04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Bengals picks: Round 5/167 -- George Iloka, S, 6-4, 225, Boise State...Has the size and speed to match up with tight ends. There is plenty of competition for playing time with the only absolute being Reggie Nelson as one of the starters. - The Sports Xchange
Tall and talented, Iloka enrolled at Boise State as a 17-year old true freshman and made an immediate impression to earn Freshman All American honors. Still, he had to overcome immaturity issues to gain respect of coaches and teammates and become team captain in 2011.
He is an explosive athlete, but lacks quick change-of-direction that would make him special. Still, Iloka has the cover skills and length to match up well against tight ends and receivers with the closing burst and physical nature to show up in run support.
A three-year starter, Iloka was a two-star receiver-safety recruit out of high school. He chose Boise State over TCU and UTEP, then played in every game in 2008 as a true freshman, including five starts. He had
62 tackles, five for a loss, one sack, six pass break-ups and a career-best four interceptions to earn Freshman All-American honors.
Not surprisingly, Iloka became a full-time starter in 2009 and finished with 45 starts. He played very well throughout, but didn't seem to make conspicuous improvement after that outstanding freshman season. In 2011 he finished second on the team with 58 tackles, once pass breakup and one forced fumble. He was selected to the All-MWC first team.
Strengths: Possesses an imposing stature with a large frame for the safety position and above average length (nearly 34-inch arms). Good speed in pursuit with the chase skills to track down the ballcarrier. Has good football awareness to read-react quickly and stay balanced and patient in space. Quick footed with the smooth body flexibility and coordination to cover a lot of ground. Gives up his body in run support and enjoys contact with very good closing burst to plant and explode towards the play. Hard downhill hitter and solid tackler with the long arms to wrap. Has good ball skills to locate and attack the ball in the air. Possesses a versatile skills set to play in various zone and man coverages with the ability to cover both receivers and tight ends -- good size match-up against bigger targets because of his height and length. A top competitor with very good practice habits -- hard worker on and off the field. Has good playing experience, starting the final 45 games of his career with time at both cornerback and safety.
Weaknesses: Has a lean, narrow frame and needs to get stronger -- doesn't have the body type to get too much bigger with limited growth potential. Has tense ankles and hips with choppy footwork when attempting to redirect and doesn't always look natural changing directions. Tends to play leggy and needs to tighten his angles in pursuit. Will slide off tackle attempts at times and needs to show better tackling technique to consistently finish. Wasn't overly productive and never led the team in tackles, putting together an average senior season with 1 pass break-up and zero interceptions in 2011. Has questionable on-field attitude and needs to play more disciplined and calm -- taken out of games in the past by coaching staff for minor scuffles and poor sportsmanship (has also gotten into a few shouting matches with head coach Chris Peterson after being removed from the game).
NFL Comparison: Kam Chancellor, Seattle Seahawks
-- Dane Brugler