NFL Draft Diamonds Scouting Report: Emeka Etta, LB, Wayne State
- Name: Emeka Etta
- Position: OLB/Nickel CB/SS
- School: Wayne State College
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 211 lbs.
- Class: Senior
Background: A native of Pinole, CA. In 2015 at Laney College (JUCO), he played in eight games where he recorded 24 tackles and five tackles for loss with two sacks. In 2016 after transferring to Wayne State College, he started three out of eight games and recorded 39 tackles with two tackles for loss. In 2017, he played in ten games where he recorded 37 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 0.5 sacks. He participated in the 2017 National Bowl, and in the 2018 Podyum Showcase.
Strengths: Etta is a versatile defender who was used as an OLB & box safety in a 4-3 defense, a nickel CB in nickel packages, and a gunner on special teams. He has good play speed & range to fight through traffic to stop runs off tackle. He has good instincts & mental processing to diagnose screen passes & short passes and to find a good fit in run support. He can rush the QB from multiple spots along the line of scrimmage. He uses the good athletic ability to cover the slot receiver & TE in zone coverage. He has the speed to get downfield on special teams to shut down the returner. He is a violent hitter when bringing down the ball carrier.
Weaknesses: Etta can be considered as undersized for a pro level LB. At the snap of the ball, he tends to fault step. When rushing the QB, he does not have many passes rushing moves in his arsenal, relying on his strength to overpower blockers. His abilities to cover the slot receiver & TE in man coverage is questionable. He plays with a high pad level, especially when tackling. He tends to dive at the ball carrier’s feet or goes high when trying to land a violent hit. He is not an expert at any one position on defense.
Summary: Etta is a defender that can be used in multiple positions because of his versatility & athletic ability. He has the speed & range to stop off-tackle runs, and the instincts to diagnose screens, short passes and runs before they gain yardage. He can rush the QB from multiple spots despite not having many moves to use to beat blockers. While his abilities in zone coverage are adequate, his abilities in man coverage are questionable. While he is a violent tackler, he does not always use good form. At the next level, he needs to show that he can play with a lower pad level, cover the slot receiver & TE in man coverage, and can use the better form when tackling instead of tackling high, or going for the big hit. I have Etta making a team as a playmaker on special teams while he develops as an OLB or a box safety in a 4-3 defensive scheme.
Draft Projection: Undrafted Free Agent