related … “Secret Audio: Dallas Picks An Ecstatic Jordan Carrell” … from the Dallas Cowboys

Related … “Secret Audio: Chidobe Awuzie Gets The Call” … from the Dallas Cowboys 

… Pac-12 Notes … 

— The Pac-12 came in third in the total number of players taken, with 36. For the 11th consecutive season, the SEC had the most players taken, with 53. The ACC finished second, with 42 (though 31 of the 42 were taken on the third day, rounds 4-7). The Pac-12 was next, with 36, just ahead of the 35 selected from the Big Ten. The Big 12 had only 14 players drafted, the fewest since the conference formed from the merger of the Southwest Conference and Big Eight in 1996. The Big 12 had 26 picks last year, and the previous low was 17 in 2014.

— Two years in a row the new all-time leading receiver in Pac-12 history has gone undrafted – Nelson Spruce in 2016; Gabe Marks in 2017.

The Pac-12 draft, by school:

8-Utah … the most in Utah school history. The most at CU? 11 players, in 1976 … the heralded Class of 1995 had ten (as did the Class of ’74), and the national championship Class of 1991 had nine (as did the Class of ’77)

5-UCLA; USC; Washington

4-Colorado

3-Cal

2-Oregon State; 2-Stanford

1-Arizona State; Washington State

0-Arizona; Oregon

— Oregon went without a drafted player for the first time since 1985. The Arizona schools mustered only one drafted player between them, ASU kicker Zane Gonzalez, who went to Cleveland in the seventh round.

Nationally … 

CU’s place in all-time draftees … Buffs hold onto 22nd place on the list (updated to include 2017 Draft):

No. 20 – Pittsburgh … 278 … Five players taken in 2017

No. 21 – Wisconsin … 273 … up three

No. 22 – Colorado … 270 … up four

No. 23 – Auburn … 269 … up four

No. 25 – Arkansas … 266 … up three (jumping over Minnesota)

No. 26 – Minnesota … 265 … up one (and down one spot to No. 26)

 

Most defensive backs drafted in Common Draft Era (1967) … updated to include the 2017 draft:

58- Ohio State

54- USC

50- Notre Dame

49- Nebraska

47- Colorado, Miami (Buffs and Hurricanes, with three each in 2017, jumped over Sooners and Longhorns)

46- Oklahoma, Texas

44- Florida State

 

—–

April 29th – Day Three – NFL Draft

Jordan Carrell to the Cowboys in the seventh round

In something of a surprise, the Dallas Cowboys picked another Buff.

A day after taking Chidobe Awuzie in the second round, the Cowboys took defensive lineman Jordan Carrell in the seventh round, with the 246th overall pick.

Carrell becomes the tenth CU player to be drafted by Dallas. Ironically enough, he is the third Buff to be taken in the seventh round by the Cowboys, joining quarterback David Williams (1976) and offensive tackle Justin Bates (2003).

“They play a 4-3 and he’s a three-technique pass rushing guy inside,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He really did well at his workout here and they saw the quickness. I’m excited for him.

“When we went nickel he stayed in there because he’s an inside pass-rush guy. He had a lot of stamina and played a lot for us.”

He earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors as a senior when he helped lead the CU defense that ranked in the top 20 nationally by allowing just 342.5 yards per game. His 695 snaps played on defense and 51 tackles with 5½ sacks in 2016, which ranked second on the team and in a tie for 10th in the Pac-12.

In fact, Carrell played the most snaps of any D-lineman for the Buffs the past two seasons. He played in 784 snaps in 2015 when he had 52 tackles, including eight for losses, had six third down stops and three forced fumbles.

“JC always has a smile on his face,” MacIntyre said. “He is in a good niche there. He has a good first step and good hips and can pass rush well inside. He had a hard year with his dad dying and he overcame that. His work ethic, he’s already earned his degree — he’s done really well. I’m just really excited for him.”

With the taking of Carrell, the 2017 NFL draft marks the first time since 1998 that Colorado had four defensive players taken in the same draft. In also marks the first time since 2000 in which two Buffs went to the same team in one draft (Brad Bedell and Rashidi Barnes to Cleveland).

Jordan Carrell is the first Buff defensive tackle to be drafted since Tyler Brayton was a 1st-round pick of the Raiders in 2003.

Tedric Thompson to the Seahawks with the fourth pick of the fourth round

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado Buffalo safety Tedric Thompson was drafted Saturday by the Seattle Seahawks with the fourth pick in the fourth round, No. 111 overall, in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Following Chidobe Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon‘s selections in the second and third round of the draft of Friday, Thompson gives CU three defensive backs to go in the draft. This is the fourth time in the common draft era (since 1967) that CU has seen three defensive backs selected in the same NFL Draft; the others were in the 2000, 1980 and 1977.

CU is joined by Florida, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State and Washington as schools in this year’s draft to have three defensive backs selected.

Thompson becomes the seventh Buff to be drafted by the Seahawks, the last being wide receiver Paul Richardson in the second round (No. 45 overall) of the 2014 draft.

“It just feels like a blessing to see my older brother get drafted a couple years ago and to see two of my best friends get drafted yesterday, so it is just a blessing to God to be able to be able to play football again,” Thompson said. “It’s a blessing to go to a great organization; Pete Carrol of course was a great head coach when I was growing up in Los Angeles, California, to see him at USC, so it’s a great feeling.

“I’m just trying to go in and where ever I am needed or where ever they want to put me, I’m going to try to the best of my ability to make sure that they are happy with what they got.”

Thompson had a distinguished career at CU where he appeared in 43 games with 38 starts for the Buffaloes. During his senior season when he was a second-team All-America selection of CBSSports.com, he led the Pac-12 in interceptions with seven. That mark that tied for the most in CU single-season history and also tied for the third-most of any player in the country in 2016 (trailing the eight by Florida State’s Tarvarus McFadden and West Virginia’s Rasul Douglas).

“Tedric is a young man who overcame a lot to be where he is today,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “Even while he was at CU, his work ethic and his tenacity to keep going is what has made him special. It’s a great pick by the Seattle Seahawks because he fits their system perfectly, that middle-roaming safety.”

He finished his career with 13 interceptions, tied for fifth on CU’s all-time list as well as tied for the most over the last 23 seasons.  He also concluded his career tied for sixth in pass deflections (34) and 38th in tackles with 246 (172 solo).

Thompson also collected first-team All-Pac-12 honors his senior season from the Associated Press. He also joins his older brother, Cedric, who was a fifth round pick of Miami in the 2015 NFL Draft and currently on the Minnesota Vikings roster.

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April 28th – Day Two – NFL Draft

Chidobe Awuzie to the Cowboys … Ahkello Witherspoon to the 49ers

Related … “Neill Woelk: Awuzie, Witherspoon Legacy Will Translate Well In NFL” … from CUBuffs.com

Related“Chidobe Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon get call from NFL” … from the Daily Camera

Chidobe Awuzie 

After a long two days of waiting, CU cornerback Chidobe Awuzie finally heard his name called in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft.

Awuzie went to the Dallas Cowboys with the 28th pick of the second round, the 60th pick overall.

“No. 1 Chido is just a phenomenal person,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He graduated in three and a half years, excellent teammate on and off the field. He’s everything that represents a true college student-athlete. For him to have the opportunity to now go play for the Dallas Cowboys is awesome for him. The Dallas Cowboys have a special person and a special player.

“I do have heartstrings to Dallas. A lot of the same people are still there in the front office and player personnel. I’m excited knowing the people he’s going to be around.”

Awuzie is the first Buff taken since Paul Richardson went to the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 2014 draft. He is the first CU player taken by Dallas since 2003, when offensive tackle Justin Bates went to the Cowboys in the seventh round, and will be the first Buff to play for Dallas since offensive tackle Ryan Miller in 2015.

Awuzie was the 11th player overall to be chosen from the Pac-12. Of the ten players taken from the conference before Awuzie, six were defensive backs.

