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Godwin Igwebuike NFL Draft scouting report

Igwebuike should be the first Wildcat off the board.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Godwin Igwebuike was a ballhawking safety and playmaker for Northwestern, and now he’s ready to make the NFL leap. After considering the draft after his junior season, Igwebuike opted to return to school. His tackling numbers were down in 2017 from 2016, but he still had a knack for making timely plays. The Pickerington, Oh. native posted strong numbers at the combine, and, being as personable as he is, likely made a good impression in interviews. Projections have Igwebuike anywhere from late-day two to mid-day three of the draft, so he should go in the fourth or fifth round. Here’s a look at Igwebuike as an NFL prospect:

Measureables:

Here’s a look at Igwebuike’s combine measurements, courtesy of Mockdraftable.com, and how they stack up against other draft-eligible safeties.

In terms of quickness and speed, Igwebuike ranks among the draft’s best. His three-cone and 60-yard shuttle times were elite, and his 4.44 40 yard dash erases any speed questions. Where Igwebuike doesn’t measure so well is his size, notably his height. He would be one of the smaller safeties in the NFL, which is probably part of the reason he isn’t as high on draft boards.

Interestingly, Igwebuike’s top comparison on Mockdraftable is stanford Safety Justin Reid, who’s projected to go in the first or second round of this year’s draft.

Strengths:

Igwebuike is at his best when he’s in the box and using his speed to shoot into the backfield. As a downhill, attacking safety, he’s a beast.

He’s also good in the open, as the play below shows. Igwebuike rarely misses tackles, and proved to be an asset around the line of scrimmage as a strong safety.

On the following clip Igwebuike again shoots into the backfield to cut down a runner. As a dime package linebacker-safety hybrid in the NFL, Igwebuike’s tackling could earn him snaps.

Though Igwebuike wasn’t always the deep safety, as opposed to Kyle Queiro, Igwebuike showed good ball skills. This play against Wisconsin last season displays the instincts and the ball skills he posssesses. His ability to recognize the route, drop into coverage and capitalize on an underthrown ball are what NFL scouts need to see more often.

Weaknesses:

  • As previously mentioned, size is a concern. Igwebuike will likely have to deal with big tight ends and bigger blockers in the NFL, so his shorter stature does not bode well in that area.
  • Igwebuike isn’t great in one-on-one pass coverage. Because he’s more of an in-the-box player, he could be limited to strong safety, which is a knock on his versatility. Though he could be a special teams ace from the get-go, he’ll need to give teams enough of a reason to put him on the field with his coverage in a passing league.

Career Stats:

sports-reference.com

Projections:

NFL.com has Igwebuike ranked as the eight-best safety, projected to go in the third or fourth round. WalterFootball.com pegs Igwebuike as the 18th-best safety and projects him to go in rounds 5-7. Day two remains a possibility, but day three seems more likely.

Outlook:

Igwebuike should have no problem making an NFL roster and seeing playing time. Though his game could use polish from an NFL coaching staff, many of the athletic traits are there. His instincts are good, but his ability to defend the pass will determine how successful he is as an NFL safety. His ability to bump down to linebacker is subpackages could also dictate how many snaps he sees at the pro level.