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NFL Draft 2015: Wyoming OLB Mark Nzeocha selected by the Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Wyoming outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
With the 236th pick in the 2015 NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Wyoming Cowboy outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha. He was selected in the 7th round by the Cowboys.

Nzeocha is 6'2", 232-pounds out of Neusitz, Germany.  He went to high school at FOS Ansbach, but played club football for the Franken Knights youth team because his high school had no football team.  Was a member of the German National Team who played in the 2009 Junior World Championships.  His younger brother, Eric, also plays for Wyoming (expected to be one of the starting linebackers this upcoming season).

While at Wyoming, Nzeocha recorded 32 tackles as a sophomore before exploding on the scene with 101 tackles (10 for loss) as a junior. As a senior, he posted 59 tackles with two sacks, five passes defensed and two forced fumbles in just seven games before suffering a season-ending injury.

He was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week against Montana where he finished with a team-high 12 tackles (8 solo), three pass break-ups and a sack in Wyoming's season-opening 17-12 victory.  He was named to the Academic All-Conference team (Mountain West)  in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

He was expected to be a late round pick or a UDFA entering the draft.  So it is no surprise that he was taken where he was by the Cowboys.  He should provide the Cowboys an athletic linebacker for immediate depth and a key special teams performer right away.  Due to Nzeocha's length and speed, he could provide help in not only the special teams department but in time when the Cowboys are playing nickel due to his coverage skill abilities. 


Here is his scouting report from NFL.com:

Strengths

Size, strength and speed numbers are outstanding. Has length and speed to throw a net over running backs trying to turn a corner and reel them in. Busts it in the weight room. Shows power in his hands and upper body to strike a blow against second-level blockers and keep himself clean. Extremely rangy playmaking ability. Agile in his scrape and generally avoids trash at his feet. Former safety who has long speed to stick with running backs out of the backfield. Transitions forward with control and is a wrap-up tackler.


Weaknesses

Suffered a season-ending knee injury in October and it could impact his draft standing. Played club football in Germany during his high school years and is still learning to play the game. Instincts and awareness are well below average for the college game. Can be seen sprinting back into coverage on run plays and will drift around lost in zone coverage at times. Slow to diagnose and attack. Will take a poor angle into his run fit and lose leverage. Wyoming kept coverage as basic as it could for him.


Bottom Line

Nzeocha has a tremendous amount of athleticism and speed, but his instincts for the game must be developed and sharpened before he can be trusted as a full-time starter. His potential and ceiling are exciting (provided he recovers from injury), but he's the textbook definition of project. Like the Eagles' Bryan Braman, he has the length and speed to become a highly effective special-teams player.