The Philadelphia Eagles signed undrafted rookie free agent offensive lineman Kayode Awosika following the 2021 NFL Draft. They also reportedly gave him the second-highest amount of guaranteed money from this year’s UDFA class. In order to learn more about this Buffalo blocker, I reached out to SB Nation’s MAC blog: Hustle Belt. Steve Helwick was kind enough to answer my questions.
1) Can you recap his college career?
At Buffalo, Kayode Awosika was the anchor of one of the most dominant offensive lines in college football. As a junior in 2019, the three-year starter manned the right tackle position and secured his first All-MAC bid. He blocked for two 1,000-yard rushers while serving as a key cog to an offensive line that yielded 0.7 sacks per game — second-best in the FBS.
Buffalo then replaced three starters on the line, but the same results were replicated in Awosika’s senior season. In 2020, Buffalo allowed an FBS-best one sack the entire year and boasted the third-best rushing offense in the country. Awosika, who transitioned to left tackle, earned another All-MAC bid and landed a spot on the All-American Second Team selected by the Football Writers Association of America. The star tackle was an integral component of Buffalo’s first two bowl victories in program history and the team’s first year-end AP Poll ranking last January.
2) What are his strengths?
Awosika has the skill set to thrive in a bevy of positions, ranging from the interior to both tackle slots. He is a powerful blocker and demonstrates excellence at driving his legs to finish blocks. The Buffalo alum is also a hyper-aware player. Whenever he completes a block, he immediately attacks the next level and always searches for additional assignments. Run blocking is his specialty and he collects a fair share of pancakes in that facet of the game.
3) What are his weaknesses?
In order to prolong his NFL career, Awosika will have to work on technique. His lower body control and range of motion can be improved to make his blocks feel less rigid. This stiffness could allow agile NFL-caliber pass rushers and defenders to serve as an effective counter. But these qualities should be addressed as Awosika enters the practice field, and I expect him to be able to rapidly improve these aspects of his game by the time September comes around.
4) Are you surprised he went undrafted?
Very. Awosika was selected as a Second Team All-American by the FWAA last year. The MAC doesn’t draw as many eyeballs as other conferences and linemen don’t produce stats, so you can tell Awosika is quite talented when voters believe a MAC lineman warrants an All-American nod. He shined as a run blocker and pass blocker in one of the top offenses in the country and held down the fort for two years straight despite massive turnover on the line. With his versatility and experience as a left tackle and right tackle, combined with his power and hand placement, I expected him to fall somewhere ranging from Round 5 to 7.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
I remember answering a similar question last year about Eagles undrafted free agent lineman Luke Juriga from Western Michigan. Juriga played a total of 14 offensive and 34 special teams snaps. While I don’t expect the Eagles offensive line to reach an injury crisis like it did last fall, I predict Awosika’s career to begin in a similar format. He’ll earn his initial reps on special teams in 2021. Eventually, he will work his way up to becoming a backup guard or tackle, serving as a utility player to fill in for injured starters. Upon succeeding in that area, Awosika comes with starter potential, depending on how well he can develop his technique and lower body movements.
And for what it’s worth — Jason Peters was undrafted too. While he’s possibly the best undrafted free agent tackle in history and I don’t expect undrafted prospects to fill the shoes of a 6-time All-Pro selection, Peters demonstrates that a pathway to a long and prosperous career is possible for players in Awosika’s position.
6) Anything to know about him off the field?
I loved when Buffalo made Awosika available in postgame press conferences last season because he was my favorite interview in the MAC. He always showed up with positive vibes, and his camaraderie with his teammates was evident through his dialogue. One thing I really appreciated about Awosika was how in-depth he answered every press conference question. Ask him about any specific snap, and he’ll be able to explain what look the defense provided and how the offensive line accounted for every defender during the play.
BLG’s take: Awosika making the roster isn’t impossible. The Eagles like to go heavy on the offensive line. But there are a number of bodies in front of him so he might just end up on the practice squad instead. Awosika seems like a worthwhile development project. It’s a win if he eventually becomes a solid backup guard.