Ugo Amadi, a possible steal in the 2019 NFL Draft originally appeared on nbcsportsnorthwest.com
The NFL Combine is near. Oregon star Ugo Amadi has been named one of the most underrated players in this draft class, yet, he's also been projected to go undrafted.
Amadi is one of four Oregon Ducks (Jalen Jelks, Justin Hollins, Dillon Mitchell) that join 300 of the best college football players in the NFL Scouting Combine held in Indianapolis, Indiana inside Lucas Oil Stadium from February 26 to March 4, 2019.
Amadi's NFL future and draft stock will climb or descend during the week long event that gives NFL scouts, general managers and head coaches the opportunity to evaluate and interview prospects.
His chance to open eyes at the combine begins on March 1. Here is a peek into what the week looks like for the defensive back and what the NFL's top executives are saying about him.
Ugo Amadi: Final group (group 10 and 11)
March 1-3: Hospital pre-exam, x-rays, interviews, measurements, medical examinations, psychological testing, media, bench press
March 4: On-field workout (timing, stations and skill drills)
Where he must shine: The most important drills for Amadi to excel in are his speed and agility drills. Showing off his outstanding speed and explosion will be crucial because of his less than ideal NFL size. The 5-foot-10, 197-pound safety's quickness is a huge strength to prove he can stay stride for stride on vertical routes.
Amadi's versatility will benefit him. At Oregon he was the Duck to do it all; playing cornerback, safety and returning punts. His success is tangible; As a senior he became the first FBS player since 2015 and first Pac-12 player since 2007 with two pick-6s and a punt return for a touchdown in the same season.
Amadi's ability to affect the game and make plays on the ball has impressed… Draft profiles list him as a "ball hawk." He's not afraid of undercutting breaking routes to make big plays and showed he's a threat to take it the distance. Over his final two seasons, Amadi amassed six interceptions, highlighted by three pick-6s, and forced four fumbles.
His official NFL Draft profile says Amadi "has excellent footwork, understanding of leverage, and technique in man and zone coverage alike. Can burst to the catch point in an instant and knows how to bait quarterbacks into throws within his range."
Beyond the on-field drills, interview sessions will be extremely important for the Duck as Amadi's character could set him apart. Amadi received the Lombardi Award for the 2018 college football season; it honors the athlete who most embodies the criteria of "performance and leadership honed by character and resiliency."
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal called him the "quarterback of the defense." A five-time game captain, who shared Oregon's 2018 team MVP award with quarterback Justin Herbert, Amadi also was an active participant in community outreach projects. He led Oregon's secondary on the field (career highs in tackles, tackles for loss, and defensive touchdowns) and helped develop a position group that featured three sophomores at the other starting spots.
The Nashville native played in all 51 games over his four years at Oregon from 2015-18.
Right now, Amadi's highest projection is the 6th round, while others predict he will go undrafted. The combine could shift the narrative surrounding Amadi's draft pick. Whether it is his 40-yard dash time or interview session, Amadi has an opportunity to impress NFL executives... He could be the steal of the class.