2014 NFL Draft Spotlight: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Oregon
Derrik Klassen, Rosterwatch.com NFL Draft Analyst
Oregon’s high-tempo offense has been the spotlight of the college football community in recent years. Like Dion Jordan was able to do, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu may be able to steal the show at Oregon. Despite having Mariota, Lyerla, and Thomas on the offensive side of the ball, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu—a CB—is the best player on Oregon’s football team.
There isn’t a single cornerback in college football that continuously locks down opposing WRs in man coverage better than Ekpre-Olomu. He broke up 4 passes and tallied an interception against Washington State, in a performance where he only allowed three receptions:
The first—Marquess Wilson ran a route up the sideline, but Ekpre-Olomu fell and stretched out right before the ball got there. This may have been a lack of anticipation, but it seemed more like he just fell at the wrong time.
The second—Ekpre-Olomu dropped back into Quarters coverage, but bit too early on Wilson’s curl route. The other WR on the wheel route got behind Ekpre-Olomu and beat him over the top for a TD. Judging by the second reception, his zone coverage vision needs work, but the good news is he possesses the athleticism to cover a large chunk of the field.
The third—Ekpre-Olomu started to drop into a zone coverage, and Wilson ran a simple out route and caught it. Simple play. Since he was dropping back coverage, there wasn’t much Ekpre-Olomu could do. Getting on Wilson’s hip out of a soft-zone against a quick out is technically not even his responsibility anyway.
Against USC—Marqise Lee to be specific—Ekpre-Olomu had a tip-toe INT in the back of the end-zone and 3 other passes defended. Two of those defensed passes prevented USC touchdowns.
Ekpre-Olomu’s most obvious flaw is that he tends to be a bit scrappy. That’s not always the worst trait to have in a man-press corner. He got called for PI twice against Marqise Lee. He also tends to struggle a bit against blockers in the run game. Ekpre-Olomu lacks the ability to shed blockers and frequently allows the opposing ball carrier to advance further downfield unimpeded.
Despite his few flaws, I still rank Ekpre-Olomu as my No.1 CB in the 2014 class prior to the 2013 NCAA college football season with a slight—and I mean SLIGHT—edge over Bradley Roby. Either way, both are elite and flash loads of NFL potential.