Scouting the AAC - Houston

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The Houston Cougars have had two players selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since 2013, and both were from the defensive side of the ball. They’ll very likely have another next April and a player who is expected to be the program’s highest draft pick since quarterback Andre Ware.

Defensive lineman Ed Oliver seems to be everyone’s favorite prospect these days and is drawing comparisons to Aaron Donald. To this point in time from what I’ve watched on film, Oliver is a terrific prospect -- but I don’t see much Aaron Donald in his game. Unlike Donald, who was a brute force in the middle of the line, Oliver is more athletic and much more of a first-step lineman who must beat defenders off the snap. He has an explosive first step and plays with a great deal of quickness as well as terrific fundamentals. Oliver also shows the ability to run down ball carriers outside the box in lateral pursuit.

He needs to bulk up and improve his playing strength, as all too often I watched Oliver get hung up by a single blocker. Regardless, he’ll be an early pick next April if he enters the draft, which I would expect.

Isaiah Johnson is a nice-sized corner who plays aggressive football and shows solid ball skills. His deep speed and ability to make plays with his back to the ball are suspect, but I like his potential as a zone corner or nickel safety.

Linebacker Emeke Egbule is an underrated prospect with excellent measurables and playing speed. He’s a run-and-chase defender who displays a lot of skill making tackles in space. He needs to get stronger as well as improve his play against the pass, but he has the potential to grow into a three-down defender. 

NFL Prospects from Houston

Grade

Round

Full Name

Pos

Year

#

4.44

1st

Ed Oliver

DT

3Jr

10

3.44

5th

Isaiah Johnson

CB

5Sr

14

3.37

6th

Emeke Egbule

OLB

4Sr

8

3.15

FA

Garrett Davis

S

5Sr

1

3.09

FA

Jerard Carter

DE

5Sr

52

2.99

FA

Mulbah Car

RB

3Jr

34

2.90

FA

D'Eriq King

WR

3Jr

4

2.86

FA

Josh Jones

G

4Jr

74

2.80

FA

x-Duke Catalon

RB

5Sr

2

2.75

FA

Romello Brooker

TE

5Sr

82