Oregon safety Ugochukwu Amadi or “Ugo” is quietly rising up draft boards and it’s not because of his cool name.
The former Duck had a decorated career at Oregon, playing in all 51 games from 2015-18. As a senior, Ugo was a Jim Thorpe finalist and won the Lombardi Award which is given to the best player in college football regardless of position.
During his four year career, he racked up 165 total tackles, 8 INTs with two of those being returned for a touchdown, and also got 3 sacks. Ugo did some damage on special teams, returning 14 punts for the Ducks.
Ugo is undersized at 5’10”, but has made a ton of plays throughout his collegiate career. Oregon moved him all around and lined him up at safety and at nickel cornerback. This versatility will definitely intrigue some NFL teams.
It is unfortunate for Ugo that this year’s safety class is deep with talent. Despite all of the accolades and production, Ugo is still being undervalued. Whatever team snatches him up in Day 2 or 3 of the NFL Draft will get a key piece for their defense.
No matter where you put him, Ugo made some game changing plays for the Ducks. He is very much an instinctual player, but Ugo turned some heads at the combine after running a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash. All of his other drills were about average for a safety/nickel cornerback. Ugo is a smart player that was trusted to change coverages from time to time before the start of the play.
Oregon also used him for special teams to fill many different roles. He has earned PAC 12 special teams Player of the Week for returning kicks and making key tackles on kickoffs and punts. Ugo’s versatile skillset allows him to do a lot of different things well and if a team is willing to invest in him, they’ll get a good return.
Hard Hitter And Great in Coverage
Ugo made some nasty hits like this one against Michigan State throughout his career. One thing that stood out in film was his ability to read the quarterback and break on a route and make a play. Ugo forced a ton of incompletions on film and baited the opposing quarterback into throwing an interception on multiple occasions. He had some trouble defending taller players on jump ball situations, but he definitely has the ability to cover most receivers and even some running backs coming out of the backfield.
Ugo is a smart player that can do a lot of different things for a team.
Player Comparison: A Smaller Minkah Fitzpatrick
I think of Miami Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick because of his ability to play both the safety position and slot cornerback. Fitzpatrick is also a smart player that is able to dissect a play as it’s happening and make a play in coverage. Both are hard hitters and are great cover guys. I’m intrigued with how NFL teams will use Ugo and where they decide to put him.
Team Fit: Pittsburgh Steelers (4th-5th Round)
Pittsburgh makes a ton of sense for Ugo. Sean Davis has been underwhelming since entering the league and Ugo could easily take his starting spot. The Steelers have decent nickel corners with Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson, but by no means are they set in stone. The Steelers could possibly use Ugo for safety, nickel cornerback, and in special teams and don’t have to give up a significant draft pick to get him.