The 2019 NFL Draft has several areas of obvious depth. The talent at the defensive line and EDGE positions is well known, but less widely spoken of is the talent at the safety position. While the cornerback position has disappointed through the draft process, the safety position has revealed itself to be deep and with a variety of talent to suit almost any defensive need.
Considering the New York Giants continued need for young safeties, they might consider looking for one, or more, in this draft. If they decide to go in other directions in the early rounds, Oregon safety Ugochukwu Amadi (otherwise known as “Ugo”) could prove to be an interesting mid-round selection.
- Great feet and fluid hips. Able to hang in man coverage.
- Versatility to play deep zones or cover the slot.
- Reads and diagnoses offenses well.
- Productive in pass defense.
- Willing down-hill defender.
- High-effort player.
- Has played both corner and safety.
- Size might be a concern for some teams.
- Doesn’t have great burst.
- Tested as a marginal athlete.
- Willing tackler but not a hard hitter.
What They’re Saying
Amadi lacks a clean fit from a positional standpoint, but he’s a productive player with good toughness who improved each season. He lacks recovery burst and the height to handle downfield jump-balls and he lacks coverage twitch against slots, but he’s strong and physical in press and is a willing run supporter which gives him a shot as a sub-package down safety with punt return talent.
”He has good football character and good leadership. He’s smart on and off the field. He doesn’t have the juice to be a full-time slot so I’m writing him as a safety with some nickel ability.” -- NFC area scout
- Lance Zierlein (NFL.com - Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
The Giants seem to want versatile “do everything” safeties who can play multiple roles in their multiple defense. Amadi fits that bill well. He has enough range to play in a Cover 1 or Cover 2 zone, while also being a willing box defender with the ability to cover most slot receivers if need be.
His size could be an issue for some teams, and at 5-foot 9 inches tall, he is on the short side. However, he has enough bulk to not be bullied by offensive players, and the fluid feet and hips to hang in tight coverage. Amadi is quick and decisive coming down-hill, reading offenses well and being disruptive when he arrives. But while he is quick to commit and has solid short-area quickness, Amadi isn’t truly explosive and lacks a great closing burst, which show up most when he is being used as a blitzer. He can disrupt quarterbacks, but shouldn’t be sent from too wide an alignment as it can take him too long to get home.
The Giants should like Amadi’s competitive drive and motor, and he will pursue a play from across the field. Also, he appears to be an active communicator on the back end of the defense, which is particularly important in a blitz-heavy scheme.
Safeties’ draft value could be fluid this year, with a sudden increase in the market for free agents balanced against a fairly deep class. Amadi is a solid, versatile, and productive player, but he doesn’t have any truly special traits, so he might be a high-value get in the middle rounds.