“How Second-Round Pick Chidobe Awuzie Will Fit Into Defensive Plans”

From DallasCowboys.com … How He Fits In: After addressing their defensive line in round one with the selection of Taco Charlton, the Cowboys made it clear that they’d be addressing the secondary with their second pick, feeling certain that quality cornerback talent would still be available at pick No. 60. The departure of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, as well as safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox had left the back end of the Dallas defense thin. Given that, Awuzie will now be expected to step right in and contribute immediately alongside veteran Orlando Scandrick, newly signed free agent Nolan Carroll and second-year man Anthony Brown.

Continue reading story here

Ahkello Witherspoon

Just six picks after Chidobe Awuzie went to the Dallas Cowboys, Ahkello Witherspoon was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers.

The second pick of the third round, Witherspoon was the 66th pick overall.

Witherspoon becomes the first Buff taken by San Francisco since 1996, when defensive end Darryl Price went to the Bay area in the fourth round. The last Buff to play for the 49ers was also a defensive end, Marques Harris, who played for San Francisco in 2009.

“I’m really happy for Ahkello,” MacIntyre said. “He’s from Northern California and I imagine that’s a dream come true for him. He’s long and athletic and every year just kept getting better and better for us. He’s going to be a great pro corner. John Lynch (Niners GM) being a DB himself, I know made a great pick on getting Ahkello in San Francisco.

“I recruited him out of high school and he wasn’t very big. But he kept growing and we recruited him out of junior college and got him here. He was a young man who just kept developing. I saw great skills in him and he had a great work ethic and developed those skills. He’s a very intelligent young man and I’m very excited for him. In another year he’s going to be bigger and stronger and he’s going to be an excellent, excellent NFL player.”

Witherspoon became the 13th pick from the Pac-12 conference overall, with only wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster coming between the Buff defensive backs.

After a first round that was littered with defensive backs (eight were take Thursday), Awuzie and Witherspoon become CU’s 45th and 46th DB’s drafted in the common draft era (since 1967). That moved up into a tie for fifth with Oklahoma and Texas for the most in that time period.

49ers draft cornerback with Northern California roots”

From the San Jose Mercury News … Witherspoon (6-foot-3, 198 pounds) hails from the Sacramento area, attending Christian Brothers High School and Sacramento City College before transferring to Colorado.

“Being close to home is an incredible opportunity,” Witherspoon said on a media conference call.

The 49ers’ new scheme will have cornerbacks employ more press techniques at the line of scrimmage before eventually converting into man coverage with single-high safety help.

“They like my ability to press, be up in your face and be physical, and that’s what I intend to do,” Witherspoon added.

Witherspoon acknowledged he needs to improve as a tackler and in run support but has set a goal to dominate the NFL by 2020.

“Yes, I’m capable and exceptional right now. But I was telling them my potential and where I’ll be in three years is what’s really exciting for me,” Witherspoon said. “I’m as interested to see how good I can be as well as they are, and I feel we can take this to a very special place.”

Continue reading story here

NFL.com revises mock draft – three CU defensive backs going in Rounds 2 and 3

From NFL.com … With Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft in the books, here’s a look at how Rounds 2-3 could play out on Friday night. There are still plenty of talented players available:

Round 2 – Pick No. 36 – Chidobe Awuzie … to the Chicago Bears … Physical cornerback who can compete for playing time early and help on special teams coverage.

Round 3 – Pick No. 92 – Tedric Thompson … to the Dallas Cowboys

Round 3 – Pick No. 97 – Ahkello Witherspoon … to the Miami Dolphins

The CBS Sports updated mock draft has Chidobe Awuzie going to the New York Jets with the No. 39 overall pick.

—–

April 27th – Day One – NFL Draft 

Pac-12 First Round draft picks 

… Chidoe Awuzie did not hear his name called in the first round of the NFL draft, though he will likely hear his name called early Friday night (the Green Bay Packers, who traded out of the first round, have been rumored as a possible landing spot for Awuzie. The Packers have the first pick of the second round, No. 33 overall. Coverage begins at 5:00 p.m., Friday, on ESPN) … 

The Pac-12 had six first round picks, half of the number selected by the SEC, which had the most picks of any conference (again). The Big Ten had seven first round selections (with five of those coming in the last nine picks, while the Pac-12 had three players taken in the top ten). The ACC had four selections, while the Big 12 had only one player selected (the same number as came out of the MAC and AAC).

The Pac-12 first round picks … 

No. 3 – Solomon Thomas, DT – Stanford … to San Francisco 49ers

No. 8 – Christian McCaffrey, RB – Stanford … to Carolina Panthers

No. 9 – John Ross, WR – Washington … to Cincinnati Bengals

No. 18 – Adoree Jackson, CB – USC … to Tennessee Titans

No. 20 – Garett Bolles, OT – Utah … to Denver Broncos

No. 26 – Takkarist McKinley, DE – UCLA … to Atlanta Falcons

In 2016 … the Pac-12 had four players chose in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft, including the first overall pick in Cal quarterback Jared Goff.

Other first round picks from the Pac-12: DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon, No. 7 overall (San Francisco) … Kenny Clark, DL, UCLA, No. 27 overall (Pittsburgh) … Joshua Garnett, OL, Stanford, No. 28 overall (San Francisco).

Overall, however, the conference lagged behind other Power-Five conferences in first round selections. The SEC had eight first round selections, with eight, followed by the Big Ten, with six (five of those from Ohio State alone). The Pac-12’s four picks was matched by the ACC, with the Big 12 coming in with three first round selections.

CU’s entire draft history

First round refresher course 

Pac-12 NFL first round draft picks

All-time NFL first round draft picks from Pac-12 teams (to see results from the start of the common era draft – 1967 – and most recent first round picks, scroll down) , from Winsipedia:

No. 1 – USC … 79

No. 17 – UCLA … 33

No. 22 – California … 27

No. 24t – Colorado … 24

No. 24t – Arizona State … 24

No. 27t – Stanford … 23

No. 27t – Washington … 23

No. 39 – Oregon … 18

No. 46t – Washington State … 13

No. 54t – Arizona … 10

No. 61t – Utah … 7

No. 65t – Oregon State … 6

… and … No. 68t – Colorado State … 5

Historically … Colorado has the 5th-most first round picks in the Pac-12

Since the NFL and AFL began the common draft in 1967, Colorado has had 22 first round draft picks*. This is good enough for 5th in the annals of the Pac-12. Oregon State, with the fewest, celebrated just its third first round pick in 2014 with Brandin Cooks.

Washington State broke the longest drought without a first round pick, dating back to 2003, when Deone Bucannon went to Arizona with the 27th pick in 2015. The longest drought without a first round pick now belongs to Arizona, which last had a first round pick in 2008.

The Pac-12 conference and the first round of the NFL draft (in the “common draft era” 1967-present):

USC – 70 … Most recent: 2015 – Leonard Williams, DE, 6th pick, New York Jets; Nelson Agholor, WR, 20th pick, Philadelphia

UCLA – 25 … Most recent: 2016 – Kenny Clark, DT, 27th pick, Green Bay

California – 24 … Most recent: 2016 – Jared Goff, QB, 1st pick, Los Angeles Rams

Arizona State – 23 … Most recent: 2015 – Damarious Randall, 30th pick, S, Green Bay

Colorado – 22 … Most recent: 2011 – Nate Solder, OT, 17th pick, New England; and Jimmy Smith, CB, 27th pick, Baltimore

Washington – 20 … Most recent: 2015 – Danny Shelton, DT, 12th pick, Cleveland; Marcus Peters, CB, 18th pick, Kansas City; Shaq Thompson, LB, 25th pick, Carolina

Stanford – 18 … Most recent: 2016 – Joshua Garnett, OG, 28th pick, San Francisco

Oregon – 16 … Most recent: 2016 – DeForest Buckner, DE, 7th pick, San Francisco

Washington State – 9 … Most recent: 2014 – Deone Bucannon, S, 27th pick, Arizona

Arizona – 9 … Most recent: 2008 – Antoine Cason, CB, 27th pick, San Diego

Utah – 6 …  Most recent: 2013 – Star Lotulelei, DT, 14th pick, Carolina

Oregon State – 3 … Most recent: 2014 – Brandin Cooks, WR, 20th pick, New Orleans

(And, in case you are wondering … Colorado State – 4 … Most recent: 1987 – Kelly Stouffer, QB, 6th pick, St. Louis)

* Colorado actually has had 24 first round NFL first round picks overall, counting Byron White, the 4th overall pick in 1938 (Pittsburgh) and Jerry Hillebrand, TE, the 13th overall pick of the 1962 draft (New York Giants).

