Draft Prospects

Photo of Jack Ikegwuonu
Jack Ikegwuonu (CB)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 194
College: Wisconsin
Conference: Big Ten
Hometown: Madison, WI
High School: Memorial
Featured Prospects

Selected by: Philadelphia Eagles
Round: 4
Pick (Overall): 32 (131)
Pick Analysis: Ikegwuonu is a solid player, but his draft status took a serious hit after he tore his ACL in January. This is the point of the draft where you may take a player who will not play in the 2007 season, and Ikegwuonu fits the bill in that respect. He is good value at this point in the draft and showed his skills by shutting down receivers such as James Hardy in the Big Ten.

Overview

Overview

The long road to the National Football League continues to get longer for Ikegwuonu. More than a year after Jack and his twin brother, William, were arrested on residential burglary and criminal trespass charges, the two are still battling through the legal system to attain a resolution to their cases. The Badger cornerback had a subpar 2007 campaign on the football field that was the result of inconsistent play, legal distractions and injuries.


He later surprised the Wisconsin football staff by making the decision to leave school and apply for the NFL Draft. Once touted as the best cornerback in the college ranks, he saw his potential first-round projection continue to slide throughout his final year in Madison.


Now, further clouding his professional future is a serious right knee injury he suffered working out while preparing for the NFL Combine. Ikegwuonu tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee during workouts in late January. Doctors indicate he will be forced to miss the entire 2008 season.


According to reports, Ikegwuonu also suffered damage to his kneecap. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Ikegwuonu was pulling a sled in a drill designed to improve his speed when the injury occurred. He exploded out of a start and planted his leg when the knee gave way.


Ikegwuonu needed a strong performance at the NFL Combine, as well as in individual workouts, to ensure he would be selected in the first three rounds of the draft. "I blame the agent for telling him to come out, when we told him to stay in," one NFL scout said.


A local product, Ikegwuonu was a first-team All-State selection by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Associated Press as a split end at Memorial High School. He added All-State honors as a defensive back by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association. He was also an All-Midwest Region selection by Prep Star, adding All-Area accolades and Big Eight Conference Wide Receiver and Defensive Back of the Year honors in 2003.


As a senior, Ikegwuonu caught 38 passes for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns, while making 40 solo tackles and intercepting nine passes on defense. An All-Conference return specialist as a junior, he was a two-time team MVP. He also lettered in basketball and baseball and was an All-area and All-Conference centerfielder. He was also a member of the school's academic honor roll as a junior.


Ikegwuonu enrolled at Wisconsin in 2004, spending the season red-shirting as his brother enrolled at Northern Illinois. The following season, he shared left cornerback duties with Allen Langford, starting four of 13 contests. He earned Freshman All-American honorable mention, as he produced 26 tackles (23 solos) with two stops for losses and three pass deflections. He also returned one of three interceptions for a touchdown.


As a sophomore, Ikegwuonu was an All-American honorable mention and All-Big Ten Conference first-team choice. He switched to right cornerback, starting every game while also changing to jersey #6 from #27. He was suspended in December after his arrest, but quickly reinstated before the Citrus Bowl. He registered 41 tackles (35 solos) with 3.5 stops for losses, as he caused a fumble and recovered another for a touchdown. He broke up 11 passes and picked off two others.


Despite an inconsistent 2007 season, Ikegwuonu earned first-team All-Big Ten Conference status. He started 13 games at right cornerback, but missed most of The Citadel clash with an upper thigh bruise and most of the Michigan State contests with flu-like symptoms and a migraine headache. He finished his final season with just 24 tackles (19 solos), an interception and 15 pass break-ups.


In 39 games at Wisconsin, Ikegwuonu started 30 times -- 26 at right cornerback, three at left cornerback and one at nickel back. He finished with 91 tackles (77 solos), 5.5 stops for losses of 20 yards and a forced fumble. He returned a fumble recovery 50 yards for a score and gained 89 yards with a touchdown on six interception returns. He also deflected 29 passes.


High School

Attended Memorial (Madison, Wisc.) High School, playing football for head coach Gary Koplin...First-team All-State selection by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Associated Press as a split end...Added All-State honors as a defensive back by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association...All-Midwest Region selection by Prep Star, adding All-Area accolades and Big Eight Conference Wide Receiver and Defensive Back of the Year honors in 2003...As a senior, Ikegwuonu caught 38 passes for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns, while making 40 solo tackles and intercepting nine passes on defense...An All-Conference return specialist as a junior, he was a two-time team MVP...Lettered in basketball and baseball and was an All-Area and All-Conference centerfielder...Member of the school's academic honor roll as a junior.


