Albert Okwuegbunam Is The Ultimate Boom or Bust Prospect (2020 NFL Draft)
Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
Weight: 255 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds
Broad Jump: N/A
Before we get into Okwuegbunam’s profile, I want it to be known that I scouted him last offseason, thinking he’d leave Missouri to enter the NFL Draft. I loved him and would’ve ranked him as the No. 2 tight end in a talented class. But 2019 wasn’t the year many of us expected, as he looked (forgive me for saying this) uninterested. Many had written him off as a Day 3 pick, and rightfully so, but when he churned out a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, it forced many to take notice once again.
Some talked about the loss of Drew Lock as a reason for a decline in Okwuegbunam’s performance, but truth be told, he was never a big producer at Missouri. While he never played more than nine games in a season, he never tallied more than 466 yards in a season, nor did he eclipse 43 receptions, but the one thing he did do well was catch touchdowns. Of the 98 receptions he tallied over his 27 career games at Missouri, 23 of them were for touchdowns. Was that by design or is he just a big red zone threat?
Here’s my detailed scouting report on Albert Okwuegbunam (ratings out of five stars):
His size is very good for a tight end in today’s league, as he’s big enough to block, box-out, and can high-point the ball with his height. He was used all over the field by Missouri, as he lined up as a full-back at times, wide receiver during others, and in-line whenever they needed him. There isn’t an offense he wouldn’t fit into in the NFL, even if he’s far from a complete prospect at this time.
Route Running/Ability to Separate
He doesn’t sell his routes very well at all; needs to become much more animated if he wants to separate and get targeted in the NFL. When he lacks urgency, he’s not going to separate from anyone. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t have much suddenness off the line of scrimmage, either. If he’s able to grow in this area, he’d be a real force to be reckoned with, but he’s not going to be playing a possession-style role any time soon.
He apparently has plenty of it after running a 4.49-second 40-yard dash, which is 99th percentile for a player his size. It was the eighth-fastest all-time by a tight end at the Combine. On tape, however, he looked to be much slower in 2019 than I remembered him in 2018. The urgency just wasn’t there on a full-time basis. When he puts forth the effort, he can be a seam-stretcher and someone who defenses need to account for when putting together a game plan. But based on what he did at the Combine, we know he has plenty of speed, so this will not be a concern for teams considering him. Bottom line is that his game speed isn’t as good (or as consistent) as his track speed.
Hands/Contested Catch Ability
If there’s one thing that’s been constant with Okwuegbunam, it’s that he has some of the best tight end hands you’ll see. When in the red zone, you aren’t going to find a more intimidating option. He has a big frame, knows how to use it, and can box defenders out with ease. He’s going to contribute right away when his team gets near the goal line.
After the Catch
He’s not someone who’s going to average a lot of yards after the catch, as he doesn’t play a physical brand of football. He is a tough guy to bring down due to his size, especially if you see an undersized linebacker or cornerback trying to tackle him, but he’s nothing more than average for a tight end of his size in this category.
He appears to be a competent blocker when he wants to be, as they used in him both in-line and in the slot. But there are far too many times he simply appears to be not trying as hard as he should. As is the case with everything, effort is the biggest question mark. You can’t take plays off in the NFL. Even on run plays, he was lackadaisical getting to the next level and his running back would be tackled because of him. He’s not a complete player just yet, but he’s competent enough to get on the field early-on in his career if consistency can be coached out of him.
RATING: ⭐⭐ 1/2
Projected Draft Spot
If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that Okwuegbunam can go as far as he wants to in the NFL. He’s gifted in a lot of ways that NFL teams desire. However, if I’m able to see his inconsistencies on film, then so are the scouts for NFL teams. Because of the concerns, Okwuegbunam is likely to fall into the third-round area, though his stock did improve at the Combine. There are plenty of teams who should be interested in him as a No. 2 option on their depth chart as someone who can develop as a high-upside starter.
We can do multiple comparisons for Okwuegbunam, as there are different levels of what he can achieve based on development. His high-end comparison would be someone like Mark Andrews of the Ravens, as neither are separation artists, but both can consistently win with great hands in contested catch situations. His mid-level comparison if his development is limited would be someone like Kyle Rudolph, who never turned into what some thought he might be, though he was extremely productive in the red zone. And then lastly, if he fails to develop, he could be someone like Rob Housler, who fails to live up to expectations despite incredible athleticism. Okwuegbunam is the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect.
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