Interview with first round candidate Chidobe Awuzie

From YouTube …

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April 26th

Neill Woelk and friends conduct first mock draft of CU players

From CUBuffs.com … It started innocently enough. Some Colorado Athletic Department staffers discussing the upcoming NFL Draft, then drifting into the territory of all-time Buffs NFL Draft picks (266 total).

The question soon arose: If you were building an NFL team today, which Buff would be your first overall pick?

The possibilities are intriguing, to say the least. If you are concentrating on defense first, do you go with Alfred Williams? Or how about Charlie Johnson, Dick Anderson, Chad Brown, Greg Biekert, Herb Orvis, Joel Steed, Jimmy Smith or Michael Lewis?

The questions are the same on offense. Kordell Stewart? Rashaan Salaam? Michael Westbrook? Or maybe Byron “Whizzer” White, Stan Brock, Nate Solder, Cliff Branch, Boyd Dowler, Chris Brown, David Bakhtiari or John Wooten?

Continue reading story here

Participating CU staffers included Associate A.D. Lance Carl, Director of Digital Strategy Curtis Snyder, Associate SID Jason Clay, SID assistant Ryan Megay and CUBuffs.com contributing editor Neill Woelk.

ROUND ONE
1. OT Stan Brock (1980), Woelk
2. DE Alfred Williams (1991), Carl
3. S Dick Anderson (1968), Snyder
4. OG Andre Gurode (2002), Clay
5. DE Herb Orvis (1972), Megay

Continue reading draft here

Tedric Thompson and Sefo Liufau to wind up on the west coast?

From BoltBeat.com … “Two under-the-radar secondary options the Chargers should target“:

Tedric Thompson, FS, Colorado … If the Chargers want a ball-hawking centerfielder in DC Gus Bradley’s 4-3 scheme, then look no further than safety Tedric Thompson.

The 6-foot, 204-pounder out of Colorado finished with 26 pass deflections, 13 interceptions and 7.5 sacks in his four-year career with the Buffaloes. 16 of those 26 pass deflections and seven of those 13 interceptions came in 2016, which led to first-team All-Pac-12 honors. He’s a durable player who appeared in almost every game since joining the team in 2013 (only missed the final four games his sophomore year due to a concussion).

Thompson is a true free safety with elite ball skills, top-notch instincts and good range.

Continue reading story here

From the Tacoma News Tribune … “Liufau is the tough, gritty backup QB Seattle needs

Sefo Liufau belongs in a Seahawks uniform.

I believe this not just because Liufau, who starred at Bellarmine Prep before setting career passing records the University of Colorado, is a local product.

During the league’s infancy, before national television revenues replaced box office sales as a primary source of income, NFL owners typically acquired homegrown players as household names capable of boosting attendance. That hasn’t been the case for years.

On the other hand, the fact Liufau established himself in the area shouldn’t be held against him. Had the Mariners drafted Jon Lester and Tim Lincecum as candidates in a fantasyland rotation with Felix Hernandez, their playoff drought isn’t 16 years and counting.

Liufau belongs in a Seahawks uniform because he fits a need: A tough, strong backup to Russell Wilson who, unlike Wilson’s last two backups, can be trusted to behave off the field as he develops on it.

At 6 feet 4 and 230 pounds, Liufau fits the prototype of a pro quarterback. He’s not fully polished as a passer, but that’s to the Seahawks advantage — it’s almost certain he’ll be available Saturday, when the draft concludes with rounds four through seven.

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April 25th

Chidobe Awuzie – to the Packers in the first round?

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … After a stellar season and solid pre-draft workouts, it’s clear Awuzie’s greatest obstacle isn’t size or skill. Or the demand for top-tier cornerbacks (a constant in the NFL). Instead, it’s the supply side of the equation: The draft is deep with talent at the position. Awuzie isn’t considered one of the select few guaranteed to get snatched up in the first round. He’s in the next group, with USC’s Adoree Jackson — the prospects who could be selected anywhere in the No. 20 – 60 range.

Could go as high as: Late-first round

Could go as low as: Late-second round

What they’re saying: “The Colorado product is a great fit for the Packers,” NFL.com analyst Chad Reuter wrote. “(Defensive) coordinator Dom Capers already has a game plan for a player similar to Micah Hyde, who was lost in free agency.”

Potential landing spot: Green Bay

Mock Draft: Awuzie to the Packers 

From the Canal Street Chronicles … With the 29th overall pick in the 2017 CSC community mock draft, the Green Bay Packers select….

Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado (6-foot, 190-pounds)

The Packers had two major issues last year: Running the ball and defending the pass. With the top four running backs off of the board at this point, it only makes sense to look for a cornerback. Luckily, the cornerback class is incredibly deep this year, and there is still valuable DBs on the board even as several have been taken in this mock.

Chidobe Awuzie has the size and length to be a very good outside corner in the NFL. He’s shown good speed and great jam at the line to disrupt receivers. With seven sacks over his final two seasons at Colorado, he also offers a lot of value as a slot blitzer at the next level. Shows very good technique tackling and takes great angles. Packers fans should be very pleased if they end up with a kid like Awuzie to help fix a bleeding secondary. Awuzie should fit wherever the Packers see a fit for him, and he can come in and make an immediate impact.

—–

April 24th

Sefo Liufau rated higher than Davis Webb in one rating

From Tom Fornelli at CBS Sports … I don’t know the secret to figuring out whether or not a college quarterback will be a good in the NFL. If I did, I wouldn’t have written this story because I’d be getting paid millions of dollars by an NFL franchise.

Of course, like NFL general managers and scouts, just because I don’t know the secret doesn’t mean I haven’t spent plenty of time trying to figure it out, and while I’m a long way away from the answer, I have found a way that gives a bit of an edge.

For the last six years, I’ve been working on a mathematical formula based on a quarterback’s statistics and performance in certain situations on the college level. These are situations which I believe give us an idea of how well that player would perform on an NFL level where defenses are smarter, quicker, and just more difficult to defeat.

Continue reading story here

RANK QUARTERBACK SCHOOL FORNELLI RATING 2016 PASSING STATS
1 Mitch Trubisky North Carolina 983.755 3,748 yards, 30 TD, 6 INT
2 Pat Mahomes Texas Tech 960.664 5,052 yards, 41 TD, 10 INT
3 Cooper Rush Central Michigan 951.433 3,540 yards, 23 TD, 16 INT
4 Nathan Peterman Pittsburgh 946.237 2,855 yards, 27 TD, 7 INT
5 Chad Kelly Ole Miss 938.078 2,758 yards, 19 TD, 8 INT
6 Deshaun Watson Clemson 934.986 4,593 yards, 41 TD, 17 INT
7 Seth Russell Baylor 928.030 2,126 yards, 20 TD, 8 INT
8 Jerod Evans Virginia Tech 924.985 3,552 yards, 29 TD, 8 INT
9 Sefo Liufau Colorado 914.523 2,366 yards, 11 TD, 6 INT
10 Davis Webb California 909.509 4,295 yards, 37 TD, 12 INT

 

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DB U? CU in top seven on list of schools with most drafted DB’s … with three more coming this week

From PickSixPreviews.com … Most defensive backs drafted in Common Draft Era (1967):

55- Ohio State

52- USC

50- Notre Dame

48- Nebraska

46- Oklahoma, Texas

44- Colorado, Miami

43- Florida State

Ahkello Witherspoon making the rounds

From nola.com … The New Orleans Saints recently played host to one of the NFL Draft’s intriguing cornerbacks.

