Albert Okwuegbunam 2020 NFL Draft Profile

Albert Okwuegbunam

Overview
Position: Tight End
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 258 pounds
School: Missouri Tigers

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds (best among tight ends)

Albert Okwuegbunam 2020 NFL Draft Profile

A top-20 tight end nationally in the 2016 recruiting class according to Rivals, Albert Okwuegbunam (pronounced o-koo-WAY-boo-nam) received a total of 19 scholarship offers. He committed to Missouri fairly early, though, doing so in September of his senior year at Sacred Heart Griffin High School in Springfield, IL. But he only weighed 215 pounds prior to setting foot on campus. That necessitated a redshirt season so he could put on some added bulk to prepare him for the immense physicality of SEC football.

Okwuegbunam proceeded to take the league by storm in 2017. Though he only caught 29 passes, he made the most of that limited usage with 11 of them resulting in touchdowns. That total was tied with current Tennessee Titans star A.J. Brown for most in the SEC. He received second-team all-conference recognition and also was named to the All-Freshman team as a result.

The next two seasons saw Okwuegbunam deal with a shoulder injury as he missed a combined five games in that time. It resulted in his touchdown total taking a dip during each campaign as he managed just six both as a redshirt sophomore and junior. But his career with the Tigers finished on a good note in terms of him receiving recognition for his efforts on the field. He garnered second-team all-SEC honors at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Strengths

  • ideal size for an NFL tight end;
  • wins with consistency on downfield seam routes;
  • always a threat to come down with the ball in the end zone;
  • capable of gaining yardage after initial contact;
  • lined up all over the line of scrimmage in college;
  • willing to mix things up as a blocker;
  • able to pull inside and execute wham blocks.

Weaknesses

  • quick in a straight line but not particularly laterally athletic;
  • gathers feet too much during route transitions;
  • overall route-running needs significant refinement;
  • struggles to separate from coverage;
  • doesn’t exhibit enough play strength as a blocker despite willingness to get hands dirty;
  • durability concerns as he dealt with a nagging shoulder injury both as a sophomore and junior.

NFL Comparison: Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Teams With Need at Position: Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins

Projection: third to fourth round

Bottom Line

Okwuegbunam excelled in the nation’s toughest conference and played a part in Mizzou achieving bowl eligibility in all three of his seasons in Columbia. The Tigers went 6-6 in 2019 but missed out on a bowl due to NCAA violations, even though they did play in a bowl the previous two seasons. In terms of what makes Okwuegbunam attractive to pro talent evaluators, much of it centers around his playmaking ability. Time and time again, he proved himself capable hauling in important catches as evidenced by his 23 touchdowns in college.

But he does need quite a bit of work if he wants to make an impact in the pros. His route-running is fairly basic which means skilled corners and even linebackers adept at dropping into coverage will take him out of plays. And though he has no problem with blocking duties, he tends to get manhandled by those overly physical defenders. Also, there are legitimate concerns over him being injury-prone as he had an issue with his shoulder during the final two years of his college career. It’s going to take time. But if Okwuegbunam can reach his ceiling, he’s capable of eventually garnering starter reps at the next level.

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