As one may be able to surmise from the title, the Steelers32 writing team will be enlightening readers with 20 NFL prospects in the next 20 days before the NFL Draft.
The Steelers offense is a juggernaut of Olympic magnitude, when all pieces are available to play. However, the offense is still looking for that one piece that can get them consistent production in the red zone. Should the black and gold pass on one of the big names earlier on in the draft, they may look towards the dynamic Amba Etta-Tawo (pronounced ET-ta-TAH-wo).
The Steelers32 writing team is still covering prospects that are talked about as later-round athletes; yet Etta-Tawo is shooting up draft boards. The red-shirt senior had himself a great enough one year at Syracuse for many scouts to looks his way.
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What could be most intriguing about Etta-Tawo is the fact he would not have to come in and be the difference maker in an offense that already has top-tier talent.
Standing in at the NFL scouting combine a lengthy six-foot-one-inch tall and weighing in at nearly 210 pounds, Etta-Tawo has the size to become a NFL receiver. However, the receiver only put 225 pounds up 14 times during the bench-press contest.
Etta-Tawo did flash his blazing speed both at the combine and his Syracuse pro-day last month. The Maryland transfer flashed a 40-yard dash of 4.49 at the combine; besting that by nearly a tenth of a second at his pro-day.
After transferring from Maryland to Syracuse his senior year, Etta-Tawo had seven 100-yard games with a multitude of different quarterbacks. Should the young man from Oman by way of Georgia strengthen his upper body, many teams will look his way later this month.
What does the film say?
The young track star’s 40-yard dash time was not a joke as his speed is his greatest asset. While watching his highlights, one can immediately notice his great ability to track a ball and create space with his speed. Etta-Tawo also uses his 31-inch vertical to catch the ball at its highest point.
The greatest negative on the young speedster is his drops (nine, per NFL.com) due to taking his eyes off the ball or trying to do too much before catching the ball. Syracuse usually worked around his negatives by throwing Etta-Tawo quick screens and 50-50 deep balls. His drop early in the game against Louisville may have changed that outcome drastically.
Etta-Tawo will also have to work on getting off the line of scrimmage during press coverage; a must when making the leap to the NFL. His upper body strength can always be addressed by his coaching staff since he will not be able to blaze past everyone in the professional ranks.
Etta-Tawo did not exactly have the Senior Bowl week most wanted to see out of him. Drops during the game and practice plagued Etta-Tawo’s stock until he redeemed himself during the combine and his pro-day.
As of right now, cbssports.com has Etta-Tawo as a sixth-round projection; should his stock continue to rise, teams may reach earlier for his blazing speed. This writer rarely gets blown away by speed and size. However, if Etta-Tawo can put up the numbers he did with random quarterbacks at Syracuse, think what he could do with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm.
The sixth-round projection rings true when watching the film and putting together all the track-star’s negatives. Etta-Tawo could definitely benefit from playing in a system like the Steelers to expand his route tree and become the red zone target they desperately need.
The rumors about the Steelers and wide receivers is they want one early on in the first four rounds. How much of that is a smoke-screen is yet to be witnessed; however if they wait, they could find a potential project in Etta-Tawo.
Could Etta-Tawo find his way on a 53-man roster by the beginning of the 2017 season? Absolutely; he would just have to find the perfect fit and clean up many negatives.
Justin Ekstrom covers the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers for cover32, be sure to follow along on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to check back daily to see the remaining 15 prospects as we work our way closer to the 2017 NFL Draft.