This post is part of a continuing series in which we break down 13 2011 NFL Draft prospects - our Baker's Dozen - that should interest the Buffalo Bills. Keep up to date on our Baker's Dozen series here.
Prince Amukamara was not always a highly-touted football prospect. As Mike Jaixen from SB Nation's Nebraska Cornhuskers blog, Corn Nation, explains, he has evolved into one of the top NFL draft prospects in the country.
"He signed with Nebraska under the previous regime, and saw spot duty as a reserve," Jaixen tells us. "He was recruited as an 'athlete,' and really blossomed under Marvin Sanders into a shut-down corner. He probably could have declared early for the NFL as a junior, but I think he saw the value of staying an extra year, especially after watching Ndamukong Suh blossom under the tutelage of this staff."
Amukamara, who is of Nigerian decent, is active in the community according to his official Cornhuskers bio.
"Amukamara is a regular volunteer in the community and was named to the 2010 Brook Berringer Citizenship Team," says Jaixen. "His outreach work includes team hospital visits, a World War II Veteran's Visit and March Madness Ball Night for the Down Syndrome Association for Families."
On the field, he is just as active as he is off it. Jaixen explains what type of cornerback Prince is and what could help him take the next step in his game.
"At the college level, he's the definition of a shut-down corner," says Jaixen. "As a general rule, quarterbacks just stopped throwing his way for the most part. He's a physical corner, and that's something that might take some adjustment at the next level. As a senior, you really didn't worry about him getting burned for the most part, because he was so dependable."
Continuing with the theme of quarterbacks looking to the other side of the field, Jaixen explains why his senior numbers weren't that great as far as passes defended or interceptions.
"Amukamara didn't have the biggest numbers as a senior this past year because, frankly, quarterbacks didn't throw his way," writes Jaixen. "So it made it tough to evaluate whether he 'stepped up' [in big games] because he rarely got challenged. One time that people will remember is that flea-flicker by Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon. [Blackmon caught an 80-yard touchdown on the play which accounted for the vast majority of his yards against Amukamara.] I know why he did that; Kendall Hunter was killing the Huskers on the ground, so he bit on the fake and got discombobulated momentarily. But you know what, he went back, made the adjustments, and was solid the rest of the game."
As good as he was, it made some Huskers fans forget just how big an impact the cornerback had on their success.
"I think we probably took him for granted at times," laments Jaixen. "Last season, some fans brought a sign that parodied the Verizon ads that compare Verizon cell phone coverage to AT&T's. They added a third comparison: Amukamara and it showed the entire United States painted red."
As for his NFL prospects, they could be better at safety than corner, as Jaixen explains in his closing comments.
"Some of our local NFL experts wonder if he's going to be too physical for the NFL, especially as a rookie," says Jaixen. "He did get a few interference calls, but he really was a physical corner, and I wonder if that'll work against him in the league. I've even heard that some people might move him to safety to take advantage of that physical ability."
Thanks to Mike and the guys over at Corn Nation. Head on over there to see what they've had to say about their Prince.