Ikaika Alama-Francis DE/DT Hawaii
Ikaika has good size, strength and speed to be an NFL lineman at the next level. He shows very good “in the box” quickness and is a solid tackler. His burst off the line of scrimmage is as quick and powerful as any defensive lineman in this draft class. Ikaika is just learning to play and is very raw right now. In my opinion, he is playing out of position, but his upside to be an impact defensive lineman is excellent and well worth the chance on the first day of this draft.
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
Ikaika needs to learn so much about his position it makes my head hurt just thinking about it. He is strong, but even at the college level, plays way too high and is not stout against the run. He does not use his arms at all to his advantage and because he is very athletic, it is obvious that he has been thrown onto the field to figure things out for himself. The defensive coaching on fundamentals for this team is terrible and Ikaika has been hurt because of it. He is now recovering from an arm injury, which has to be checked out. Of course, cold weather teams will have to feel out this kid to see if he is open to playing for them. Remember this kid’s LTI is a little long and it might take the length of his first contract to realize his potential. My guess is that as a free agent, he is going to be partial to playing for a warm weather team at that point in his career.
TALENT BOARD ROUND: 3
Ikaika looks to me like he would be a better DT than a DE. I would bulk him up and bring him inside. Right now, when he comes off the line, he pops up like a groundhog looking for his shadow on Groundhog Day. He loses all his strength and leverage and is a mess at the college level trying to defend against the run. I believe as long as this kid is on the outside, he’ll do this no matter how hard you try to correct it. It’s something that was allowed to go on too long and now it is a learned reaction that will be very hard to break. I feel that if you bring him inside, he will be force to burst off the line, engage and then look into the backfield to make a play. Ikaika has the body type that can handle bulking him up to the 290 lbs range and still keep his quickness. Bringing him inside will force him to engage on running plays before he can pop up because the guard is firing out at him and he will have to meet that guard at a lower point in his burst than if he were on the outside where he can sidestep the block and then get taken out of the play. It’s hard for me to think that these kids from Hawaii are going to love to play for a clod weather team. Think about it…you play college football in Hawaii and then the Chicago (30 below) Bears draft you! Yeah -- that would excite me! I’m never sure how much passion these kids will play with when they are forced to come over to the mainland after they have seen Hawaii. There is lots of potential here for a team like Miami, San Diego or any of the other warm weather teams with a beach by the stadium, but I just think the potential for the Bears, Packers, Browns, Steelers, Bills, Giants, Jets, Patriots, Bengals, Ravens, or any other cold weather team is limited when it comes to Ikaika fulfilling his potential before he leaves in free agency.