Colorado’s Ahkello Witherspoon met with the Saints on a predraft visit in the past week, a source familiar with the situation confirmed.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network first reported the news, adding Witherspoon also had predraft visits with the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.

… NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock raved about Witherspoon during a teleconference in the days leading to the Combine, pointing out Witherspoon’s coverage skills.

“He’s really already got a feel – a good feel – for press coverage, press man-to man,” Mayock said on Feb. 27. “I like him a lot.”

Continue reading story here

—–

April 22nd

Sefo Liufau – On the outside looking in?

Analysis … From NFL.com … Grade: 4.80 (Chidobe Awuzie has a grade of 5.82; Ahkello Witherspoon has a grade of 5.71; Tedric Thompson has a grade of 5.57; Jimmie Gilbert has a grade of 5.23; Josh Tupou has a grade of 4.98).

STRENGTHS  Big, burly frame to handle physical demands of Colorado’s offense. Four-year starter and three-year team captain who is beloved by his teammates and coaches for toughness and leadership qualities. Played through a bad ankle for much of the year to help lead Colorado out of the doldrums. Called “tough, tough, tough competitor” by Washington coaches. Run-pass quarterback who can bang out yardage on the ground when necessary. Throws deep ball with touch and is comfortable working outside the numbers on intermediate and deep throws. Good pocket mobility. Paces just ahead of league average for accuracy on all three levels of the field.

BOTTOM LINE … Liufau’s toughness, leadership and competitive spirit is exactly what teams want and it happens to come in an NFL-ready frame. Unfortunately, his lack of timing and anticipation as a passer is one of the reasons his touchdown numbers are so low per attempt. While he showed an ability to run Colorado’s offense with relative effectiveness, his game doesn’t appear to translate to the NFL level.

NFLDraftScout.com has Liufau listed as the No. 16 (out of 138), and the No. 315 player overall prospect.

Draftcountdown.com has Liufau as the No. 14 quarterback, and either a late round pick or an undrafted free agent.

CBS Sports.com has Liufau as the No. 16 quarterback, and the No. 325 prospect overall.

Draftanalyst.com … Four-year starter who earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 in 2016 after throwing for 2,366 yards and totaling 19 touchdowns (eight rushing) with six interceptions. Had 14 total touchdowns (five rushing) and six interceptions as a junior before suffering a Lisfranc injury and undergoing surgery in November. Named Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 in 2014 after tossing a career-high 28 touchdown passes with 15 interceptions. Started seven games as a freshman and threw 12 TDs.

Liufau is a relatively athletic quarterback with good size who did well on the college level but must improve every aspect of his passing game to make it off a practice squad.

 

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April 21st

Josh Tupou – A sixth round selection?

Analysis … From NFL.com … Grade: 4.98 (Chidobe Awuzie has a grade of 5.82; Ahkello Witherspoon has a grade of 5.71; Tedric Thompson has a grade of 5.57; Jimmie Gilbert has a grade of 5.23).

STRENGTHS … Wide as a house. Squatty frame with big, strong legs. Can drop a heavy anchor and man his area of the turf. Centers struggle to get any kind of movement against him without help. Space-eater who can post and eat up the gaps. Good upper body strength to fend off shoulder or hip-torque moves to tilt him off balance.

BOTTOM LINE … Does one thing and one thing only — eat up space. Doesn’t have enough reactive quickness or even functional movement to find himself in many plays that aren’t right at him, but his size and anchor gives him a shot with a team who values pure girth for early downs.

NFLDraftScout.com has Tupou listed as the No. 24 nose tackle (out of 197), and the No. 257 overall prospect.

Draftcountdown.com has Tupou as the No. 21 defensive tackle overall, and either a late round pick or an undrafted free agent.

CBS Sports.com has Tupou as the No. 254 prospect overall. In one mock draft, Tupou is going to the Seahawks in the sixth round.

FoxSports.com has Tupou going to the New England Patriots in the sixth round, the No. 200 pick overall.

 

From Draftanalysis.com … Four-year starter named Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 in 2016, making 45 tackles (four for loss) with two sacks. Redshirted in 2015 after getting suspended from the program for a violation of team rules. Earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 in 2014 with 29 tackles (four for loss) and three sacks. Made 50 tackles (7.5 for loss) with 1.5 sacks in his first two seasons at Colorado, garnering Freshman All-American recognition in 2012.

Tupou is a resilient prospect who showed great maturity on and off the field last season. Though he needs to get his weight down, he is one of the more underrated nose tackle prospects in this year’s draft.

Coach Mike MacIntyre will attend NFL Draft with Chidobe Awuzie

From the Daily Camera … Former CU cornerback Chidobe Awuzie was one of 22 players invited to attend the NFL draft, which will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia. MacIntyre and his family will also be in Philadelphia to support Awuzie, who is projected as a potential first- or second-round selection.

Awuzie is believed to be the first Buff ever invited to attend the draft and was a part of MacIntyre’s first recruiting class at CU, in 2013.

 

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April 20th

Jimmie Gilbert – Will he hear his name called on Day Three of the NFL draft?

Analysis … From NFL.com … Grade: 5.23 (Chidobe Awuzie has a grade of 5.82; Ahkello Witherspoon has a grade of 5.71; Tedric Thompson has a grade of 5.57)

STRENGTHS … Athletic, long-levered rusher who understands how to administer his length. Often able to land first punch and keep himself clean against tackles when setting edge. Can range as tackler. Fluid when asked to drop into space. Fires into pass rush with rare stride length to challenge the edge. Uses effective arm over on inside moves. Has foot quickness to shoot gaps. Human slinky with exceptional flexibility in hips and upper body to flip around the edge of blockers. Big closing burst to quarterback. Keeps feet moving through a tackle’s initial punch. Strip-sack specialist looks to attack throwing arm when possible. Forced six fumbles this year alone. Athletic bloodlines with family full of college basketball players.

BOTTOM LINE … Gilbert is an intriguing prospect with outstanding length and athletic traits, but a lack of functional strength that could force teams to consider him as a situational rusher only. Gilbert is unlikely to have much of an impact against the run, but his long arms and upfield charge should have teams paying attention to him as a late round pass-rushing lottery ticket.

NFL.com mock draft has Gilbert going to the Los Angeles Chargers in the 6th round (pick No. 190 overall)

NFLDraftScout.com has Gilbert listed as the No. 35 outside linebacker (out of 187), and the No. 426 overall prospect.

Draftcountdown.com has Gilbert as either a late round pick or an undrafted free agent.

From Draftanalysis.com … Jimmie Gilbert, who comes off a terrific senior season and a great week of practices at the Shrine Game but got snubbed by the combine, had a solid workout (at the CU pro day in March) despite dealing with a bad hamstring.

Gilbert measured 6041 and 235 pounds, touched 37.5 inches in the vertical and ran the 40 as fast as 4.62s, tweaking his hamstring in the process. He timed 4.57s in the short shuttle but further injured the hamstring. He toughed it out during drills, but the hamstring issue kept him from being his best. Gilbert also completed 12 reps on the bench after measuring in with 34-inch arms.

Prior to the workout Gilbert met with the Detroit Lions, and he sat down with the Arizona Cardinals afterwards.

