Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Chidobe Awuzie has been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the NFL Draft. At pick 60 he was the first Buff taken in this year’s draft. He is also the highest taken DB for CU since Jimmy Smith in 2011 (27).
Awuzie was an essential part of the Buffaloes’ shutdown secondary in 2016 and the leader of one of the Pac-12’s top defenses, he compiled 65 total tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception and 12 passes defended as a senior.
His explosive abilities and impressive physicality made him a standout amongst his peers—he was named to the second team All Pac-12 in 2015 and 2016.
Awuzie was a four year starter for the Buffaloes. His 26 tackles for loss were the most by a defensive back at Colorado, as were his nine quarterback sacks. He finished his college career ranked second in third down stops (47) and fifth in pass deflections (35).
From BSN Denver’s Sam Weaver’s scouting report:
The Good: Awuzie’s monstrous playmaking abilities will allow him to have an immediate impact on his future NFL team. He has exceptional vision, reading opposing offenses and adjusting to routes. He locks on to wide receivers downfield, makes plays on the football and stays physical throughout matchups. Awuzie’s versatility and ability to be everywhere on the field all at once are invaluable. He has shown explosive blitzing potential, with four sacks in his junior season and four more as a senior. He contributed to special teams and dominated as both a cornerback and safety. In the NFL, he could cover the slot or slide into a nickel defense almost immediately. Even in a star-studded secondary like Colorado’s, Awuzie was the clear standout.
The Bad: Despite his excellent cover skills, Awuzie only nabbed one interception as a senior (though that may partially be due to opposing quarterbacks’ reluctance to throw in his direction). With such a disruptive play style, he has to learn to convert defended passes and near-turnovers into real, honest-to-goodness interceptions. Improvement of the use of his hands, both holding on to potential turnovers and preventing penalties, will be essential to his future success. Awuzie’s size could deter NFL teams on the hunt for bigger corners (he stands at six-foot-flat, 195 lbs).