From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
Samson Ebukam/OLB Eastern Washington – 6’1/7 240
– Excellent athlete who looks the same on tape the way he tested
– Great first step off the line and stresses tackles with his outside threat
– Shows ability to flatten and corner the edge, dip/rip is best move he showed
– Fanatical effort and chase to the football, no quit in his game
– As comfortable moving backward as he is forward, fluid and effortless spot dropping into coverage
– Versatile, lined up everywhere in the front seven with extensive experience playing with his hand up
– Plays with good pad level as a run defender and uses his length
– Lots of starting experience and good production, finished with a strong senior season
– Lacks innate strength and can get washed at the LOS in the run game
– Run fits need work, susceptible to over pursuing and losing cutback lane because he’s chasing so hard to the football
– Has to discover a counter move as a pass rusher and find ways to win when he isn’t able to beat tackle with his get-off
– Lack of strength hurts him as a pass rusher, does a poor job to generate power, first punch is weak and footwork isn’t clean on speed bull, planting off wrong foot and too often is rebuffed by the tackle
– Smaller school competition concerns
– Can wear down at the end of games and play takes noticeable drop-off
– 38 career starts
– Career: 188 tackles, 15 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 2 FF
– 2016: 71 tackles, 15 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 2 FF
– Ran a 4.5 40, jumped 39 inches in the vert, 10’10” in the broad, and 7.07 three cone at his Pro Day
– Voted by coaches as First-Team All-American as a senior
– Played tight end, fullback, and defensive end in high school, also a successful javelin thrower and part of relay team
Ebukam got on the radar with his excellent Pro Day workout and for Steelers’ fans, when he was brought in for a visit. I really didn’t know a thing about him so I was excited to take a look.
And the tape is pretty good. Not perfect but you can see the intrigue. He’s a fantastic athlete and really easy-mover with experience dropping into coverage. Put on his game against Washington State and you’ll see him line up all over the place: left end, right end, three tech on third downs, SAM linebacker, MIKE linebacker, and detached from the box to cover the slot. Go thumb through it at the bottom of this article.
Those explosion numbers translate to what you see on the field. Great first step and that with his dip/rip to beat the tackle to the outside. Like here, ripping past the Washington State left tackle and finishing the play for a sack.
I love his get-the-ball mentality, always looking to swipe down with his outside arm to try and pop the ball out. He’s also a really high effort player, something that’ll be attractive to Pittsburgh. He’s worn down by game’s end before because he played a high volume of snaps, the end of the loss to North Dakota State was pretty ugly, but that’s also because his motor runs so hard. End of game, he’s tired, win on the line, he chases the QB to the sideline and forces the throw away.
He also suplexed a dude. In an interview, he said he wanted to get to do that to a QB all year long and finally got his wish. I like a guy who seems a little crazy.
Comfortable and a natural in coverage make him appealing. Something a lot of Power 5 guys can’t do and this guy from the FCS level can.
But he is lacking upper body strength and his footwork as a pass rusher can hurt him on his speed/bull. LDE, not much power here. Not planting off his outside foot as he makes contact for his bull.
I can definitely see the allure in taking him. He has to find a counter, get stronger, and play with better technique as a pass rusher. Very similar to Travis Feeney, who was that hyper-athlete with tons of upside. Makes a lot of sense for Pittsburgh, again, like Feeney, in the 5th round.
Projection: Mid Day Three
Games Watched: at Washington St, at North Dakota St, vs Youngstown State