Once viewed as a high-upside offensive tackle prospect from Memphis, Obinna Eze has now transferred to TCU, where he’ll look to update his NFL Draft scouting report and fulfill his highly-regarded upside. Eze has a lot of positive traits, but there’s still plenty to work on. What is Eze’s outlook heading into 2020, and where does he need to improve?
Obinna Eze NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: TCU
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’8″
- Weight: 334 pounds
Obinna Eze Scouting Report
If recent history tracks through 2021, there are few schools Eze could have chosen to further his career that would’ve been better than TCU. The Horned Frogs have a surprisingly strong track record when it comes to producing offensive line prospects. Over the past decade, TCU has developed the likes of Marcus Cannon, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Joseph Noteboom, Matt Pryor, and current Chiefs’ starter Lucas Niang.
Looking back, the Horned Frogs seem to have a type at tackle. They often favor the long, athletic bookend blockers, and that’s exactly what Eze is. When it comes to physical traits, Eze has a strong profile with plenty of upside. What does that physical profile entail, and — more importantly — how does he build off of it?
Obinna Eze’s athletic profile
It doesn’t take long to see that Eze has great potential. The TCU OT stands at around 6’8″, 334 pounds, with an impressive build. He has an extremely long, high-hipped frame with tremendous reach and a strong, densely-built base. His upper body is a bit leaner than his lower body, but Eze’s length affords him a great deal of natural leverage.
Some tackles with Eze’s size don’t have the requisite mobility to succeed, but Eze doesn’t fall into that trap. The TCU OT has great quickness off the snap and the mobility to be a pulling blocker on running plays. He’s also flashed smooth lateral mobility and freedom heading into the second level. Furthermore, Eze has good corrective athleticism. He can engage inside, then shift to outside rushers as plays develop.
Eze’s size and athleticism combine to form an exciting mixture. As a pass protector, Eze turns his hips and directs defenders outside the pocket with his length. On running plays, his length — combined with steady leg drive when anchored and good lean as a blocker — amounts to tantalizing people-moving potential.
Execution beyond the physical traits
When a player has more upside than refinement, the general terminology refers to that player as raw. For Eze, however, that term is a bit too harsh. As we’ll get into, he still has room for development, but he also has some exciting operational traits already in his arsenal.
Most notably, Eze’s hands impressed greatly in the tape that was watched. The TCU OT has shown he can combat counters with quick, efficient hands. He has awe-inspiring moments of focus and hand coordination when negating rushes, and he clearly has the capacity to use fast, forceful hands. Additionally, his length provides a great conduit with which he can generate artificial power.
Going further, Eze can stack hand motions and target weak points of defensive linemen. He keeps his elbows in as a pass protector to maximize potential energy and extension force. Given his natural leverage, properly executed extensions by Eze carry a ton of power. He also has the ability to attack, disengage, and stack blocks quickly in the open field.
Among other things, Eze plays with solid knee bend, and he lowers his pad level well for his size. He also possesses the awareness to recognize extra rushers sneaking in.
Areas for improvement
The potential is immense with Eze, but he could improve in several areas. Most notably, his positioning, efficiency of motion, and consistency.
For Eze, efficiency of motion might be the most pressing issue. While he’s a good athlete, he has some tightness in his hips at times, and he can also be stiff when changing directions. His footwork can be choppy when matching around the edge, and his weight transfers can be more smooth.
Going further, Eze’s positioning can improve as well. The TCU OT sometimes gets off-balance when working to seal off lateral lanes, and he sometimes extends before he has proper positioning. This causes him to lurch and make himself vulnerable. Eze can improve his footwork as a run blocker, and in general, he can gain better synergy between his upper and lower body.
Even Eze’s hands, while strong, can be inconsistent and uncoordinated. The TCU OT sometimes wraps his arms around defenders, and he doesn’t always get his hands under his opponent’s pads. He lets edge rushers’ hands get inside his torso too easily. His hands can strike more cleanly, as he’s streaky when trying to establish his anchor. His grip strength isn’t overwhelming, either. At this point, he doesn’t always properly channel his length and power, and that’ll be a problem at the next level.
Obinna Eze’s NFL Draft scouting report overview
Few offensive tackles have more riding on the 2021 season than Eze. With a strong year of development, Eze could become an early-round pick. For now, however, he’s likely an early-to-mid Day 3 prospect with upside. Eze is a great athlete with a long, imposing frame, but he needs to further refine his game and add more upper-body strength if possible.
There are great glimpses of hand usage in Eze’s film. The TCU OT no doubt knows how to defend against several kinds of rushes. He also has the strong base and lateral mobility to match rushers if needed. Over-arching consistency should be the goal for Eze in his lone season with the Horned Frogs. If he can effectively channel his lower and upper-body traits and take the next step, he could earn a starting opportunity early in the NFL.
Obinna Eze’s Player Profile
A native of Nigeria, Eze originally came to the United States with aspirations of becoming a basketball player. He arrived in Tennessee in 2015 but quickly developed an appreciation for football. He started playing football in 2016, and from there, his career took off. His athletic gifts were clear amongst his counterparts, and he dominated his competition.
By 2017, Eze was a highly-rated four-star recruit on ESPN’s board. Ranked as the 251st player in the class and the 27th-best tackle, Eze attracted offers from LSU, Florida, Auburn, and Ole Miss. Yet, Eze passed up the chance to play in the SEC and chose to stay in-state, signing with Mike Norvell and the Memphis Tigers.
Eze’s career at Memphis
The Tigers knew they’d gotten a steal. Arriving at campus, Eze had a looming 6’7″, 279-pound frame. Even at that size, he had a stellar 5.22 40-yard dash and a 28.8-inch vertical. Eze’s upside was palpable, but he was still fairly new to the game. Thus, he redshirted his 2017 season and only played in six games in 2018, logging action at left tackle.
In 2019, Eze received his first full-time starting role at the collegiate level. By now, he was ready. Eze locked down the left side of the line for two full seasons, starting 14 games in 2019 and 11 in 2020. After the 2020 season, Eze chose to enter the transfer portal. Though thankful for his time in Memphis, he sought to further his development, and he zeroed in on TCU as the right place to accomplish that.
Obinna Eze’s impending NFL Draft ascension at TCU
Historically, TCU has done well with athletic, tools-rich tackles. The expectation is that Eze will find similar success. Eze is already on the Senior Bowl watch list, and his progression over the course of 2019 and 2020 suggests that he’s still trending up.
Eze’s in an excellent spot with the Horned Frogs. He has a stable coaching staff, an experienced starting quarterback, and a lot of pass-protection reps coming his way. If he can continue to refine his efficiency of motion, positioning, and hands, he has the potential to be a Day 2 pick with starting upside, much like Niang before him.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Obinna Eze
Positives: Large college left tackle who projects to the right side. Works to bend his knees, quickly sets up in pass protection, and stays square. Explosive at the point, gets his hands into defenders, and controls opponents. Patient in pass protection, stays with the action, and makes outstanding use of body positioning to seal defenders off the edge. Shows great power in his game and gets movement run blocking.
Negatives: Lacks quick and fluid footwork off the edge. Ineffective blocking in motion. Lacks lateral range.
Analysis: Eze was a solid lineman for Memphis and then TCU. He offers possibilities as a power-gap blocker at right tackle or even guard.