Name: Chukwuma Okorafor
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Western Michigan
This is largely what make Okorafor a potential late first round pick. He is tall and long, but his legs are thick and strong, as well. There is nothing spindly or narrow about any part of him. What is more, Okorafor carries his tremendous size like an athlete. His feet are quick, he slides side-to-side fluidly and he has no lumbering quality to his movements. Even though his game is a little raw, the upside with Okorafor is high because he has the mass to succeed early on.
Okorafor gets out of his stance and into his set quickly, giving him quick leverage on speed and bull rushers. His lateral quickness is good enough to mirror, though his reaction time in this area is occasionally slow. Though his punch and hand placement leave a little to be desired, Okorafor maintains separation merely by having long, powerful arms. He also never gets leveraged against, as he has the requisite power to counter any defenders leg drive. In his first few games at the next level, Okorafor may struggle against counter moves as he tends to set up a little wide, allowing for quick cuts inside. He was quick and strong enough to ride the defender in college, but it could take a few extra reps to adjust in the NFL. Regardless, Okorafor has plus potential as a pass protector.
Again, theoretically, Okorafor can be great in this area. He is impossibly massive and strong and shows good leverage when facing bull rushes. However, Okorafor seems to rely more on just his strength rather than technique when run blocking. He stands straight up a lot of the time, allowing the defender to get leverage. He rarely loses the battle because he is just too strong, but he does not get the desired push as often as he should. When he does, he is sometimes top heavy, leading to him losing balance. Western Michigan’s run schemes led to a lot of cut blocking by Okorafor, something that probably will not happen nearly as much in the NFL.
On the bright side, when he maintains leverage, Okorafor is nearly impossible to move. He also has good instincts and quickness getting to the second level, frequently clearing linebackers out of the play before they see him coming. He also sustains blocks due to his strong grip and powerful base. If he can just shore up his technique, Okorafor can be a plus run blocker.
Okorafor screams good NFL right tackle. He has prototypical right tackle power but also has quickness and length to excel as a pass blocker. The Vikings have some flexibility along their line, as current right tackle Mike Remmers proved in spurts that he can play guard effectively. If the Vikings draft Okorafor, with some offseason work, he could be an early starter. He has some potential as a guard, as well, given his mass and power. However, that would be a switch for down the road as he has some leverage issues at this point in his career.
The question is whether the Vikings would be able to hold out to draft Okorafor late in the second round. His projections point to him being selected late first, early second. But his game film shows how raw he really is. He would be a steal for the Vikings at the 30th pick of the second round, but realistically, they would probably have to trade up to get him in the second. As a first round pick, he would not be a home run, per se, but he would fill a need and projects to be a well above average starter if he improves technique.
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