Continuing our 2011 Texans draft series, we now take a look at Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara.
The Texans primary needs entering the 2011 draft are: a) nearly every position on defense, b) wide receiver, because Jacoby Jones could be lost to free agency plus Kevin Walter doesn’t scare anyone, and c) swing tackle because Rashad Butler has an expiring contract and some team will likely make him a starter since he performed well during Duane Brown’s four game suspension
Much to the disappointment of many scouts and coaches, Amukamara did not participate in Senior Bowl activities but according to Rob Rang of cbssports.com, he will participate fully in the scouting combine later this month.
Rang says that Amukamara has a lot riding on the combine since questions about his deep cover speed have been running rampant since Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon got the best of him during their matchup last fall (video #2 below).
“Despite his reputation, Amukamara has a lot riding on his workout. Questions about his true speed have been rampant ever since Oklahoma State redshirt sophomore Justin Blackmon beat him for five catches, 157 yards and two touchdowns in a showdown between the two stars on October 23.” – Rob Rang
What I gather from the various reports on Amukamara is that he could be poised for a fall on draft boards if he doesn’t perform well at Indy.
Update (March 1): Amukamara ran 4.43 at the combine today preserving his spot in the top eleven. I think talk of a fall and convert to safety should end.
Pros ( from NFLDraftScout.com)
- Has the size and aggressive nature to excel in run support
- Strong instincts with very quick reactions. Reads the quarterback’s eyes and anticipates routes, closing quickly to jump underneath routes. Gets into the flat in a hurry to attack screen plays and outside runs.
- Inconsistent biting on double moves and pump fakes, will get overly aggressive during the course of a game and give up the deep ball.
- Inconsistent recovery speed if frozen by double move, can get back into the play (and make a play on the ball) but quicker receivers seem to maintain separation.
Amukamara is currently rated as the #2 corner in most draft rankings behind LSU’s Patrick Peterson who will be long gone when the Texans pick at 11.
After Peterson and Amukamara, you have Jimmy Smith of Colorado and Brandon Harris of Miami as the only other first round worthy corners according to the guys at cbssports.com and at thesidelineview.com (Lance Zierlein and John Harris).
Mike Mayock of NFL Network recently listed Peterson, Amukamara, Harris and Aaron Williams of Texas as his top four corners.
ESPN (Scouts Inc.) doesn’t show Smith or Harris in their Top 32 but the combine could change things significantly, after Peterson, and after scouts and coaches see these guys run and roll through their agility drills.
In his latest mock draft, Rang has the Texans selecting Amukamara at #11 overall but I’m not buying it.
The success or failure of the Texans defense next season will depend primarily on the performance of their front seven and I don’t think the Texans will use their first round pick on a corner for the second year in a row – especially when there’s no clear cut selection once you get past Peterson.
So let’s take a chance on a hybrid DE/OLB and hope he can make the conversion to 3-4 outside linebacker, right? I know, it drives me crazy too. Visions of Jason Babin are still dancing in my head.
I just reviewed Aldon Smith as a possible candidate for outside linebacker and tonight I heard Mayock talking about Smith being a better fit at a 4-3 defensive end.
Last year we were talking about guys like Kyle Wilson and Devin McCourty and the Texans outsmarted us all by drafting Kareem Jackson who was simply horrible. Wilson didn’t have a great year but McCourty was outstanding.
I want to believe that Frank Bush and David Gibbs had something to do with KJ’s failure but I sense the Texans troubles run deeper than ‘coach ’em up.’ Richard Smith and Jon Hoke would probably second that motion.
So forgive me for being a little bit nervous when I start writing about the Texans possibly taking a corner at #11 overall who ‘has questions,’ or taking a ‘freakishly athletic’ defensive end who they intend to convert to outside linebacker.
The Texans haven’t had a good draft since 2006 and it’s almost become an exercise in futility to try to analyze this team’s draft strategy and direction.
Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska (projection and position rank from nfldraftscout.com)
- 6-0, 205 lbs.
- DOB: June 6, 1989
- Projected draft round (1)
- Position rank: Rated #2 of 218 cornerbacks
- 2010 First Team All-America (Associated Press, Walter Camp, AFCA Coaches)
- Amukamara and the importance of his faith in his daily life.
- Amukamara against Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon (2010).
- Amukamura against Texas A&M (2010), demonstrating run support
- Amukamura against Texas in the 2009 Big 12 Championship Game
Note to readers: Click on the “2011 Texans Draft Series” button below to view all the entries in this series.