For the first time in a few seasons, the Arizona State football program has a handful of potential early-round selections in the NFL Draft.
Will Sutton, Carl Bradford and Marion Grice have all been discussed as potential second, third, and fourth round candidates, which is helping to raise the profile of Sun Devil football on a national level. However, with some alumni expected to be drafted early, others have slipped under the radar.
Sun Devil cornerback Osahon Irabor was a four-year starter at Arizona State, but the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder is having trouble earning recognition for his outstanding career. Irabor is rarely talked about as a potential draft prospect, and did not receive an invitation to the NFL Combine.
Still, Irabor's name is being floated around in some NFL circles including that of the scouts who visited Arizona State for Pro Day on Friday.
"Some of the scouts were just walking up to me telling me that they liked my film, that I had really good film," Irabor said. "A lot of them were saying, ‘I can't believe you weren't at the combine.'"
During his senior campaign, Irabor honed his skills as a physical presence and became an asset on the corner blitz. Todd Graham loved to send Irabor off the edge and that translated to 5.5 tackles for loss (a team-high among defensive backs) and 1.0 sack.
Irabor's improved run-stopping abilities helped him become a complete cornerback, as he registered three interceptions, five pass breakups and eight passes defended in pass defense. For the California native, his success emanated from a renewed commitment to his fundamentals.
In the offseason, Irabor has continued his focus on developing his technique for the professional level, and Pro Day afforded him the opportunity to demonstrate the skills he's been working on. He believes his running and lifting marks are solid, but that his work in positional drills on Pro Day set him apart.
"My position is all about technique, being able to move your feet, footwork, getting in and out of your breaks, having loose hips, so just showing them (scouts) that is an important part," Irabor said.
Like many of his fellow graduates, Irabor has mixed in a rigorous workout regimen with a detailed diet. Though he played at 190 pounds in the fall, Irabor says he will need to be a little thicker to earn a spot in the NFL.
"I lost some body fat, gained some muscle, so I'm trying to be in the 190s and just stay around there. I was 190, but I need to be a little bit heavier than that," Irabor said.
Irabor has always had the athleticism to play at the next level, but his success in the defensive backfield may be tempered in the eyes of scouts who believe he has a strong pass rush to thank. Though it's unlikely Irabor would be drafted prior to the seventh round, his mission is to continue to go about his business and prove that he deserves a shot.
After a hard day's work at Pro Day and an opportunity to talk with scouts and representatives from NFL teams about his future, Irabor feels as if his progress has him headed in the right direction.
"Most definitely," Irabor said when asked if he had a good Pro Day. "Got a chance to come out here and in front of scouts so they can see you in person is always a good opportunity, especially to talk with some of the guys, so overall it was a good day."
House of Sparky's Nick Krueger contributed to this report.