2022 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Erik Ezukanma

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Good luck trying to say Erik Ezukanma’s name three times quickly. You may not even be able to say it once. In a draft season highlighted with names like Garrett Wilson, Drake London and Chris Olave, you might not have heard Ezukanma’s name very often. In late December 2021, at age 21, Texas native Chukwuerika “Erik” Ezukanma announced that he would forfeit his final two years of eligibility at Texas Tech University and declare himself for the 2022 NFL Draft. As draft season approaches, it’s easy to focus on the athletes who consistently appear at the top of consensus draft boards, but these rookie profiles allow us to dig a little deeper and uncover some hidden gems that might out of the 2022 draft. Erik Ezukanma is one of those potential gems.

Let’s take a look at Ezukanma’s college production and tape to get an idea of ​​what we can expect from him as he enters the NFL.

This article is part of our series of rookie profiles leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft. To learn more about each rookie, check out Andy, Mikeand by Jason Exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of UDK+ for 2022.

Measurable

Ezukanma’s measurable parameters come from the combine. He did not run the 40 or participate in the bench press.

Vertical Long jump Shuttle 20 YD Height Weight Wing Hand Arms
36.5 126 4.38 6″2′ 209 78 1/4 9 3/8 33 1/2

University output

Ezukanma didn’t play much during his first season, only appearing in two games. Returning to Texas Tech the following year, he began to make an impact. He led the Red Raiders in receiving yards that year and continued to do so during his tenure. He also led the team with receptions during his final two years in college. His receiving yard average has remained above 14 yards per catch throughout his college career. He was also used on the rush in his senior year at Texas Tech, converting ten attempts for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

To receive To rush
Games played Rec yards Avg TD Att yards Avg TD
2018 2 2 48 24 1
2019 11 42 664 15.8 4
2020 ten 46 748 16.3 6
2021 11 48 705 14.7 4 ten 138 13.8 2

what’s on tape

Games watched: Houston (2021), OR (2021), Iowa State (2021), Oklahoma State (2020), Baylor (2021)

Global Physics

The first thing that jumps out at you when you see Ezukanma on the pitch is his overall physical prowess. When Ezukanma arrived at Texas Tech for his freshman year in the fall of 2018, he weighed a lean 180 pounds. Returning the following year, he weighed in at 210 pounds after diligently concentrating on filling his 6’2″ frame. He weighed in at Reaper this year at 209. And the man has arms. His wingspan is 78.25 inches and he looks even bigger when he’s on the ground – he fully extends when he jumps to make catches. That, coupled with his big hands to help secure the football, lays the foundation for what could be an impressive athlete. Partly because of his physical build, Ezukanma doesn’t seem afraid of contested holds. In his 2021 season, 16 of his 74 targets were contested (22%), and according to PFF, his catch percentage contested was 56%. Also, once his fingers touch the ball, he is clearly seen adjusting to protect his grip. He is not afraid of physical contact from defenders.

Big ADOT

While he had just 74 targets in his final season at Texas Tech. Ezukanma made the most of it. His average target depth that year was 11.8, which, oddly enough, was the lowest of his entire college career. Overall, during his tenure at Tech, Ezukanma had a target depth of 12.6 yards, which puts him in the same league as players like Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams. Not too bad.

What is not recorded

Although Ezukanma is an excellent physical specimen, he has things to work on if he hopes to be a receiving asset in the NFL. The first thing I noticed was that it pretty much has speed. Whether it’s getting off a road, running down the field for a pass, or pushing for yards after the catch, Ezukanma runs at what feels like the same pace. Don’t listen to what I don’t say; the man is a quick runner, but lacks the variation that the NFL’s top passers demonstrate. He lacks the quick stopping and going speed of his routes, which will prevent him from breaking away from defenders, and he lacks the afterburn speed he needs to demonstrate once his long arms reach out to grasp the Football.

With this lack of speed differentiation comes Ezukanma’s inability to create separation. Remember when I mentioned all his contested takes? Yes, part of it was due to his inability to break away from his defenders. NFL defenders are a different beast compared to those he saw in college, and with no option to separate, Ezukanma will find himself sitting on the bench.

Another thing that Ezukanma can improve is his presence in the rushing attack. He only made an impact rushing for the Red Raiders in his senior season, logging over 100 rushing yards with two touchdowns. Ezukanma has the overall athletic talent that can and should be used all over the court. I hope we get to see him and see him grow in the NFL.

Fantastic outlook 2022

Ezukanma came out of the gates hot in 2021, leading to rumors that he was riding drawing boards. Those quickly died down, in part due to injuries and the change to QB at Texas Tech — Ezukanma was catching passes from three different guys in an offense that struggled, and his numbers reflected that. But is there a diamond in the rough here? I think Ezukanma could learn and grow on a pass-heavy offense in the NFL, taking note of seasoned road runners and figuring out how to make his size and physical assets work better for him. I would love to see him land in a place like Minnesota or Green Bay, where he could enjoy the tutelage of a top WR in Jefferson or Adams and QBs who like to throw. And for your fantasy team? If he lands in a good spot, he’s someone to take an end-of-round flyer on. At a minimum, keep an eye on him for the first few weeks of the season to see if he makes a connection with his (hopefully) seasoned QB.

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