The DC Times

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

By Jonathan Bales

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah: The Best Value Thus Far

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

After trading back slightly in the fourth round (and picking up an early sixth-rounder from Miami), the Dallas Cowboys have drafted Indiana of Pennsylvania cornerback Akwasi Owusu-Ansah.  We have been touting AOA for awhile and really love his game.  I personally have seen him play live multiple times and thus know quite a bit about him.

It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys envision AOA as a cornerback or a candidate to move to free safety.  He has the requisite size to move into the back of the secondary (6’0”, 207 pounds) and good speed to boot (4.47 Combine forty).

Below is our original scouting report on Owusu-Ansah and the Cowboys’ current cornerbacks.  As you can see, we thought Owusu-Ansah was a second round talent, meaning his selection in the middle of the fourth round once again represents incredible value.

Original Owusu-Ansah Article

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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22 Responses to Akwasi Owusu-Ansah: The Best Value Thus Far

  1. Omar says:

    I wanted them to trade up and grab Campbell, a nice high upside player with good technique. Did you see the Sports Science thing where he stopped that big bag that was charging him with 3000 LBs of force? Incredible.

  2. Yeah I did. Early in the fourth there were four players I thought were possibilities: Campbell, Norwood, Sapp, and AOA. Could be the reason Dallas moved back.

  3. john coleman says:

    Born on Sunday has to be a good thing. I think we were fortunate that he was there. If Lee was a steal, we have three now. What’s up with Jamar Wall? I’m not high on Young but he has a chance. He seems to have decent measurables. He can probably upgrade McQuistan. I believe Wall is a whiff. BTW, Ansah has stopped the bleeding for me.

  4. I haven’t watched a ton of film on Wall to be honest but from what I hear he can play FS as well as CB. I’m sure the Cowboys see him as a CB though with AOA on the team now. I also don’t like the Young pick too much…probably only a right tackle and not much versatility to play anywhere else.

  5. Omar says:

    Tony Washington didn’t get drafted, lets hope he’s an UFA signing.

  6. Omar says:

    Overall though, if Washington signs I’d give the Cowboys draft a B- or so. I don’t get the Sean Lee reach, and I REALLY wanted Campbell, but they got some good values and was able to take Dez Bryant while only giving up a third round pick (and getting a 4th to boot). Basically there were a list of 15 or so players that I really wanted:

    Odrick, Davis, Pouncey, Iupati, Thomas, Spikes, Nate Allen, Campbell, Washington, Ducasse, one of the Jones safeties, Charles Brown (if he fell to the second), and a couple of others. Bryant I was skeptical of, but upon further research (game film, advanced stats, etc) I was pretty excited to have him especially for where they got him. Crayton and WIlliams looked awful last year, and if he’s as good as people say he is…the team should be just fine next year. I was saddened when they didn’t get practically any of them…but it seems that minus the flabbergasting Lee trade up, they did a solid job the past few days.

  7. David Mark says:

    I am optimistic about this draft. But time will tell how much real “value” these guys bring to the Cowboys. Dez needs to prove he has the maturity for this league. Lee and AOA need to prove they’re not injury prone. The others need to prove they belong in the NFL.

    As for draft boards: it was very entertaining watching 32 teams make a mockery of Mel Kiper’s draft board. But does anyone look back after 3+ years and grade sports gurus’ draft boards? Right now Kiper looks clueless, but if his top rated guys go on to make Pro Bowls, then Kiper will get the last laugh…and a lot of NFL people will kick themselves for passing on–say a Colt McCoy, etc.

  8. Omar–I am absolutely shocked that Washington didn’t get drafted. I am going to put up some thoughts on the draft in the next hour or so, and I will address him more. There are quite a few talented players who went undrafted and who I think have a good shot (as good as an UFA can have) of making the team.

    David–It seemed this year the media “experts” were wayyyy off in their predictions–much more so than in other years. I am thinking specifically of the early 2nd round, where players that the media had with 4th and 5th round grades (Torrell Troup, TJ Ward, etc) went off the board.

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  10. David Mark says:

    Actually it’s understandable the media experts were wayyy off predicting what the various NFL brain trusts were going to do. If the NFL big wigs were really good at this drafting thing, Romo and Austin (and 1/2 the guys in Canton, for that matter) would’ve been drafted very early…and top picks like Bobby Carpenter would’ve gone much-much later than they did.

    My question is simply which media “expert” has the best track record over time of picking future NFL stars (i.e. maybe had the highest percentage of their Top 100 making the Pro Bowl)?

    I assume someone has done such a survey, but just don’t know. But I do think that’d be a better test of draft expertise than predicting who will get picked by which team and in what round. Has anyone ever graded the media experts’ draft boards like that? .

  11. I’m sure there have been studies done on that. I wish I had the time to do one myself actually. I have no statistical evidence of this, but Mayock does seem to have the most accurate rankings and is usually the first to uncover draft stock movement.

  12. David Mark says:

    Jonathan, wow…thanks! You’re my new hero!

  13. Haha thanks! I’m disappointed it took so long.

  14. Omar says:

    To John and David, there’s a difference between projecting draft stock and projecting NFL success. While I have little love for McShay’s Mock Draft’s I generally like his analysis on draft prospects…he has an eye for talent, and tends to understand the way that the Draft works (namely where to draft players, value, etc.). For example there were two players that I had a pretty good feeling that would go top 15 overall (JPP and CJ Spiller) that I feel will be pretty big busts. If they weren’t in my top 100 and ended up busts…does that mean I have a bad top 100 or does that just mean that the NFL GMs that drafted them were idiots. Take DHB last year, no one had him as a top ten talent, rightfully so, yet he was a top ten pick, unfortunately for Raider’s fans. When I look at the “experts” I don’t think it’s reasonable for them to predict draft stock so much as we should look at them to determine which players will be successful. If Jacksonville thinks that Tyson Anaulu is a top ten talent, there’s nothing the experts can do about it….but it’s foolish for them to place them there.

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