When it comes to the secondary, the cornerbacks get most of the love. Without solid safeties watching their backs, however, even the best corners are going to get exposed.
For the better part of the last four seasons, the cornerbacks at Northwestern have had one of the very best safeties in college football — Godwin Igwebuike — watching their backs.
Igwebuike is an intelligent as you'd expect a defensive back from Northwestern to be. He's a well-rounded individual who garners nothing but praise from former teammates and opponents alike as far as his character is concerned.
On the field itself, Igwebuike is rarely out of position and was essentially Northwestern's defensive quarterback during his time in Evanston. The two-time All-Big Ten second-team selection finished his illustrious career with 324 tackles, seven interceptions and 24 passes defended.
He was able to stand out in a conference that featured some of the best safeties in college football throughout his collegiate career.
Igwebuike will bring immediate value to any NFL team that drafts him, both defensively and on special teams. He has been one of the best open-field tacklers in all of college football over the last two seasons, something no workout in shorts and a t-shirt can effectively measure. That sure-tackling ability combined with his above-average closing speed make him a comparable prospect to current Los Angeles Charger defensive back Desmond King, who also built his reputation in the Big Ten.
Igwebuike is currently projected to be drafted somewhere in the fourth or fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. A faster-than-expected 40-yard-dash time and solid vertical jump could be enough to elevate him into the third round.
Regardless of where he ends up, Igwebuike has the look of a Week 1 starter in the NFL.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, SBNation and Bleacher Report. He has covered the Big Ten Conference extensively throughout his career. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.