[Remember to check the '2010 NFL Draft' section for all stories relating to the draft.]
Our Daily NFL Draft Prospect Profile series just keeps rolling along. Today, let's look at one of those intriguing small-school players NFL scouts and GMs are really just familiarizing themselves with during the post-season pre-draft process.
That would be Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound cornerback from tiny Indiana University in Pennsylvania.
This is a player with the size, speed (4.33 40) and skills NFL teams look for at corner. He is so unknown, though, that I have really had to dig to find thorough scouting reports. The National Football Post, which has reports on almost everybody, still has not posted anything about Owusu-Ansah.
Let's take a closer look, anyway, and see what we can find out.
From The Sporting News, which ran a very nice feature about Owusu-Ansah.
What's to like: He's got NFL size (6-1, 205), NFL speed. He's got punt return ability and kickoff return ability. He'll develop and play special teams his first year in the league, and then you hope he can become a starter. In this year's draft, the number of guys with his kind of size is few.
What scares me: He played at a lower level, so the step up in competition is going to be big for him. I don't think he's a very instinctive type of player. His ball skills are kind of iffy. He hasn't gone up against the bigger and better wide receivers. He's raw fundamentally.
Final verdict: No later than the third round, probably second.
Scouts note his size, speed and hands on the corner and noticed his ability to play through a shoulder injury this fall (which kept him out of postseason all-star games) and his versatility. Owusu-Ansah lined up at safety quite often to take advantage of his center fielder skills and could be used there in the NFL. Whether teams view him as a cornerback or safety, they'll value his skills. Defensive backs with size, speed, hands and return skills aren't easy to find.
Has prototypical size to be a press corner. ... Could flourish in a zone system as a free safety or corner. His size and speed give him good range, and he is strong enough to snatch the ball from the grasp of receivers. ... Has the size and strength to limit yards after the catch. ... Return skills were formidable at the D-II level, but should translate; he hits a hole quickly, shows good vision, runs through arm tackles and has the speed to beat the angle.
Very athletic and versatile defender with the ability to make an impact on special teams. ... Needs to work on protecting the ball with some fumble issues at times during his career but he has great size, ball skills, and is productive. ... There is no reason not to expect him to land in the mid rounds, potentially a top 100 selection.
Why Owusu-Ansah fits with the
Because he appears to have all the attributes necessary to be a quality corner in the NFL, eventually. He also offers versatility to possibly move to safety, which could be appealing to the Giants. His kick return and tackling ability also has to be appealing to the Giants on special teams. Could he be this year's Ramses Barden? A small-school guy Jerry Reese gambles on who might pay huge dividends if the Giants have the patience to wait for them? Maybe.
Why the Giants should pass
Because they will likely have to wait for Owusu-Ansah to make a real contribution anywhere other than special teams. They have immediate needs for defensive help, and if they find a player they feel could get on the field faster they might be likely to go in that direction. Keep in mind that, as of now, Reese has no extra picks to fool around with.