Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was called the best defensive back prospect entering the 2015 NFL draft by ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. The 5’10” 195 pound corner has the size, speed and instincts to be a star in the league, which would make wearing a star on his helmet for the Dallas Cowboys only fitting.
In four seasons the cornerback has recorded nine interceptions and forced eight fumbles. That kind of playmaking can have a positive impact on a Dallas team who seems to always struggle to find corners who can pick off passes.
Recently the stock of the 21 year old has fallen, as he suffered a season ending injury, which required ACL surgery. Ekpre-Olomu is projected to be on the field no earlier than mid season.
If he is able to return in the week nine range it would be similar to this years second round pick, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence is proof that even drafting a non-injured player is no guarantee of availability.
That is just one reason I don’t understand why the stock of a player drops so much when he is unavailable for a portion of his rookie year. The draft is for building a future as much as anything and for the Dallas Cowboys a guy like Ekpre-Olomu can be their future at the corner position.
With such strong passing games emerging in the NFC East, a shut down corner can be a great luxury to have. Matching up each year with receivers like the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz, the Eagles’ Jordan Matthews and Jeremy Maclin and the Redskins’ DeSean Jackson will be much easier with a talented defender able to neutralize a player on his own.
The real question if the Cowboys are to consider selecting the former Oregon player, is where to do so. A few months ago it would have been laughable to consider him being around for the 27th pick which Dallas owns. Now, most mock drafts have him going in round three.
Anyone who is able to get a player of Ekpre-Olomu’s talent will be getting a guy who has a long NFL career in front of him according to his former position coach at Oregon, John Neal via Chase Goodbread on NFL.com.
“He will reach his full potential as an athlete probably when he’s about 30. Then he’s still going to be really good,” Neal said, according to scout.com. “He’s one of those guys who will play for a long time because of his conditioning. He’ll be able to play any position he needs to play in the NFL.”
Perhaps Dallas sticks with a solid pass rusher in the first round (I wouldn’t blame them as this is a huge need). However, if Ekpre-Olomu is around in the second, I would hope Dallas wastes no time in filling his name in on their draft card.
If Dallas does decide to pass on him, they may be trying to pass against him. Given the love Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly has for drafting his former players, Ekpre-Olomu could just as easily be targeted by the Eagles. Which, to me at least, makes taking him even more enticing.