Saturday, April 28, 2018

Can potential alone carry WMU’s Chukwuma Okorafor?

Western Michigan’s Chukwuma Okorafor offers much potential as an NFL starter, but will that be enough to earn him an early selection in the2018 NFL Draft?

More: 2018 NFL Draft preview, player profiles and latest mock drafts
By Jacob Wilson 
April 26, 2018
Chukwuma Okorafor
(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Okorafor, a former three-star prospect out of Southfield, Michigan, has perhaps one of the most inspiring stories of all 2018 draftees. After immigrating from Botswana to the United States in 2010, Okorafor’s potential and physical attributes were immediately noted by his high school coaches. However, that potential would manifest itself into reality as Okorafor began receiving calls from some of the nation’s top programs.
Despite receiving offers from the likes of Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Florida, and others, Okorafor committed to Western Michigan University, a school just two hours away from his hometown. During his time with the Broncos, Okorafor would start in every game from his sophomore season onward.
As one could infer from his participation at Western Michigan, Okorafor is extremely consistent in his ability to stay on the field. Outside of his starts throughout his sophomore through senior years, Okorafor played in all but one game as a freshman. His health and resiliency alone should make him a fine backup in the NFL, at the least.
Outside of his size (6-foot-6, 330 pounds), Okorafor boasts many other skills. His strength alone allows for him to handle most bull-rushers, but he also has the quickness to gain an extra step when run blocking. Okorafor holds his blocks well, and has had success at both left and right tackle.
One of the aspects of Okorafor’s game that is critiqued the most is his football IQ, along with his instincts. Due in part to him starting the game of football at a later age than most, it would be expected that Okorafor struggle in terms of intangibles. However, it’s yet to be seen if his instincts will develop, making him a gamble in the early rounds.
In terms of his physical abilities, Okorafor’s stature naturally inhibits some of his speed. While he is fairly quick for his size, a tackle is much more likely to face speed rushers than a guard. Understandably so, there is reasonable concern that Okorafor will struggle greatly against those who can use his size against him.

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