From SteelersDepot.com

Bio

– 27 career starts
– Career: 27 TFL, 18 sacks, 8 FFs
– 2016: 10.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 6 FFs
– Third-Team AP All-American senior year, First Team Pac-12
– Ran a 4.64, jumped 37 inches vertically, and 10 feet in the broad at Pro Day, 81 inch wingspan
– Lettered in football, basketball, and track (shot put) throughout high school
– Mom and Dad played basketball in Texas, dad drafted by Bulls in 1986, older sister Team MVP for Texas A&M’s basketball team in 2013

Projection: Late Day Three (7th Round)

YouTube highlights of Gilbert in action:

 

Chidobe Awuzie continues to gather interest

From PacificTakes.comNo. 18 Tennessee – Chidobe Awuzie CB Colorado – National pundits are finally giving Awuzie respect and he is sliding up in the first round. The Titans could bolster their secondary here after using their first pick on a tight end.

From nfl.com … Jacksonville Jaguars … Perfect draft pair: LSU RB Leonard Fournette (Round 1, pick 4); Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie (Round 2, pick 35)

Jeremiah on Awuzie: This is a little bit of a luxury pick for a really good defense. The Jaguars got A.J. Bouye in free agency and they already have Jalen Ramsey. Those are two great, young corners. Now, you get Awuzie, who can play the nickel spot or safety. He’s a very valuable commodity in this draft.

From sbnation.com … 45. Arizona Cardinals: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

Cox: The Arizona Cardinals were able to get their quarterback of the future at No. 13, now they are able to get one of the most dynamic and versatile defensive backs in the 2017 draft class. Awuzie has played on the boundary, in the slot and even lined up at safety. His versatility and ability in man coverage is something that the Cardinals covet in their defensive secondary.

He has the ability to come in early and compete at a number of positions, which will endear him to the Arizona Cardinals staff and fanbase alike. On top of all of that, he is an outstanding special teams player, who has worked on all teams and been extremely successful.

Analysis: From a system standpoint, the fit of Awuzie is perfect since he’s such a movable piece in the secondary. No defensive back in the draft this year is better at the disguised blitz than Awuzie, nor is there a tougher coverage player. With that said, I have a higher grade on cornerbacks like Sidney Jones of Washington and Teez Tabor of Florida. They’re not as versatile as Awuzie, but they provide better pure coverage skills.

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April 19th

Neill Woelk: “NFL Draft Should Showcase CU’s Talent For Developing DBs” 

From CUBuffs.com … A couple things continue to bubble to the surface as I peruse the possibilities surrounding next week’s NFL Draft:

One, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre knows a few things about defensive backs.

Two, the Buffs’ recent drought when it comes to hearing Colorado players’ names called in the draft seems to be over — not only this year, but for the foreseeable future.

Neither should come as a surprise to anyone who follows the Buffs.

As to the first, there’s never been a doubt that MacIntyre knows the secondary. While he has coached on both sides of the ball as an assistant, he clearly has a heavy dose of DB in his DNA. He played safety in college and coached defensive backs at several stops as an assistant, including five years in the NFL under legendary head coach Bill Parcells. As a head coach, his teams have always had solid secondaries, and last year was simply the product of four years of cultivation in Boulder.

Next week, if all goes well for the Buffs in the draft, Colorado could see three defensive backs selected, with one — Chidobe Awuzie — a potential first-rounder.

… Continue reading story here …

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April 18th

Sporting News Mock Draft … Chidobe Awuzie at No. 14 overall

The highest-draft spot I’ve seen yet for Chidobe Awuzie (the highest previous: No. 15 to Indianapolis)

From the Sporting News

14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Vikings) — Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado: Awuzie has gained steam over the last couple of months and was invited to Philadelphia for the draft. Awuzie is explosive on his break and has excellent length at 6-0, 202 with 31-inch arms. He had 22 pass breakups and three interceptions over the last two seasons and isn’t afraid to help against the run, with 15 tackles for loss over the last two years.

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April 17th

Chidobe Awuzie: “Every time I step on the football field, I try to impose my will on other people”

From SBNation.com … The NFL draft has lots of athletic cornerbacks this year. Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley, Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey, LSU’s Tre’Davious White, Florida’s Teez Tabor, and Washington’s Sidney Jones are just a sample.

Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie thinks your team should want him, in particular, for another reason.

“I’m a cornerback that thinks like a Mike linebacker,” he told SB Nation in an interview. He clearly prizes hitting and tackling, traits not instantly associated with most cornerbacks.

“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.”

Continue reading story here

NFL.com mock draft has four Buffs being selected 

From NFL.com

— Chidobe Awuzie – 1st round – Green Bay Packers … No. 29 overall pick … The Colorado product is a great fit for the Packers, since coordinator Dom Capers already has a game plan for a player similar to Micah Hyde, who was lost in free agency.

— Ahkello Witherspoon – 3rd round – Tennessee Titans – No. 83 overall pick

— Tedric Thompson – 6th round – Cleveland Browns – No. 188 overall pick

— Jimmie Gilbert – 6th round – Los Angeles Chargers – No, 190 overall pick

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April 16th

Checking in with CU’s other defensive back prospects

The 2000 NFL Draft was the last time three Colorado defensive backs were selected in the same year. It also happened in the 1977 and 1980 drafts; the 1980 draft highlighted by cornerback Mark Haynes going No. 8 overall to the New York Giants, the highest CU defensive back ever to be drafted and to this day one of only three defensive backs selected in the first round (others were Deon Figures going 23rd overall in 1993 and Jimmy Smith in 2011).

Now, Chidobe Awuzie, Tedric Thompson, and Ahkello Witherspoon look to make it a fourth time that three Buffs from the secondary all go in the same draft year.

Tedric Thompson 

Thompson is considered to be a mid- to late-round draft pick, with most projections placing him in the seventh (and final) round of the draft.

CBS Sports has Thompson listed as the No. 243 overall prospect, the 11th-best safety, and a 7th-round pick.

NFL.com has Thompson rated with a grade of 5.57 (Chidobe Awuzie has a grade of 5.82; Ahkello Witherspoon has a grade of 5.71). Thompson is projected to be a seventh round draft pick.

Analysis from NFL.com

STRENGTHS … Quality athlete with desired long speed. High school wide receiver with good hands and outstanding ball skills. Can climb the ladder and challenge the jump ball. Works to stay in front of the route rather than trailing. Instincts and athleticism lead him to the throw. Successfully reads quarterback’s intentions. Takes the playmaker’s path to throws targeting catch point over receiver. Squeezes top of the route in zone. Finished with 10 interceptions at Colorado. Covers skills are a plus. Older brother, Cedric, was exceptional athlete as safety at Minnesota and was drafted by the Dolphins in 2015.

BOTTOM LINE … Thompson in an instinctive cover safety with strong ball skills and a history of production during his time at Colorado. Lacks physicality to operate around the box, but his football intelligence and playmaking skills will get him drafted and could give him a shot at eventually starting.

From Pro Football Focus … Bottom line: Thompson is a safety that despite lacking top-end athletic measurable, is able to make up for it with great anticipation and awareness. His ball skills are every bit as outstanding as his stat line suggests, which makes him an interesting long-term study in terms of production vs. athletic capacity. With such a loaded class, his disappointing combine numbers are likely to push him to the middle rounds, but there’s a well-roundedness to his game that suggests he could develop into a starter.

From Dallas Cowboys fansite bloggtheboys.com … Conclusion: Tedric Thompson looks like a potential Day 3 steal to me. He should start off his career as a reserve due to his struggles against the run, but his range, instincts in deep coverage, and unbelievable ball skills could allow him to contribute early on in nickel/dime packages, and he could develop into a starter by his second or third season.

Every once in a while we’ll see guys in college who end up having a fluke season with 8 or 10 interceptions, but I don’t feel that is the case here. Thompson isn’t just lucking into interceptions off tipped passes by being in the right place at the right time, he’s making unbelievable catches over his shoulder or reading the QB and breaking on a pass in a full sprint. Of course the fact that he put up six interceptions in the two seasons prior to 2016 help his case also.

