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Godwin Igwebuike is an underrated safety prospect but could a position switch maximize his potential?

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2018 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Bowling Green at Northwestern Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Godwin Igwebuike, S
School: Northwestern | Conference: BIG 10
College Experience: rSr | Age: 22?
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 212 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 5th Round
NFL Comparison: Kemal Ishmael

College Statistics

Player Overview

Godwin Igwebuike has been one of Northwestern’s most productive players the past two years. Igwebuike was a 3-star prospect when he committed to play with the Wildcats in 2013. He is active all over the field and fits the mold of a lunch pail type player. He is listed as a free safety but played interchangeably at both safety positions while at Northwestern. While he may not have the range needed to stick at FS in the NFL he does offer the physicality needed by box safeties. Coaches speak highly of him and have said he has improved each year while at school. A contributor since his freshman year Igwebuike has experience but still has a lot to iron out to be considered a starting caliber player at the next level. The thing that worries me most about him is that he appears to be guessing a lot. He guesses in coverage, he guesses in run support. I think some might confuse instances where he guesses correctly with instincts. While Igwebuike isn’t completely devoid of instincts needed by a safety they also don’t come naturally either. Still, he does have good recognition in run defense and that combined with his high motor and effort is why he has been so productive in college. I think he’s a player that will contribute mainly on special teams and as depth for a while but with time and the right coaches/environment he might be a late-blooming starter in the mold of Mike Mitchell etc.

Strengths

  • Shows good recovery speed in short distances a lot of his pass breakups came on adjustments to the play where he showed good footwork/fluidity and great competitiveness at the catch point.
  • An aggressive player that likes to get in on the play. Pursuit angles are decent and he is willing to take punishment to his body to make a tackle.
  • Good recognition skills when playing the run. Able to sift through blockers and lay a square hit on the opposition more times than not.
  • Willing to put in the work and has outstanding effort and tenacity.

Weaknesses

  • Long speed is going to be a big question. Doesn’t appear quick or speedy and in some cases looks downright slow.
  • Slow recognition skills in coverage. A step late in man and at worst can look downright lost in zone. Interceptions were more so a product of right place / right time off a guess in coverage rather than true defensive skill there.
  • Does not play with enough depth, range, and understand the space around him to be a free safety at the next level likely limited to the box.

Let’s see his work:

More Godwin Igwebuike videos

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

I know I suggested that Igwebuike is a box safety at the next level but I wonder also considering his limited athleticism, instincts, agility, and speed he may be best suited as a linebacker eventually. He will have to put on a good 10-20 lbs of quality mass to make the conversion but I think his skills are best suited there though it might take a season or two to bulk up and develop the block shedding skills. This is a move I can see happening immediately or over time. I haven’t seen any reads online on if a position switch is viable but a move like that would make sense like that to me for a team like the Redskins. In the meantime, I think he can provide depth as a box safety/dime linebacker. The Redskins have a need for depth at those positions even with Su’a Cravens presumed return and with DeAngelo Hall’s presumed departure. Igwebuike can also compete and contribute immediately on special teams where I think he will be a solid player despite his position.