Would you want the Texans to draft Prince Amukamara?

There's a lot of talk about Amukamara perhaps being a better fit at safety at the NFL level.  Amukamara's straight-line speed has been a topic of debate since Amukamara was torched for 157 yards and two TDs on five receptions by Oklahoma State third-year sophomore Justin Blackmon last October.

Nebraska did not allow scouts to time its prospects in the 40-yard dash before the 2010 season, meaning next week's Scouting Combine will be their first chance to clock him.


Amukamara is widely considered the second best corner in the draft, but Wes Bunting is beating the drum for a move to free safety.

There have been cornerback prospects in the past — Miami’s Antrel Rolle and Ohio State’s Malcolm Jenkins, for example — who both had slight straight-line speed concerns coming out, which kept them from ever developing into shutdown corners in the NFL. However, much like Amukamara, they were both natural, fluid football players with good ball skills, tackled well in all areas of the game and made the move to free safety, carving out very successful careers there.

Therefore, I do like the idea of a team looking at making the move for Amukamara as a potential safety prospect, since he may not have the straight-line speed to ever be an elite level corner. However, he’s got a very similar skill set to both Rolle and Jenkins and could add a lot of value to a defense with his versatility, as he would be able to play in centerfield, could line up over the slot and in the pass-first NFL and could end up being a more valuable player to his team as a versatile ball-hawking safety.

The Sporting News agrees

Doug Farrar, of Football Outsiders counters with this : "He could be the next great man corner in the league.  Prince Amukamara is not a future safety – at worst, he's a decent and slightly overdrafted corner, and at best, he's a star waiting to happen." and NFLnetwork's Mike Mayock  believes that LSU's Patrick Peterson and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara "are head and shoulders better than other corners available".

Tony Pauline at  has this to say : Hip flexibility is the top indicator of an exceptional cover corner.  Amukamara has the best hips of the bunch.

Amukamara is the most polished and NFL-ready cornerback in April's draft. He's also looked upon as a high-character prospect who exudes class off the field.

He was a consensus All-American despite recording zero interceptions, because most teams refused to throw his way. However, in 2009 he showed his play making ability.  Quarterbacks tested him, and he came away with five interceptions, and his play helped Nebraska lead the nation in pass efficiency defense.

His grandfather was the king of the Awo Omamma in Nigeria. His father, Romanus was an elite soccer player in Nigeria. His mother, Christie was a sprinter for Nigeria in the 1984 Olympics.

"I am a bit surprised to hear some questioning my speed," Amukamara admitted.  His mother's sprinting pedigree was clearly inherited by her son, who won the Arizona state Class 4A titles in both the 100- and 200-meter dash in 2007. His times in the 100 (10.78) and 200 (21.91) were both the fastest in the state.  Amukamara  was also a highly-regard high school running back out of Arizona (2,106 rushing yards, 24 touchdowns as a senior).

Prior to the beginning of the season, Amukamara was ranked the No. 1 senior prospect (regardless of position) by National Scouting, the organization that puts on the annual combine and is the preseason scouting service relied upon by over half of the league's teams.

Nevertheless, if a team drafts him with a move to safety in mind, Amukamara will take on the challenge of switching positions just as he did at Nebraska. He signed with the Huskers as a highly touted prep running back.

"I expect to play cornerback in the NFL, but if a team wants me to play elsewhere, I think my past shows that I'm an athlete who can adapt to whatever role is needed."


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