Falcons Draft Profile: Albert Okwuegbunam

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If you are not very familiar with Missouri football, here is what you need to know about Albert Okwuegbunam. He is called Albert O because his last name is impossible to pronounce, and he was one of the biggest disappointments of the 2019 college football season. If you are curious, it is pronounced O-coo-WAY-boo-nham.

So why am I writing this article on Albert O? Well this time last year, many were talking about him as a future first-round pick. He has a ton of upside, and in the right landing spot, he could be a fantastic value pick in the third or fourth round. With the Falcons searching for answers at tight end, if the team opts to trade or sign a replacement for Austin Hooper, Okwuegbunam could be the ideal project to develop for the late years of Matt Ryan.

The Albert O hype train began his freshman season when 11 of his 29 receptions were caught for touchdowns. He knows how to box out opposing defenders and make them pay. He showed that — in the right situation — he can be utilized as a lethal red-zone weapon and had a ton of success with quarterback Drew Lock. Unfortunately, his sophomore season with Lock was cut short due to a shoulder injury.

This injury may have been why Okwuegbunam underwhelmed in his final season with the Tigers. It sidelined him past the team’s spring game and gave him no time to build chemistry with new quarterback Kelly Bryant. Bryant leaves much to be desired as a passer, and that undoubtedly deflated his numbers and opportunities as a redshirt junior in 2019. He also dealt with another shoulder injury during the year as well.

Albert never posted over 500 yards a season in college but was viewed as Missouri’s best playmaker due to his ability to cause mismatches against certain opponents, courtesy of his ridiculous size at 6’5″, 255 lbs. He is not afraid of contact and has elite ball tracking ability and hands. Albert is very fluid for his size and shocked many at The Combine with the fastest 40-yard dash among tight ends — a 4.49. However, he will have to work on tightening up his routes to succeed as a receiver at the next level. 

Albert O can do it all, we are just waiting for that explosion from him. We talked a bit about his receiving ability, but he is also strong in the run game. He’s a quality inline blocker and can sell himself as a blocker, killing opposing defenses.

When comparing his tape from his first two seasons to 2019, it seems to me he did not play with as much effort as he had in years past, but he could have been limited with injuries. Many scouts have questioned his toughness, and Albert made it known it has been a lifelong dream of his to become a doctor.

At the very least, I like Albert O as a secondary tight end in the NFL with the chance to become a decent starter in time. With Matt Ryan’s tendency to target his secondary targets in the red zone rather than Julio Jones, he can be a reliable weapon for him with the proper development.

 

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