We’re breaking down the picks of the players the Pittsburgh Steelers select we didn’t write pre-draft scouting reports on. Guys like Western Michigan OT Chukwuma Okorafor, the teams third round selection Friday night.
#77 Chukwuma Okorafor/OT Western Michigan – 6’6 320
– NFL size, great length and hand size (34 1/2 inch arms, 10 1/4 hands)
– Has the “tools,” relatively inexperienced but isn’t close to reaching potential, looks good on plays where it all comes together
– Good burst out of his two point stance, able to reach his spot in pass protection
– Uses length well to create space in pass protection, good grip strength that makes it hard for defenders to disengage once he gets his hands on them
– Shows lateral agility to mirror and stay square versus inside counters
– Good starting experience, has played both tackle spots
– Mobility to climb to the second level in the run game
– Above average play strength in run and pass game
– Plays with a good base and balance, bends at the knees and stays off the ground
– Inconsistent player in the run and pass game
– Feet will go dead on his punch against edge rushers, causing him to give up the edge, unable to seal even with his length
– Needs to show more nasty as a linemen, desire to finish his blocks and play to his size/weight
– Struggles to get square to his blocks at the second level, whiffs too often because his hips aren’t set
– Recognition isn’t good enough, has trouble finding his target when moving to next level in the run game and will miss stunts and blitz concepts
– Athleticism doesn’t always translate, has trouble getting to spot on reach blocks
– Three year starter
– Played at right tackle in 2015 before switching to left tackle the next year, kept 2017 Panthers second round pick Taylor Moton on the right side
– Nickname is “Chukes”
– Born in Nigeria, didn’t move to the USA until 2010
– Played soccer in Africa, wasn’t introduced to football until high school, six years of experience
I’ll make this short because I’ll (obviously) defer to Mike Munchak, who talked about Okorafor extensively last night. Bottom line, he is a project but there are tools to believe he is capable of becoming a starter sometime down the road.
From a profile, he looks the part. The frame, the length, the athleticism to play left tackle. He shows above average grip strength in pass protection and uses his length to create space. Smaller defensive ends have trouble disengaging him once Okorafor gets his hands inside and he’s able to “steer” defenders out of the way. Left tackle, #77 in all these clips.
Same thing here.
He has the athleticism to be able to climb to the second level but he has to do a better job of staying square and finding his target. Looked too lost trying to process in space, finding the linebacker as opposed to just lining up against the end/tackle and base blocking him, and even when he did, he struggled to stay square, causing him to miss.
Despite the length and athleticism, his feet will deaden on contact, not working in sync with his punch. That can get him beat around the edge when he shouldn’t. Watch him here at left tackle versus Wisconsin.
You can see why they would draft a guy with those kind of tools and let Munchak develop him. From that standpoint, it’s not a bad big. I think Okorafor is someone, with Munchak’s coaching, who can develp into a starter. But of course, the issues with the pick is a path to playtime that is far away, both in his personal development – six years of football isn’t very long – and on the Steelers depth chart.