Elite traits. Project. High Ceiling. Raw.
Look up a scouting report on Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, and those are the words you’ll find to describe the 5-foot-10, 198 pound junior.
Lately, though, there’s another phrase you’ll see associated with his name: first-rounder.
Igbinoghene’s rapid rise in mock draft boards has been almost as lightning fast as he is. The 5-foot-10, 198-pound junior ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash at the Combine to go along with a broad jump of 10 feet, 8 inches and a vertical jump of 37 inches. Igbinoghene followed that up with an improved 40 time and vertical leap at Auburn’s Pro Day, running a 4.47 and a 40-inch vertical jump, per Auburn Undercover.
But scouts aren’t worried about the son of Nigerian track stars. After all, Igbinoghene’s father won five SEC titles in the triple and long jump and competed for world championships, while his mother was part of the bronze medal-winning 4×100 relay team for Nigeria.
Noah Igbinoghene confirmed fast💨
Ran a 4.47 at Auburn’s Pro Day.
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 6, 2020
It’s because of that elite-level athleticism that Igbinoghene now finds himself as a fringe first-rounder in many mock drafts, as he’s still relatively new to the cornerback position. Igbinoghene didn’t make the switch from receiver to CB until after his freshman season at Auburn.
But it took him only six practices before he was named a starter in 2018. Since then, Igbinoghene has racked up 92 tackles, 18 passes defended and 1 interception in two seasons. While he didn’t record an INT as a junior, teams largely strayed away from him. So when he received a favorable grade from the NFL’s college advisory board, Igbinoghene entered the 2020 draft.
9/22/18 — Auburn's Noah Igbinoghene 96-yard kickoff return for touchdown vs. Arkansas pic.twitter.com/v2CCWywcMA
— College Football Clips (@CFB_Clips) September 24, 2018
“He’s a fast learner,” former teammate and Auburn safety Daniel Thomas said, via Tom Green of AL.com. “It’s crazy that he has a high ceiling. He hasn’t even scratched the surface yet. He’s only been playing defense two years, and most of these guys have been playing defense most their life. I mean, I’m excited about his future.”
So are scouts and draft analysts.
“He plays the cornerback position with excellent athleticism, elite coverage abilities, and one of the highest ceilings in this class. … The former track star has very fluid hips that allow him to turn and run with some of the faster receivers in the country. At the line of scrimmage, Igbinoghene has adequate mirroring skills, which is something developing defensive backs often struggle with. The athleticism absolutely flies off the tape, especially in the Alabama game, where he completely locked down DeVonta Smith, a projected 2021 first-round receiver.”
Livesay went on to praise Igbinoghene’s recovery speed and his comfort level playing with his back to the football.