The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Potential Draft Picks: Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, CB, Indiana of PA

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Owusu-Ansah reminds us of Dominique Rodgers-Cromatie. Both were small-school prospects with a big game.

We recently detailed the 2009 success of the Cowboys’ cornerbacks in our Grading the ‘Boys segment. Leading the pack was Mike Jenkins, who really took tremendous strides last season. The second-year player led the team in interceptions, pass deflections, completion percentage against, and yards-per-attempt against.

Surprising to some was how highly we graded Terence Newman (B+). Newman has been underrated for years, though, and last season he was finally healthy enough to perform well over the course of an entire 16-game schedule. Newman was thrown at on just 9.49 percent of plays, making him the least targeted cornerback on the team.

The success of Jenkins and Newman was not matched by nickel CB Orlando Scandrick. Scandrick, who began the season as a rotational starter, regressed in his second season in Dallas. He was actually one of the most targeted players in the league and yielded a pedestrian 62.9 percent of passes his way to be completed.

The difference between Jenkins and Scandrick doesn’t appear to be in their skill sets as much as it is in their minds. Jenkins gained confidence at a seemingly exponential rate as the 2009 season progressed. Scandrick, who was often in position to make a play, often displayed a bit of hesitation which ended up costing him by year’s end.

We believe Scandrick has the adequate physical tools and mindset to rebound nicely in 2010. Still, a team can never have enough talented cornerbacks. Thus, the Cowboys may be looking to bolster the position during the draft, perhaps even in the early rounds.

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah is a small-school cornerback out of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is a personal favorite of ours not only because of his coverage, but also due to his electrifying return ability. The latter of these skills is the primary reason we view him as a target for Dallas (we rated a dominant return man as the team’s #1 draft need).

Scouting Report

Owusu-Ansah is eerily similar to Cardinals’ CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. At 6’0”, 207 pounds, Owusu-Ansah has the requisite size to be solid in run support. He does not have the blazing speed of DRC (AOA ran a 4.47 at the Combine), but he may actually be a more versatile player.

Owusu-Ansah was highly productive in college, albeit against DII talent. The major knock on him coming out is that he has not faced elite competition. How will he react when he gets beat? That basically never happened at IUP, so his ability to respond to adversity is a question mark at this point.

For Dallas, Owusu-Ansah would be an upgrade at both punt and kickoff returner. He displays great vision and has the strength to break tackles. His biggest weakness on returns is his propensity to use his superior athleticism to dance around before getting up-field. That will obviously not work in the NFL.

A possible concerning issue for Dallas is the fact that Owusu-Ansah is probably better suited to play outside than in the slot. If the team is interested in bringing someone in to compete with Scandrick, they may want to look elsewhere. However, this concern could easily be alleviated by playing Newman in the slot and Owusu-Ansah outside in nickel situations (assuming AOA beats out Scandrick).

Projection

AOA is steadily climbing draft boards just as Rodgers-Cromartie did two seasons ago. While he won’t be a first round selection, AOA figures to go somewhere in round two. In our opinion, he represents great value if he falls to Dallas at pick #59. We would rate the odds of this happening at about 50/50.

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11 Responses to Potential Draft Picks: Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, CB, Indiana of PA

  1. john coleman says:

    Parts of the discussion puzzle me. The #1 draft need ? A return man. No way! LT is the biggest need. You proved this in your grading the linemen segment. Also, did fair catches figure in return numbers? However, I do agree on Ansah. I also advocate getting a player, as you do, with return skills. CB,RB, or WR who can return. CB is probably lacking depth more than the other positions. Let me mention a guy though, who is not a corner. LaMarcus Coker, is a homerun hitter, who is a good RB. Yeah, I know he smoked a little pot. Remember Randy Moss, who also was questionable. Coker is listed 5-10 205 4.39. BTW is have Ansah at 4.32. I also like Jefferson from Fresno at CB. Cook is another I like. I would use him at Safety long term.

  2. jongb35 says:

    I also like Cook a lot as well. AOA is quickly becoming one of my favorite players. If they pass on him in 2, I pray he somehow drops to their pick in the 3rd.

    As far as draft needs, LT is a more prominent long-term need, but in terms of next season, I don’t think anything could help this team more than a great returner. We both know Dallas is VERY close to having a championship team, and a returner would have a bigger 2010 impact than any other spot, IMO.

    Long-term though, yes, I think you are right that LT is a bigger need. I should have mentioned in the article that the list was more of what could help Dallas win NOW.

  3. Omar says:

    DRC, is a pretty overrated player…he’s a DeAngelo Hall clone. Good ball skills, poor coverage, shit in run support. Do. Not. Want. ANYONE loosely related to him.

  4. jongb35 says:

    DRC is 185 lbs, Hall 195. AOA is solid in run support at 207. He doesn’t have their speed, but he is a dominant return man.

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