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Lions draft prospect of the day: Kitan Oladapo, S, Oregon State

The Lions Draft Prospect of the Day is an appropriate choice, with the Lions checking out his pro day on Monday. 

The focus is on players who should hold some appeal to the Lions in the draft, with a focus on the more likely positions the team will be targeting. If you’re looking for quarterbacks or upper-echelon running backs, you’re probably not going to find those here. Outside cornerbacks, defensive linemen, interior offensive linemen, some wide receivers and offensive tackles figure to appear along the path to April’s draft. Not all of the players will be top-100 prospects, either.

Today’s prospect is a big safety who the Lions met with at the Senior Bowl and also informally met with at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

Kitan Oladapo, S, Oregon State

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 216 pounds (measured at NFL Scouting Combine)

Oladapo has been a fixture of the Beavers defense since 2020. He started 39 games in the secondary, playing over 750 snaps each as a slot corner, free safety and box safety. As a senior in 2023, Oladapo registered 73 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and one forced fumble and recovery, while also breaking up seven passes. He had 80 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2022 while playing closer to the line of scrimmage more frequently. He is 23 years old and played in the Senior Bowl.

What I like

  • Has a defined body, great size and length for his position

  • Great acceleration and two-step burst for a guy his size

  • Impressive tackler in the box, hits and wraps better than many LBs

  • Good blitz timing and he does more than just run really fast toward a gap; can duck or spin to keep himself going to the QB

  • High football IQ shows in quick play diagnosis and pre-snap reads and anticipation of his assignment

  • Well-built frame and he knows how to use the hit stick

  • Decent in red-zone coverage and when he doesn’t have to worry about the long ball

  • Reads receiver cues well to search for the ball and make plays in coverage

  • Just 4 accepted penalties in his final 30 games

  • PFF’s highest-graded safety over the last two seasons combined

What worries me going into the NFL

  •  Hips and ankles are a little tight in coverage, especially when he has to turn and run

  • Loses body control when approaching a slow target at full speed

  • Lacks recovery speed if he gets beaten over the top or on drags/crosses in man coverage

  • Loses fluidity and crispness working outside the tackle box in run defense or vs. short passes

  • Shows some panic when he’s beaten in coverage, though he largely got away with some late grabs and tugs

  • Other than playing more stridently in the box, he’s still largely the same player now he was at the start of the 2022 season; his development might be maxed out

Best game I watched: Washington State

Worst game I watched: 

Overall

 It’s hard not to see some of the end-of-2023 Ifeatu Melifonwu in Oladapo’s game. Like the Lions safety, Oladapo is at his best attacking downhill inside the tackle box and blitzing from all over the formation. The deeper and wider he gets, the more problems arise with the lack of long speed and lateral fluidity in coverage. Oladapo has been more durable and instinctive in coverage, however. 

With his age and his limited role–he looks like a box safety or hybrid LB/SS only in the NFL–Oladapo is generally projected in the fourth or fifth round of the 2024 NFL draft. He fits the Lions’ grit and scheme in that range if they choose to bolster the paper-thin (for now) safety depth chart.

 

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire