With the 241st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu from the University of Oregon. History may show that with that pick the Browns got the steal of the 2015 draft.
We all know Ekpre-Olomu’s story by now: a highly touted defensive back who was projected to go high in the draft before he was struck down by a devastating knee injury in practice preparing for the first ever college football playoffs.
But who is Ifo Ekpre-Olomu?
Born in Chino Hills, Calif., Ekpre-Olomu is one of four children of Joshua and Queen Ekpre-Olomu. He played all four years he at Oregon. He stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 192 pounds.
“I feel like it doesn’t really matter where you start, it matters what you do from there and how you finish. I’m happy I’m with the Browns. They are the team that put their faith in me.” – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
During his time in Eugene, Ekpre-Olomu accumulated 244 total tackles, nine interceptions and eight forced fumbles. The 2012 season was his best with the Ducks as he racked up four of his career picks, and six of his career forced fumbles. The most impressive statistic for his college career may be that he played in 53 games before going down with his knee injury while the Ducks were preparing to take on Florida State in the Rose Bowl.
Despite his major knee injury, Ekpre-Olomu is tough and durable. Once he gets back to 100 percent he has the potential to become an every down player.
Watching tape on Ekpre-Olomu you can see he has range and is an instinctual player more than a technical one; while this has its detriments and benefits, technique is teachable, instincts are harder to build up, though not impossible. His natural gifts could allow him to play corner or safety depending on the needs of the team when he is able to join the Browns in 2016.
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Depending on who you asked prior to the draft, Ekpre-Olomu was as low as a third-round prospect, all the way up to some analysts calling him the top defensive back in the draft and a lock for the first round. The price of a seventh-round pick was shockingly small for the Browns to pay for a player who has the potential to play a dominant role on the defensive side of the ball for years to come.
Once healthy, Ekpre-Olomu should return to his previous form, being tough and durable. After so much time off, and falling off of the radar of so many teams, you can bet that once he does return to the field he’ll also be playing with a chip on his shoulder, looking to show every other team in the league why they made a mistake passing on him so many times before the Browns took that small chance in the seventh round.
Do you think Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will be worth the wait for the Browns?