Numbers: 6-foot-3, 215 pounds ... 22 years old ... 4.47-second forty speed
2006 stats: 30 catches for 351 yards and 2 touchdowns .. rushed eight
times for 17 yards
A long-striding route-runner with good size, Ekwerekwu has good instincts for finding soft spots in opponent's zone coverages -- but he just hasn't yet become a standout performer. And it's a bit puzzling that he hasn't.
Working in a Missouri offense that liked to spread the ball around, he put up respectable numbers during his collegiate career -- 95 receptions for 956 yards (10.1 average) and six touchdowns -- but not the kind of numbers that put him top-of-mind among NFL scouts and teams on draft day this past April. And it didn't help his stock much when he had minor offseason knee surgery, even though he was able to put together a good Pro Day performance shortly thereafter.
When you look at his size, skills and his dedication to conditioning, he appears to be a player who could develop quickly with the right coaching. Ekwerekwu (pronounced ECK-whir-ECK-woo) won the admiration of his strength and conditioning coaches with his high consistency of effort and work ethic while also excelling in the classroom, majoring in finance and banking. And he added value to his team by excelling as a holder for Missouri's kicking units.
You'd find plenty of people who would describe Ekwerekwu as a good runner in regards to his mechanics, but he's not particularly fast or quick, making him a better candidate as a slot receiver at the pro level than as a pure wideout. Missouri realized this as he headed into his senior year and switched him inside where he proceeded to catch 30 balls for a single-season career high of 351 yards and a career-high 11.7 yards per catch.
Ekwerekwu catches a pass for Missouri
AP Photo/L.G. Patterson
A receiver who can get up in the air and battle for the ball, he demonstrated his leaping ability at his Pro Day by registering a 37-1/2 vertical jump -- a score which would have put him among the top wide receivers in that category had he been invited to participate in the NFL Combine. Ekwerekwu doesn't drop many balls because he's consistently watching the ball come into his hands and he's not easily distracted or discouraged in congested areas.
The Chiefs signed him as an undrafted free agent back on May 7, but released him on September 2.
"Brad's a great young man with outstanding hands and a great attitude. He ran into a numbers game in Kansas City with Jeff Webb and Arena Star Bobby Sippio edging him out during camp. Still, he is a great route-runner, has decent speed and in the Chiefs' training camp caught everything in sight -- very few drops. Kansas City let him go because they wanted to bring in secondary help in regards to their practice squad." -- Nick Athan, Scout.com Chiefs team expert
While Anthony Gonzalez is the team's slot receiver of the future, the Colts could use some depth at the position so they don't have to force Dallas Clark to be their full-time slot receiver should Gonzalez get hurt. And if they find that they aren't able to re-sign Clark -- who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season -- depth at the slot position becomes even more critical for Indianapolis.If he makes it to the roster, Ekwerekwu would certainly be an anomaly compared to the rest of the team's receivers. AT 6 foot 3, he's more than 20 pounds heavier than the 6-foot-tall Gonzalez. Think Aaron Moorehead's height, but pack an additional 15 pounds on his frame and you've got an idea of Ekwerekwu's physical presence. He's not bulked up enough to be a tight end, but he's much bigger than the typical Colts receiver who weighs in at 185 to 195.
Ekwerekwu has raw skills and technique that make him a viable candidate for success at the pro level, but he needs the right coaching to help him figure out how to best use his talents during game time to make a bigger impact.