Position: Defensive Corner
Ifo possesses outstanding burst and acceleration thats evident in how fast he closes on the ball coming downhill, reacting laterally, and in eliminating space between receivers downfield. He shows excellent balance, coordination, and agility when coming downhill in run support. He’s able to come full speed, plant, and have tremendous hit accuracy with his helmet & shoulder pads often changing his target area in full stride. His coordination really stands out in his ability to time his jumps perfectly to high point the ball and in his superb tackling technique. His QAB score would be even higher if not for his overall balance being a bit shaky. It can suffer when he’s in his turn from man tight and in the MOF when WRs cross his face as he tends to get grabby to compensate for some sluggishness in his lower half. I think both issues stem with his base of support (BOS) as it gets narrow too often, resulting in the aforementioned grabbing. He’s improved each year in his footwork and technique in man, but still can cross his feet and get off balance at times when he’s in tight quarters. He does however close on the ball from a standstill quickly enough to compensate from some separation that he will give up from time to time.
Section Grade: 7.3
Pride / Quit
Ifo is a hyperactive, very aggressive player in almost everything he does. He has no hesitation flying up in run support with reckless abandon and generating tremendous pop on contact. He often gets physical with receivers near the LOS, oftentimes too far down the field, resulting in a lot of P.I. calls. He is a snap to whistle player who is always moving 100 miles an hour on the field. He had a tremendously productive career in Eugene, starting 40 straight games with 39 PBUs before his injury. His effort & instincts are very consistent but his technique can get sloppy at times, particularly in close quarters when receivers cross his face. His feet tend to slow down or lag behind his arms & he gets grabby more than you want to see.
Section Grade: 7.3
Learn / Retain
Instinct / Reaction
In the 8 tapes I watched Ifo continually improved in some concerning areas such as his technique, BOS, and discipline in man tight coverage as well as turning his head quicker each year since ’12. He always has been a highly instinctual guy who reads/reacts in a flash. His focus on the deep ball is exceptional. He locates and tracks quickly and efficiently. He has a keen sense of timing on jumps to deflect as well as razor sharp hand placement in receiver’s frame on the ball. Continues to fight and scrap the ball to the ground which results in its own set of PBUs if he didn’t succeed initially. He also demonstrates the ability to recognize route combinations from zone and see through WRs to the QB (’12 Arizona & ’13 Arizona provide best examples).
Section Grade: 7
Strength / Explosion
Ifo is a sparkplug CB who doesn’t have great height or length but is chiseled with especially developed butt and legs. He started 40 straight games before suffering a torn ACL in practice so he is a very durable player who will have obvious question marks and concerns moving forward. His fast twitch fibers run throughout his body as he is able to generate large amounts of burst from a standstill and in all directions (forward, laterally, vertically). His narrow BOS at times can effect his strength but when balanced up he can deliver a jolt in his jam and he’s always been a big-time hitter.
Section Grade: 6.4
7 Read & React
Is outstanding at diagnosing complex scenarios such as route combos and reacts quickly w/explosion
7 Man On / Man Off
Excellent in hip pocketing WRs downfield and winning on contested balls. Primarily uses a side shuffle. Reacts downhill on slants, digs, smashes with aggression and precision. Can get a narrow BOS in off and “catch” WRs too far downfield. Needs to keep feet firing & avoid getting a narrow BOS
6.5 Man Tight
While he can slip out of phase in his turn (due to some footwork issues, particularly in his pedal) he has excellent recovery speed to make a ton of plays on the ball. Refined ball skills & plenty of burst
7.5 Zone Coverage
Ifo shines when he is able to freelance and react to the action. Possesses fluid route recognition ability and ability to bait QBs. Reacts with suddenness from a standstill and gets his hands on a ton of balls in this technique
6.5 Break & Close
Has twitch & burst in his lower half to explode out of breaks but his foot fire tends to be out of sync from the plant. Has the ability to minimize space very quickly
5.5 Hips / Turn ability
Hips are very fluid and flexible but I saw his feet cross and get narrow too often, leaving him off balanced
He unlocks his hips, delivers a big-time pop, shoots through, and wraps up with precision. A bit over-aggressive at times but does special things cuz of it
6.5 Hands – INT
Catches the easy ones and gets his hands on very difficult balls. Strong hands in run support & with his jam
6.5 Hands – Fight blocks
Has very good strength for his size to be able to fight through blocks. Wins by being scrappy & physical
7 Long Speed
Shows ability to hip pocket WRs deep downfield as well as make up speed to get back in-phase deep. Gets out of phase more so from poor technique than lack of pure speed
6 Return Ability
A bit of a freelancer on the field who takes risks and has loose technique, resulting in too many P.I. calls. Very rarely misplays the ball
Section Grade: 6.5
7 ATH. ABILITY
7 M / M OFF
6.5 M / M TIGHT
7 PLAY SPEED
Section Grade: 7.2
Overall Grade: G 7
Possesses a high level of toughness, physicality, and explosiveness/twitch. Excels in zone coverage where he demonstrates excellent route recognition & read/react ability. Excels in man coverage downfield through savvy body positioning to hip pocket, wall off, or contest nearly every ball. Explodes from a standstill and has top notch ball skills. Consistently is able to locate, track, and bat down a ton of balls (39 PBUs in 40 games). Has an innate ability to high point the ball through superb coordination and vertical ability. Spark plug in run support who unlocks at contact delivering a big pop while finishing with a strong wrap up. Has rare precision coming downhill at top speed to hit where he aims on ballcarriers. Experience at boundary, field, and slot CB.