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Analysis

Analysis

Positives: Has good upper body thickness with developed chest and arm muscles, good thickness in his thighs and some knot in his calves...Generates decent production in run support, knowing his to get into position to wrap and secure with good pop on contact...Has adequate quickness, but shows good instincts to take proper angles closing on the ball in run support...Has a strong, effective hand jolt to impede the receiver's route progression or reroute at the line of scrimmage...Can pedal with good feet underneath the framework of his body with good control, but just lacks a sudden burst coming out of his breaks...Has the power behind his hits to impact the ballcarrier on the perimeter or cause the ball to dislodge from the receiver...Gets a good jump on the ball after reading the quarterback correctly, but is prone to gambling and reckless play that can get him caught out of position...Shows a good burst to close on the plays in front of him when turned in the right direction, but just does not seem to have a second gear...Keeps his hands active in attempts to shed blocks and has good avoidance skills to slip under bigger lineman to clog the rush lanes...Good running with the receivers off the line, but is inconsistent when backed off...Keeps his pads down and arms properly extended, driving hard with his legs to impact behind his tackles...Has good range off the hash and generally good eyes to see routes develop, but must be more consistent with his zone switch-offs...Has the size and elevation, along with good timing to get up and over the receiver to deflect the ball at its high point, but does not appear to have natural hands making the interception...Will catch and extend for the ball away from his frame, but will also revert to trapping it, leading to more break-ups than pass thefts...Quick to close and come down and fit near the X's vs. the run, showing good toughness as a hitter...When he doesn't get reckless in his play, he is capable of coming to balance and collide with the ballcarrier to prevent forward progress.


Negatives: Recent knee injury might sideline him throughout the 2008 season...Has had some serious off-field issues that lead to concerns over his character...Lacks the sudden burst or acceleration to mirror receivers on deep routes (his timed speed does not translate to the football field, as he does not carry his pads well)...Lacks explosion out of his breaks and struggles to recover when the receiver gets behind him in man coverage...Might be a better fit at safety, as he plays the ball much better than he does the man...Has to play the receivers tighter, as he struggles in space, especially when he gives up a big cushion that his opponents have had good success in gobbling up...Not the most instinctive player on the field, as he constantly gets fooled by double moves and pump fakes...Does not have the extra gear to recover when beaten...Gets very reckless in his play, preferring to go after the ball rather than stay on his coverage assignment...Has decent change of direction agility, but his hips are stiff when having to quickly redirect, causing problems taking on the receiver in off coverage...Gets too overconfident in his ability to make the play, forgetting about his zone responsibilities (too inconsistent when asked to handle switch-offs)...Can get depth in his pass drops, but is not really smooth or fluid in his backpedal (choppy steps)...Has problems breaking off on stop routes, as he will double step or be too inconsistent with his plant-and-drive...Good tackler, but will get reckless and attack low and also likes to throw the shoulder too much...Struggles to recover when turned in man coverage.


Compares To: AL HARRIS-Green Bay...Like Harris, Ikegwuonu is a physical tackler, especially in run support. He might be a better fit at safety, as he plays the ball better than he does in man coverage. However, his off-field life is causing havoc with his draft stock. He still has arrest charges hanging over his head and is recovering from a serious knee injury that doctors say will sideline him the entire 2008 season. Based on his subpar 2007 season, he might be waiting around a long time to hear his name called on draft day, but at that stage, he's worth gambling with a late pick and let him prepare for the 2009 season, sort of like giving him red-shirt status.


Injury Report

2007: Missed most of The Citadel game (9/15) after suffering an upper thigh contusion on the first series of the game...Sat out most of the Michigan State clash (9/29) with flu-like symptoms and a migraine headache.


2008: On Jan. 24 Ikegwuonu suffered right knee torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, in addition to damaging his kneecap. Doctors state he will likely miss the 2008 season while recovering from surgery. Ikegwuonu was working out at Perfect Competition, a training facility in Davie, Fla., in preparation for the NFL Draft. Ikegwuonu suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, an NFL scout said. According to reports, Ikegwuonu's medial collateral ligament also was torn and there was damage to his kneecap. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Ikegwuonu was pulling a sled in a drill designed to improve his speed when the injury occurred. He exploded out of a start and planted his leg when the knee gave way.


Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.

Q & A

Growing up, who was your favorite NFL player and why?
Champ Bailey; best CB in the game.
In college, what player hit you the hardest? Who was the recipient of your best hit?
Jake Long; Mario Manningham
What TV-show marathon will keep you on the couch all day?
Lost
What are the five most-played songs in your iPod? What's the one song you hope nobody ever finds out is in your iPod?
1. Freeway: Flipside, 2. Young Gunz: No Better Love, 3. Young Gunz: Can't Stop/Won't Stop, 4. T.I.: Good, Hope nobody ever finds -- Kiesha Cole: Last Night
What celebrity would play you in the movie version of your life and why?
Denzel Washington, because he's the greatest.
What is one thing your teammates don't know about you?
I took dance lessons growing up
What reality TV show would you like to be on and why?
Real World; I love meeting new people.
What's your proudest moment in football? Proudest moment off the field?
2007 Capital One Bowl win
When you play Madden, what team do you use? Do you put yourself on the team?
I don't play Madden
Who has been the biggest influence on your football career and how?
Parents: Instilling discipline
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