If the Green Bay Packers lose Micah Hyde, where do they turn?
One of the best options would be Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie.
Awuzie was a jack-of-all-trades defender during his four seasons at Colorado, playing cornerback, nickel, safety and even some outside linebacker.
Does that kind of versatility ring a bell? For the Packers, Hyde played cornerback, nickel, dime and safety.
Awuzie stuffed the stat sheet in a way unmatched by any cornerback prospect in this draft. Awuzie ranks fifth in school history with 35 pass deflections and first among defensive backs with nine sacks and 26 tackles for losses. As a senior, he had one interception, 13 pass breakups, four sacks and two forced fumbles to earn first-team all-Pac-12 honors.
Awuzie backed up his on-field production with a strong workout at the Scouting Combine. At 6-foot and 202 pounds, he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds. His 11-foot broad jump ranked third among all defensive backs.
Before that workout, he had a formal interview with the Packers.
“I want to show teams that I can play anywhere and I'm versatile,” Awuzie said during his media session. “I have experience playing corner, nickel, both safety positions. I feel like that speaks to my football knowledge. So, just getting into the interviews and stuff like that, that's where I want to show my knowledge of the game.”
Along with knowledge, Awuzie showed toughness by playing linebacker.
“I was actually like 190 when I played that,” he said. “But, you know, it's just my heart. I always want to succeed. I always want to win. Whether it's against a 6-6, 300-pound lineman or a 5-9, blazing-speed receiver, I'm always going to try to win that matchup. My junior year when I did play linebacker, I matched up a lot with tackles, guards, and I had to bow up and I think I did a pretty good job of that.”
So where would he line up in the NFL? Awuzie gave a Hyde-like answer.
“You know, teams really don't know where to put me at right now, and that's great for me because I don't want to be limited,” he said. “I'm just a ballplayer. You put me on the field anywhere I'm going to make plays. That's been great that I can kind of be a jack-of-all-trades for teams.”
Awuzie’s coverage ability and toughness, however, make him a natural fit in the slot, where the Packers would be down to Quinten Rollins as their No. 1 option should Hyde sign elsewhere. According to Pro Football Focus, Awuzie didn’t allow a touchdown and ranked third among Power-5 slot cornerbacks with one catch allowed for every 13.5 coverage snaps.
In a loaded class of defensive backs, Awuzie is considered a second-round prospect.
“I'm just a ballplayer,” he said. “I always have the mentality of 'See ball, get ball.' No matter where I'm lined up, whether it's sacking the quarterback, get the ball. I'm going to tackle him. If the ball's in the air, I'm going to tackle him on a play. And that's the way my mentality is.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.