Israel Mukuamu Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Quality ball skills
Skilled to slap passes away
Adept at defending 50-50 passes
Packs a punch to reroute
Tough run defender
Could have issues with NFL deep speed
Lacks some explosion
Not a twitchy athlete
Struggles to run the route
Will struggle to prevent separation against pro wideouts
Needs to improve eye discipline
Needs to improve mechanics
Summary: After the Seattle Seahawks won a Super Bowl with the Legion of Boom secondary leading their powerful defense, a lot of other teams across the league implemented a similar style defense. Tall cornerbacks who can play press-man coverage and have the ability to use their size and length to blanket receivers have been in demand ever since. Mukuamu is going to have some teams interested in him in the mid-rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft because he has those traits.
Back in 2019 when NFL eyes were evaluating Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm for the next level, Mukuamu made his own impression by putting together his best game of the year - including picking off Fromm three times to help lead the Gamecocks to a shocking upset of the Bulldogs. That game put Mukuamu on the map as a prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft. The sophomore totaled four interceptions, nine passes broken up and 59 tackles that season, improving the 17 tackles, one interception and one pass batted he recorded as a freshman. Mukuamu then recorded 10 tackles and two interceptions in his five-game 2020 season. The junior dealt with some injuries and ended his year early after Will Muschamp was fired as head coach.
Mukuamu has great size for the next level, clearly possessing height, length and physicality. He can play high to low with press-man ability on big receivers. Mukuamu is a good fit to face tall receivers and is an asset in the red zone to take away fade routes or jump balls. Mukuamu showed a nice ability to play the ball as well during his career at South Carolina.
"I love the length and physical traits to work with," said one director of college scouting. "[Mukuamu] needs some work in a lot of areas like eye discipline [and] mechanics ... - I doubt he can run."
Mukuamu has limitations in a lack of speed and twitch. His stiffness makes him a poor fit for off-man coverage and receivers can generate separation coming out of breaks. Mukuamu's issues with stiffness and transitioning are common problems for big corners, and he will need to improve his mechanics to help him keep receivers from getting separation when they go in and out of their breaks.
As a pro, Mukuamu could be limited to being a press-man corner primarily who could mix in some zone coverage as well. He is not a corner who should take on fast or shifty NFL receivers, and he should be limited to matching up against only big wideouts. Hence, Mukuamu is more of a mid-round pick for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Brandon Browner. Mukuamu reminds me of a thinner Browner. Browner (6-4, 220) was a successful press-man corner for a time with the Seahawks. Browner was able to stick in the NFL after a stretch in Canada, but he ultimately had limitations for the NFL. I could see Mukuamu being a similar caliber of player during his career.