From YouTube … “Best coverage safety in College Football” (You’ll love this highlight package!):

 

April 14th

Ahkello Witherspoon

Witherspoon will likely be the second Buff taken in the draft, and he has been busy of late. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweeted on Thursday that Witherspoon had interviews this week with the Seattle Seahawks, the New Orleans Saints, the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.

Related … “Ahkello Witherspoon is seemingly visiting the Eagles” … from bleedinggreennation.com

Related … “Browns draft prospect of the day: Colorado CB Ahkello Witherspoon” … from BrownsWire.com

Related … “Scouting Report: Ahkello Witherspoon, CB” … from nepatriotsdraft.com

Analysis:

— NFL.com has Witherspoon rated with a grade of 5.71 (Awuzie has a grade of 5.82) … BOTTOM LINE … Possesses a rare combination of size and speed and saw his ball production take a substantial leap this season. Witherspoon played just one season of high school football so his technique and route awareness should continue to improve. Witherspoon’s length and his ability to mirror and match in space should launch him into early playing time, but his unwillingness to tackle and hit will be a complete turn-off for some teams.

Full NFL.com review can be found here

— CBS Sports has Witherspoon rated as the No. 13 cornerback prospect in the draft, and the No. 75 player overall. With this rating, CBS has Witherspoon going in the second or third round.

Full CBS Sports profile can be found here

— Pro Football Focus noted that Witherspoon’s 13 passes broken up in 2016 tied him at No. 1 in the nation.

…. Bottom line: Witherspoon offers elite length at the cornerback position with his 6-foot-3 frame and 33-inch arms. He uses his long arms to disrupt the receivers route and stay on top of him. Even if he is trailing the wide receiver by a step on a vertical route his height, long arms and vertical leaping ability all combine to help him disrupt passes other cornerbacks might not be able to make a play on. His length also reduces the size of passing windows and allows him to still wrap his arm around and break up slants where he has already given up inside leverage. Opposing quarterbacks only had a lowly 50.9 QB rating when throwing into Witherspoon’s coverage in 2016. Witherspoon’s quick feet and excellent balance combined with his length make him a formidable press corner. He isn’t winning with strength/physicality yet but when that element gets added to his game he can become an even better press corner. His range and length also make him effective in off coverage. Witherspoon is an outside press corner with impressive measurables, explosive athleticism and high football IQ. Witherspoon is a starting cornerback in the NFL who will likely get pushed down in the draft a bit due to the depth of the cornerback class this year.

Full Pro Football Focus profile can be found here

— Breaking Football notes that, “although Witherspoon doesn’t possess the wow factor with his stats like other top prospects, he is a legit NFL talent”.

Overview: Witherspoon has all the tools to be a very successful man corner in the NFL. He has a rare combination of footwork, length, and athleticism that could make him an elite corner at the next level. For a player that is raw in many aspects of the game, his man coverage ability is really refined. Once he plays more aggressive and can learn to at least be adequate in run defense, he will be a premier corner in the NFL. I would have no problem with a team on draft day spending a second rounder (maybe even a first rounder) on Witherspoon, his traits are that impressive.

Full Breaking Football profile can be found here

 

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April 13th

Chidobe Awuzie invited to attend NFL Draft

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado defensive back Chidobe Awuzie has been invited to attend the NFL Draft, head coach Mike MacIntyre confirmed Thursday.

“Chido has earned and deserves the right to be able to go to the draft and be a first-round pick, because I definitely think he is a first-round pick,” MacIntyre said. “He can play so many spots for a team, he can play corner, safety or nickel and all your special teams. He graduated in three and a half years. To me he is a no-brainer first-round pick.

“This is great for our program, it puts exposure out there for us and I think it’s been awhile since we’ve had a first round pick and we are excited about hopefully that the dream coming true for Chido.”

CU all-time has had 24 first-round picks, which is tied for the fourth most among all Pac-12 schools and 24th most in the nation. The last time the Buffs had a player go in the first round was in 2011, when Nate Solder (No. 17 to New England) and Jimmy Smith (No. 27 to Baltimore) were drafted.

Continue reading story here

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April 12th

Awuzie up to No. 15 overall pick in CBS Sports mock draft 

From Pete Prisco at CBS Sports … Can you believe the NFL Draft is just two weeks away?

Why does it feel like it’s taking forever to get here?

This is my fifth mock draft of 2017, with a handful more to come. I will do one last mock during draft week, and might change it the day of the draft with late information, and then that’s it.

15. Indianapolis Colts

Chidobe Awuzie, CB-S, Colorado: He has versatility to play corner or safety. The Colts could use help at both.

 

More love for Chidobe Awuzie

Related … NFL Media’s Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense — just football experiences directly from the source.

Interview can be found here

Excerpts … Colorado has a history. In the 1990s, they won national championships and they were winning back-to-back bowl games and stuff like that. That’s one of the main reasons players like me went to Colorado, was to kind of restore that [tradition]. Hopefully now in years to come, they start winning and become a powerhouse.

I don’t think [going to Colorado] hurts my draft stock. The team doesn’t define the player. I feel like the player defines the team. Since I’ve been there, I’ve changed the culture with my class. I feel like that speaks a lot.

 

From the NFL Network … Chidobe Awuzie

Draft ceiling: late second round. Draft floor: fourth round.

This Colorado corner has been climbing up the ladder on many draft boards, but I think he’s still going to be a Day 2 or 3 selection, because this cornerback class is so deep. He has the size (6-foot, 202 pounds) and is a great talent, but he’s still raw. Awuzie can make an immediate impact if he’s asked to play man-to-man coverage because he has the ability to follow the opponent’s best receiver in that scheme. He’s going to have to improve on off-coverage, but I’d rather have a guy who can play man in this league and help him develop in zone coverage. Teams will pass him by because he’s coming out of Colorado, which enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2016 but hasn’t exactly been a football power of late. If Awuzie played at Florida or Alabama, he’d easily go in the first our second round. His skill set reminds me of yours truly. I was unknown and raw coming out of Louisiana-Lafayette, and Dick LeBeau helped me develop into a shutdown corner in Pittsburgh with time.

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April 11th

Chidobe Awuzie interview on NFL Network

On the NFL Network website, there is a four-minute interview with Chidobe Awuzie, in which the former Buff defensive back shows his smarts in dealing with coverages as a cornerback and as a safety.

The piece is entitled, “Awuzie Demonstrates Technique, Tricks he uses to Trick Defenses“. You can find the video under the “Latest News and Analysis” Heading, which you will have to scroll down to get to …

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April 9th

Chidoe Awuzie continues to move up draft boards

The NFL draft is still a few weeks away (April 27th – 29th), and it is looking more and more like CU cornerback Chidobe Awuzie may become the first Buff taken in the first round since two Buffs – Nate Solder, offensive tackle, 17th pick, New England, and Jimmy Smith, cornerback, 27th pick, Baltimore – were taken in the first round of the 2011 draft.

More on Awuzie … 

… Analysis from NFL.com … BOTTOM LINE … Sticky man-cover corner who possesses the reactive athleticism and foot quickness to maintain coverage responsibilities around the field. Awuzie’s combination of size and speed pairs well with his instincts providing him what he needs to compete downfield. His inconsistencies as a tackler could turn off some teams, but his abilities as a gunner on special teams may counter that. He can play outside or in the slot and has traits and talent to compete for early playing time.

… Analysis from BillsWire.com … Potential Fit with Buffalo Bills … Chidobe Awuzie would step in as the starter opposite Ronald Darby, or at the very worst in a competition with second-year corner Kevon Seymour. His ability to play the ball cannot be understated – with the transition to new coach Sean McDermott’s zone-based scheme, players like Awuzie who possess the ability to see not only where the ball is, but where the quarterback wants to go will be invaluable.

Coupling his natural talent at the position with a willingness to and expertise in solid, secure tackles and Buffalo would be quite happy to have him on the squad in the fall.

