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1st Round Pick -- Prince Amukamara

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1st Round Pick -- Prince Amukamara

Post  Pizan on Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:42 pm

Many thought Prince should have been long gone but I had him falling in my 1st round mock like he actually did. Problem was I had us passing on him at 19. I rated him as a mid 1st to early 2nd round pick. One of the reason was this article here from K.C. Joyner.

KC Joyner
ESPN Insider

Prince Amukamara did not fare well against elite competition last season.

One of the humorously compelling subplots of the classic football movie "North Dallas Forty" is the quarterback competition between Seth Maxwell (Mac Davis) and Art Hartman (Marshall Colt).

Hartman is big, strong, fast, young and lives a squeaky clean lifestyle, while Maxwell has a long history of being a party animal.

It doesn't turn out well for Hartman in the end because, in spite of the benefit the aforementioned traits give him, the simple fact of the matter is that Maxwell is better suited to adapt and excel versus competition at the highest level. Physical characteristics and good living are all fine and well, but the bottom-line determinant in the NFL is who performs better on the field.

This lesson is one that NFL teams ought to be considering when deciding whether or not to draft Nebraska Cornhuskers cornerback Prince Amukamara in the first round.

Amukamara earned more than a few on-field and off-field honors in his career, but a game-tape/metrics analysis shows that he did not perform at an NFL-caliber level last year. In fact, his performance level placed him well behind some other cornerbacks that are considered borderline first-round choices.

Let's start with Amukamara's 2010 metrics. In the 10 games in which the Cornhuskers faced FBS AQ competition (Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Iowa State, Texas A&M, Colorado, Oklahoma and two games against Washington), he posted these metric totals:

Route Depth Att Comp Yds TD Int Pen Pen Yds YPA
Short (up to 10 yards downfield) 22 11 84 1 0 0 0 3.8
Medium (11-19 yards) 6 3 52 0 0 1 14 9.4
Deep (20-29 yards) 5 0 0 0 0 2 25 3.6
Bomb (30+ yards) 4 3 161 2 0 2 30 31.8
Total (all route depths) 37 17 297 3 0 5 69 8.7
Vertical (11+ yards) 15 6 213 2 0 5 69 14.1
Stretch vertical (20+ yards) 9 3 161 2 0 4 55 16.6

For perspective, consider that an 8.7 total YPA ranked Cleveland Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown tied for 70th out of 98 qualifying cornerbacks in that metric last year. It is far from an elite mark and Amukamara posted the same mark against collegiate-level competition.

But it wasn't just in total YPA where Amukamara came up short. Giving up 11 completions/defensive penalties in 20 vertical pass attempts equates to a 45 percent success rate, a number that would have ranked 82nd in that category at the pro level last season. The 14.1 vertical YPA and 16.6 stretch vertical YPA would also have placed him in the bottom quarter of the league in those metrics.

There are those who would argue that Amukamara's numbers were skewed by his performance against Oklahoma State star wideout Justin Blackmon. While that single contest did spike Amukamara's totals (Blackmon went 3-for-6 for 144 total reception/penalty yards and a touchdown), even if you subtract that game, he still gave up a nearly 50 percent completion rate on all of the other passes.

And consider that there are receivers of Blackmon's caliber all over the NFL. Slowing down elite pass catchers is exactly why teams draft cornerbacks in the first round, and an inability to do that should raise huge red flags on a first-round corner's draft status.

One more reason to consider passing on Amukamara is the metric totals posted by Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith and Miami Hurricanes cornerback Brandon Harris.

In an eight-game sample (Colorado State, California, Hawaii, Georgia, Missouri, Baylor, Oklahoma, Nebraska) Smith was targeted 21 times and gave up only eight completions for 73 yards, or a 3.5 YPA. He also had a 3.6 vertical YPA on 11 passes and a 2.3 stretch vertical YPA on seven passes. (The Georgia game included two targets in which Smith was covering consensus No. 1 wide receiver A.J. Green, both of which fell incomplete.)

Harris fared just as well in an 11-game sample (Ohio State, Pitt, Clemson, Florida State , North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, South Florida).

He gave up only nine completions/defensive penalties in 36 pass attempts (75 percent success rate) and allowed only 133 yards on those plays (3.7 YPA). Harris was just as dominant on vertical passes (3.8 YPA on 21 passes) and stretch vertical throws (4.1 YPA on 12 attempts).

Smith might be considered for higher ranking on most draft boards except that he has highly publicized character issues. In Harris' case, his off-field track record would make any PR department proud, but he isn't quite as big (5-foot-9, 191 pounds) as Amukamara (6-0, 213).

The common wisdom says those reasons are enough to place Amukamara above Smith and Harris, but the Art Hartman experience shows that being bigger/stronger/faster and having good conduct medals alone won't get it done. The bottom line is that Smith and Harris both played better than Amukamara against top-level competition in college. That is a strong indicator they will perform better at the pro level and is why they should both be picked ahead of Amukamara on draft day.

I don't think Prince will be a bust but when I weigh who was available at that position (Smith, Harris) and the possible trade back scenarios that opened up because he fell I can't justify the pick. He's a good character guy and will say all the right things but he was a bit overrated IMO. An opportunity presented itself and we didn't capitalize. I'm not completely upset with the pick but I felt we could have done better.

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Re: 1st Round Pick -- Prince Amukamara

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:07 pm

Enjoyed the reading although I hope all them numbers turn out to be nothing at the next level for him.

I think Prince will be alright though.
I like his size and run support. The Giants ability of getting pressure on the QB might hide his early flaws until he gets coached up and accustomed to the nfl.

I'm excited to see all these Giants DB's working together this year.
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