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Record-breaking wide receiver Cooper Kupp earned most of the attention from NFL scouts traveling to tiny Cheney, Washington but Ebukam was nearly as dominant over his career on the defensive side of the ball for the Eagles.
Ebukam's path to the NFL is a long one that started in Nigeria, where he was born and lived until the age of nine, not learning English until after he arrived in the United States. He focused more on soccer, as well as track and field (shot put and javelin) before football and was only offered scholarships by two programs - EWU and Portland State.
Rather than redshirt to acclimate to the new surroundings and sport, however, Ebukam (pronounced "ay-boo-com") proved an immediate difference-maker for the Eagles, earning Second Team Freshman All-American honors as an edge rusher despite not starting a single game. Earning post-season honors became the norm for Ebukam, who was recognized with All-Big Sky accolades each year of his career with the Eagles, ultimately capping it off with career-highs in tackles (68), tackles for loss (13.5), sacks (8.5), fumble recoveries (three) and forced fumbles (two) as a senior, splitting time between "Buck" defensive end, outside linebacker, inside linebacker and even defensive tackle.
Though his lack of ideal size and level of competition are obvious concerns, scouts will be intrigued by Ebukam's raw athleticism and upside.
STRENGTHS: Boasts undeniable athleticism, including the quickness and mobility to potentially handle the conversion to an off-the-line linebacker role. Has a compact, well-built upper body with disproportionately long arms, which helps him generate power as a bull rusher, as well as slip blocks. Good initial quickness off the snap out of the three-point stance to cross the face of tackles and shows the agility and awareness to be quite effective looping back inside on stunts. Appears comfortable dropping back into coverage, showing the body control to change directions quickly as well as good speed and effort in pursuit. Good length and strength for the drag down tackle. May be only scratching the surface of his potential.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks the desired length and bulk to remain as a full-time defensive end in the NFL and is very raw as a linebacker, relying on his athleticism and motor to make plays. Too often is out of control as an edge rusher, allowing himself to get off-balance and knocked to the ground. Wasted motion as a pass rusher, flailing his arms rather than swiping away at the efforts of blockers to slow him. Needs to do a better job of anticipating and protecting himself against cut blocks.
IN OUR VIEW: Ebukam plays with a Tasmanian devil style of aggression and relentlessness that could earn him a spot on special teams while learning the nuances of the game. Until then, his burst off the edge could help as a pass rush specialist.
COMPARES TO: Marquis Flowers: Like the 6-3, 245 pound third year pro out of Arizona, Ebukam has athleticism, motor and frame to warrant a late round flyer in the hopes of developing.
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