That is also without accounting for his stellar character both on and off the field – a refreshing 180-degrees from the penchant for putting football character ahead of real character in prior drafts.

… From Dallas Cowboys fansite BloggingtheBoys … Conclusion: Following the injury to Sidney Jones there seems to be no consensus as far as who is the best cornerback in the class behind Marshon Lattimore, ask five different people and you’re bound to get five different answers. There are a few highly-touted cornerbacks (Gareon Conley, Kevin King, etc.) that I have left to study but at this point I feel comfortable saying that Awuzie is at least a very strong contender for that spot due to his size, versatility, polish, and instincts.

It is rare that you find a cornerback with the prototype physical traits (minus the long arms) to play the outside press role that the league has fallen in love with recently, while also being able to cover and blitz out of the slot. His lack of aggressiveness in run support gives me some pause, but it’s a common complaint for most college cornerbacks. He might not be the flashiest name at 28 but he could end up being one of the more practical selections the team could make depending on what the board looks like.

Mock Drafts …

NFL.com … No. 32 (last pick of the first round) to New Orleans Saints

CBS Sports … No. 32 player overall (on the big board)

DraftTek.com … Second round … No. 45 overall pick (to Arizona Cardinals) … Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie has been jumping up draft boards since measuring in at 6’0″ and 202 lbs while posting a 4.43 40 time at the Combine. He could also be the most versatile defensive back in this year’s class, with experience outside, in the slot, at safety, and as a hybrid linebacker. Awuzie was a playmaker in Boulder, racking up 9 sacks, 25 TFL, 3 INTs, and 25 PDs over his four-year career

Fox Sports … Second round … No. 58 overall pick (to Seattle Seahawks) … He’s not the biggest guy, but he plays big — a sure tackler that can get physical with receivers, just like the Seahawks like ‘em.

WalterCamp Football … Third round … No. 92 overall pick (to Dallas Cowboys)

 

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April 8th

Sefo Liufau and Josh Tupou “Diamonds in the Rough”

From CBS Sports … Anyone can get lucky and draft a Pro Bowler in the first round. It takes an ability to find “diamonds in the rough” in the middle and late rounds to stick as a scout in the NFL, however.

Below is a list of players who for whatever reason haven’t yet received the attention their physical abilities warrant. Some starred at a lower level of competition, like record-breaking Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Others played at relative FBS powerhouses but injuries, suspension or talent ahead of them on the depth chart kept them relatively overshadowed.

… One player is featured per position with five others listed alphabetically who deserve honorable mention. In keeping with the true sleeper theme, at least one player per position was not invited to the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine. These players are noted with an asterisk.

… Five quarterbacks to consider: 

  1. Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech, 6-3, 232, 4.80
  2. Brady Gustafson, Montana, 6-6, 230, 5.04*
  3. Ryan Higgins, Louisiana Tech, 6-0, 209, 4.78*
  4. Sefo Liufau, Colorado, 6-3, 232, 5.08
  5. Alex Torgersen, Penn, 6-2, 218, 4.91*

… Five defensive linemen to consider: 

  1. Hunter Dimick, Utah, 6-3, 268, 4.75*
  2. D.J. Jones, Mississippi, 6-1, 319, 5.04
  3. Tanzel Smart, Tulane, 6-1, 296, 5.24
  4. Grover Stewart, Albany State, 6-4, 347, 5.14*
  5. Josh Tupou, Colorado, 6-3, 353, 5.35*

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April 6th

Sefo Liufau interview with Campus Insiders

Video from Campus Insiders: “Thoughts on Colorado next season” … Former Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau gives Jordan Cornette his thoughts on whether or not the Buffaloes will have another successful season this year and who he thinks will step up on the team.

Video from Campus Insiders: “One on one with former CU quarterback Sefo Liufau” … Former Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau joins Campus Insiders’ Jordan Cornette to discuss how it feels to get ready for the NFL Draft, how his experiences at Colorado have prepared him for the next level and what he will bring to an NFL team as a quarterback.

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April 5th

Career highlight film – CU defensive back Chidoe Awuzie

A potential first round NFL pick, Awuzie shows his talents in this eight-minute highlight film

Enjoy!

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April 3rd

Career highlight film – CU quarterback Sefo Liufau

From the Emmy-winning staff at CU Video … an 11-minute highlight film of Buff quarterback Sefo Liufau (definitely worth your time!).

Coming Wednesday morning … cornerback Chidoe Awuzie’s career highlight film …


Pac-12 NFL Draft picks

All-time NFL draft picks from Pac-12 teams, from Winsipedia:

No. 1 – USC … 497

No. 15 – UCLA … 311

No. 17 – Washington … 287

No. 20 – Pittsburgh … 273

No. 21 – Wisconsin … 270 

No. 22 – Colorado … 266

No. 23 – Auburn … 265

No. 24 – Minnesota … 264

No. 25 – Arkansas … 263

No. 27 – Stanford … 254

No. 30 – Arizona … 241

No. 33 – California … 232

No. 36 – Oregon … 214

No. 45 – Washington State … 188

No. 48 – Arizona … 180

No. 55 – Oregon State … 160

No. 62 – Utah … 147

andNo. 78 – Colorado State … 102

 

Pac-12 NFL first round draft picks

All-time NFL first round draft picks from Pac-12 teams (to see results from the start of the common era draft – 1967 – and most recent first round picks, scroll down) , from Winsipedia:

No. 1 – USC … 79

No. 17 – UCLA … 33

No. 22 – California … 27

No. 24t – Colorado … 24

No. 24t – Arizona State … 24

No. 27t – Stanford … 23

No. 27t – Washington … 23

No. 39 – Oregon … 18

No. 46t – Washington State … 13

No. 54t – Arizona … 10

No. 61t – Utah … 7

No. 65t – Oregon State … 6

… and … No. 68t – Colorado State … 5

 

2016 Recap – CU shut out of the draft in consecutive years for the first time in 65 years

– Since 1990, there have been only five drafts which have been conducted without at least one Buff having their name called. Those five drafts were 2001, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2016. (An oddity – In April, 1989, the spring before CU went 11-0 in the regular season and climbed to No. 1 in the polls for the first time in school history – no Buffs were drafted).

– Only once before the 2015 and 2016 drafts has the Colorado program gone two seasons in a row without a player being drafted, and that was back in 1949 and 1950.

— Other Power-Five conference schools shut out of the 2016 NFL Draft … Tennessee; Kansas; North Carolina; Wake Forest; Iowa State and Duke.

— Buffs who signed free agent deals in 2016 were running back Christian Powell with the Pittsburgh Steelers, offensive lineman Stephane Nembot with the Baltimore Ravens, defensive back Ken Crawley with the New Orleans Saints, wide receiver Nelson Spruce with the Los Angeles Rams and safety Jered Bell with the San Francisco 49ers.

 

Pac-12 picks – 2016 NFL Draft

UCLA … 8

Stanford … 5

California … 4

USC … 4

Oregon … 2

Arizona … 2

Arizona State … 2

Washington … 2

Washington State … 1

Utah … 1

Oregon State … 1

 

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Recap – 2016 NFL Draft … Pac-12 has four players chose in first round

The Pac-12 had four players chose in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft, including the first overall pick in Cal quarterback Jared Goff.

Other first round picks from the Pac-12: DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon, No. 7 overall (San Francisco) … Kenny Clark, DL, UCLA, No. 27 overall (Pittsburgh) … Joshua Garnett, OL, Stanford, No. 28 overall (San Francisco).

Overall, however, the conference lagged behind other Power-Five conferences in first round selections. The SEC had eight first round selections, with eight, followed by the Big Ten, with six (five of those from Ohio State alone). The Pac-12’s four picks was matched by the ACC, with the Big 12 coming in with three first round selections.

