The other week I tuned in and watched the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (Washington vs Nebraska). I focused in on one player, Nebraska’s cornerback Prince Amukamara. I watched and took notes of him every time he was on the field against a NFL caliber quarterback, Jake Locker. At the time, Amukamara was projected by a lot of mock drafts to be selected by the Detroit Lions. With the Lions winning their last 4 games, it might be a stretch for Amukamara to fall to Detroit’s pick.
Amukamara is a converted running back and last year was his first year as a full time cornerback. He stands 6’1 and weighs 205 pounds which is big for a corner. He is very physical and is the second best corner in this year’s draft (behind Patrick Peterson). He excels in a “bump and run” coverage because of his physicality and quick burst.
I turned the game on with 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. The first thing I noticed was how physical Amukamara was on Washington’s last drive of the half. He was jamming the WRs and maintaining contact for several yards. Amukamara didn’t allow the receivers to get open and it was clear how much more physical he was than the WRs.
In the 3rd quarter, Jake Locker took off on a run. Amukamara got off his block but couldn’t tackle Locker and Locker eventually scored. He tried to knock him over by hitting him with his shoulder. That attempted tackle was the only weakness I saw of Amukamara that night. Nothing of note happened in the 4th quarter besides the corners of Nebraska not allowing Locker to throw.
During the time I watched the game, the receiver that Amukamara was covering was only targeted once and it was incomplete. Amukamara and the secondary only let Locker (who averages around 20 completions a game) complete 5 out of 16 passes. Locker was under pressure many times but could not get rid of the ball due to great coverage by Amukamara and Nebraska. Amukamara is the definition of a shutdown corner. If the Lions have the chance to pick Amukamara, there is no reason why they shouldn’t.