Draft Talk: Analysts share thoughts on Eyioma Uwazurike


Iowa State defensive lineman Eyioma Uwazurike celebrates after getting a sack on TCU quarterback Max Duggan on Senior Day on Nov. 26, 2021.

Matt Belinson

Editor’s note: The 2022 NFL Draft is on its way (April 28), and it’s shaping up to be an unprecedented stage for Cyclone football.

The Iowa State Daily spoke with five NFL Draft analysts to get their opinions on the Cyclones’ biggest draft prospects and examine their respective strengths, weaknesses and pro potential.

The analysts are: Dane Brugler (The Athletic), Chris Trapasso (CBSSports), Anthony Treash (Pro Football Focus), Lance Zierlein (NFL.com) and Keith Sanchez (The Draft Network).

Eyioma Uwazurike took a big step forward on Iowa State’s defensive line in terms of production in 2021 and put himself on draft boards and in relatively good favor with draft analysts.

Uwazurike checked in at 6-feet, 6 inches and 316 pounds at the NFL Combine and ran a 5.32 40-yard dash at Pro Day.

Analysts like Uwazurike for his size, power and ability to be disruptive in multiple spots on the field.

So, what does his NFL potential look like in the mind of these evaluators?

For context, the highest selection for an Iowa State defensive lineman came in 1979 when the Tennessee Titans drafted Mike Stensrud in the second round, 31st overall.

What are Uwazurike’s strengths?

Uwazurike’s aforementioned size stands out first for draft analysts, along with his positional flexibility along the defensive line.

His 2021 season stands out, with Uwazurike finishing his final season as a Cyclone with nine sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

He had six combined sacks in his pervious three seasons.

“He was kind of an ascending guy,” Brugler said. “Things really seemed to blossom for him this year.”

On film, Uwazurike showed the ability to play the nose tackle position, along with being split out wide as a defensive end in certain fronts.

Brugler and others love Uwazurike’s bull rush, long arms and knack to disrupt.

Trapasso took it a step further when it comes to Uwazurike’s size and physical traits.

“I think Uwazurike is one of the most legitimately versatile linemen in the class,” Trapasso said. “In terms of athleticism, he’s longer than Jordan Davis.”

His pass-rush moves are solid for Trapasso and could bring good closing speed. In addition, he showed polished skills on film.

Similiar to Brugler, Treash said Uwazurike’s 2021 season put a lot of teams and scouts on notice. Uwazurike can play in multiple alignments and Treash said a team will be able to plug him into multiple fronts and he will be comfortable.

“I think there’s something to like there,” Treash said. “He’s got a massive frame. Very long arms. Very explosive dude.”

Here are other overall thoughts on Uwazurike’s strengths:

“He was in the backfield a lot.” -Brugler

“He has the potential to get up the field and be disruptive.” -Zierlien


Uwazurike gets dinged for a lack of explosiveness on film and consistency.

As mentioned earlier, Uwazurike’s history as a pass-rusher didn’t take off until this past season and had never had more than three sacks in a season prior to 2021.

And in this year’s draft, in most evaluations, edge rushers and defensive lineman appear to be one of the strongest in all of the draft. Uwazurike doesn’t rank in the upper half in the defensive lineman group for most.

“There’s a sense of, ‘it took this long to get to good production,'” Treash said.

Zierlien views Uwazurike as a middle-round talent with positive traits, but a lack of consistency is his knock on Uwazurike as a draft prospect.

“He’s a plus athlete, but needs to play with much better consistency at the point of attack,” Zierlien said.

Where will he be selected? Best fit?

In this year’s draft, many analysts view the middle rounds as a potential for solid pickups for teams to add to their rosters.

Where does Uwazurike fall in that mix?

For starters, every analyst has Uwazurike has a defensive end in a 3-4 at the NFL level. Uwazurike isn’t scheme specific, but evaluators see that position as his best mold for NFL teams.

Here’s where analysts put Uwazurike on draft weekend:

Brugler has Uwazurike as his 11th overall defensive lineman and going in the fifth round to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Trapasso: “In my opinion, day early three guy, fourth round. Baltimore likes oversized defensive lineman and bigger guys that assert physicality, so maybe them. The Bears could be another team.”

Treash: “He’s an intriguing option on Day Three.”

Zierlien: “He’s a middle round talent. I see him as a 3-4 DE due to his physical composition and ability to rush.”