 

Historically … Colorado has the 5th-most first round picks in the Pac-12

Since the NFL and AFL began the common draft in 1967, Colorado has had 22 first round draft picks*. This is good enough for 5th in the annals of the Pac-12. Oregon State, with the fewest, celebrated just its third first round pick in 2014 with Brandin Cooks.

Washington State broke the longest drought without a first round pick, dating back to 2003, when Deone Bucannon went to Arizona with the 27th pick in 2015. The longest drought without a first round pick now belongs to Arizona, which last had a first round pick in 2008.

The Pac-12 conference and the first round of the NFL draft (in the “common draft era” 1967-present):

USC – 70 … Most recent: 2015 – Leonard Williams, DE, 6th pick, New York Jets; Nelson Agholor, WR, 20th pick, Philadelphia

UCLA – 25 … Most recent: 2016 – Kenny Clark, DT, 27th pick, Green Bay

California – 24 … Most recent: 2016 – Jared Goff, QB, 1st pick, Los Angeles Rams

Arizona State – 23 … Most recent: 2015 – Damarious Randall, 30th pick, S, Green Bay

Colorado – 22 … Most recent: 2011 – Nate Solder, OT, 17th pick, New England; and Jimmy Smith, CB, 27th pick, Baltimore

Washington – 20 … Most recent: 2015 – Danny Shelton, DT, 12th pick, Cleveland; Marcus Peters, CB, 18th pick, Kansas City; Shaq Thompson, LB, 25th pick, Carolina

Stanford – 18 … Most recent: 2016 – Joshua Garnett, OG, 28th pick, San Francisco

Oregon – 16 … Most recent: 2016 – DeForest Buckner, DE, 7th pick, San Francisco

Washington State – 9 … Most recent: 2014 – Deone Bucannon, S, 27th pick, Arizona

Arizona – 9 … Most recent: 2008 – Antoine Cason, CB, 27th pick, San Diego

Utah – 6 …  Most recent: 2013 – Star Lotulelei, DT, 14th pick, Carolina

Oregon State – 3 … Most recent: 2014 – Brandin Cooks, WR, 20th pick, New Orleans

(And, in case you are wondering … Colorado State – 4 … Most recent: 1987 – Kelly Stouffer, QB, 6th pick, St. Louis)

* Colorado actually has had 24 first round NFL first round picks overall, counting Byron White, the 4th overall pick in 1938 (Pittsburgh) and Jerry Hillebrand, TE, the 13th overall pick of the 1962 draft (New York Giants).

 

Some notes about the University of Colorado and the NFL draft …

– Colorado has had 24 first round draft picks in NFL history. The highest-ever pick was Bo Matthews, taken as the No. 2 overall pick by San Diego in 1974. Colorado is one of only three schools in the Pac-12 (the Arizona schools being the others) to not have at least one No. 1 overall draft pick (USC has had five – the most by any school – while Stanford has had four, and Cal has had two. No other Pac-12 school has had more than one No. 1 overall pick).

– The most recent first round draft picks for CU came in 2011, when Nate Solder was taken in the first round by New England (17th pick overall), followed shortly thereafter by Jimmy Smith, going to Baltimore with the No. 27 overall pick.

– The first Buff to be chosen in an NFL draft was halfback Byron White, taken in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers (the No. 4 pick overall) in the 1938 NFL draft.

– Paul Richardson, in 2014, became only the eighth player in CU history to declare early for the NFL draft. All eight have been drafted – defensive tackle Leonard Renfro (1st round, Philadelphia, 1993); running back Lamont Warren (sixth round, Indianapolis, 1994); running back Rashaan Salaam (first round, Chicago, 1995); defensive end Shannon Clavelle, sixth round, Buffalo, 1995); cornerback Ben Kelly (third round, Miami, 2000); running back Chris Brown (third round, Tennessee, 2003); David Bakhtiari (4th round, Green Bay, 2013); and Paul Richardson (2nd round, Seattle, 2014).

– Since 1990, there have been only five drafts which have been conducted without at least one Buff having their name called. Those five drafts were 2001, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2016.

– Only twice in school history has the Colorado program gone two seasons in a row without a player being drafted … back in 1949 and 1950 … and then again in the 2015 and 2016 drafts.

– The most Buffs ever drafted in the same spring came in 1976, when 11 Buffs were drafted. The 1975 Buffs went 9-3, and produced three first round draft picks – center Pete Brock (New England, 12th overall pick), defensive tackle Troy Archer (New York Giants, 13th overall pick), and offensive tackle Mark Koncar (Green Bay, 23rd overall pick). That draft also had Buff great Dave Logan going to the Cleveland Browns in the third round (65th pick overall).

– Twice in school history, ten Buffs were drafted in the same season. In 1974, ten Buffs were selected, led by fullback Bo Matthews and tight end J.V. Cain in the first round. In the 1995 draft, ten Buffs were chosen as well, with Michael Westbrook going to the Washington Redskins with the No. 4 overall pick. Westbrook was joined in the first round by Heisman trophy winner Rashaan Salaam, who went to the Chicago Bears at No. 21. Three other Buffs were chosen in the second round of that 1995 draft – tight end Christian Fauria (Seattle); linebacker Ted Johnson (New England); and quarterback Kordell Stewart (Pittsburgh).

– In the 1974 draft, it took 16 rounds to get to ten Buffs. In 1995, ten Buffs were gone by the end of the sixth round.

– The NFL team which has chosen the most Buffs? … The Green Bay Packers, with 18 Buffs, the most recent being Bakhtiari in 2013 and linebacker Brad Jones in the 7th round of the 2009 draft.

– The NFL team which has chosen the fewest Buffs? There is a tie. The Jacksonville Jaguars have only selected one Buff through the draft, being cornerback Chris Hudson in the third round of the 1995 draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also have only chosen one Buff, offensive tackle Steve Young, taken in the third round of the 1976 draft (perhaps the Bucs were thinking that they were drafting quarterback Steve Young, who also played for the Bucs, and that is why they have never again chosen a player from CU).

– Jacksonville has only been around since 1995, with Tampa Bay coming into the league in 1976. I found it surprising that the Minnesota Vikings, who have been around since 1960, have only chosen two Buffs in their history – offensive tackle Jerry McClung in the 17th round of the 1964 draft, and fullback Jim Kelleher, in the 12th round of the 1977 draft.

and, finally, a little trivia for Bronco fans … There have been 14 Buffs selected in the draft by the Denver Broncos, but none since 1980. Can you name the last Buff drafted by Denver? It was nose tackle Laval Short, taken in the 5th round of the 1980 draft (136th pick overall).

 

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11 Responses to “CU at the NFL Draft”

  1. Gotta love the Buffs’ representing well in the draft.

    I wonder if there’s any connection between the great defense CU’s building, and the fact they had four guys drafted, and another three who’ve got a solid shot at making it onto NFL rosters this fall?

    I won’t be surprised to see Sefo make a team either. If they can give him time to work out/work on his mechanics, dude could have a solid NFL career too.

    Go Buffs.

  2. 83Buff

    No one took Dave Logan in that CUBuffs.com draft. Silly

  3. ep

    had to laugh at Webb again. This reminds me of another article where Webb was crowing because some scout told him he was a first round draft choice. Webb will be extremely lucky to make it in the second round

  4. VK

    I refuse to vote in your poll.

    You did not include whitherspoon

    Buffs

  5. Kevin

    Thanks for those career highlight videos! Awesome. Amazing journey through some tough times, followed by the magical 2016, and a bright future. Still get chills watching the final TD pass by Sefo in the Michigan Big House. Too bad we couldn’t close out that deal!

  6. WarBuff

    The career highlights are very much appreciated. It was a long journey for us as fans, but a far longer one for them as players. Glad they had a year that will be long remembered, and that they were able to firmly establish a legacy of their own.

    I will miss these guys….

  7. VK

    Looking forward to this draft and your write ups.

    What ya figure about 10 Buffs?

    Buffs

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