Needs more precision and refinement on his back pedal footwork. Tends to get too narrow on his turn resulting in poor balance. Both of these issues lead to him getting very grabby at times, resulting in too many P.I.’s. Can get lost at times downfield looking for the ball too soon and stopping his feet. Gets overaggressive often, he’s a gambler who is always looking for the big play which can bite him. Needs to be reeled in a bit.
Ekpre-Olomu came to Eugene as a 4-star recruit who played running back & defensive back in high school. He appeared in all 14 games as a true freshman before starting his 40 game starting streak as a sophomore in 2012. He lined up as a field, boundary, and slot CB in several tapes I watched and was most effective as an off the ball player. Oregon would line him up 6-7 yards off the slot with an LB kicked out on an inside shade over the slot, usually as a decoy. This would allow Ifo to utilize his excellent read/react ability and show off his explosiveness & ball skills the best. I like him in a similar type role so he can roam & make plays on the ball. Ifo finished his career with 244 total tackles, 164 solo, 6.5 TFL, 9 INT, 1 TD, 39 PBUs, & 8 FF. He was a three-time first-team All-Pac 12 honoree as well as a two-time first-team All-American (consensus in ’14 & Thorpe finalist as well).
Ekpre-Olomu has a very evenly, cut up dispersion of muscle throughout his entire frame. He has average length with below average height but is very twitched up and explosive in multiple facets. He is an exceptionally tough, hard nosed player who plays with almost too much physicality at times (’12 USC tape & ’13 Wash tape have good examples). While he needs to learn to scale it back some downfield in coverage, his physicality shines in his click/close ability particularly coming downhill in run support. He demonstrates superb coordination in his foot speed/precision, as well as his ability to play the ball in the air. His hitting/tackling game is stout as he shows the capability to unlock his hips on contact, generating more force than expected from a smaller player. In the ’13 Wash tape Ifo adjusted his aiming point on a tackle coming full speed downhill on a RB with a last second plant in reacting to a juke, landing his facemask on the ballcarriers’ shins for a beautiful tackle & display of coordination. He has very strong hands in his wrap-up as well as w/receivers in coverage. He is a fighter on the field who scraps with ballcarriers to the ground, with receivers throughout the route, and generally from snap to whistle. He oftentimes puts himself in excellent position down the sideline to enhance his ability to make plays on the ball. Not only does he use the sideline to his advantage he gives small alleyways for receivers to work in on jump balls. He is an “above the rim” CB.
Ifo has extensive experience on both sides of the field both inside and outside. His best spot is in off coverage over the slot towards the MOF. This rover type of position allows his best traits to flourish, which are his explosiveness in space, ability to see through the WR to the QB, route recognition, and outstanding ball skills. In zone he is able to diagnose route combinations quickly, read the QB while simultaneously keeping an eye on WRs with his peripheral. He primarily uses a side shuffle and needs work on his footwork in his pedal as he often gets narrow. From man tight he has fluid hips to turn but also tends to cross his feet, eliminating his BOS & therefore sacrifices balance. This results in him getting pushed around at times despite his strength. He has an impressive 5th gear that he shows off in closing both downhill and vertically deep down field. His most redeeming quality is his ability to locate, track, and high point the football with rare timing. Every tape he gets a hand in a receiver’s cradle or frame of the ball at the last minute for the deflection. His skill-set has a natural fit as a safety/rover type of spot whereas his size is more suited for the slot. I think he could play both but will need the most work on his footwork and over-aggression if he were to be put at corner. In studying Ifo it appears at times his mind plays faster than his body which can result in some wild looking technique and a shaky BOS. He compensates for this by getting too grabby when receiver’s cross his face or by blatantly “catching” a WR from off coverage or grabbing them because his footwork was lagging. With repetition, coaching, and time he has the instinctual prowess, ball skills, and functional athleticism to fill a variety of roles for a defense as a pro.
Pro Comp – Antoine Winfield