When the New York Giants get to training camp later this month they will still be sorting out options and looking for depth along the defensive line. One of the players in the mix there is undrafted free agent Romeo Okwara, a defensive end from Notre Dame. Let's take a closer look at Okwara as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to camp.
2015 Season in Review
Okwara is coming off an excellent season for the Fighting Irish, with nine sacks and 49 tackles, 13.5 of which were for loss. He also tested well at the Combine, but that wasn't enough to get him drafted.
2016 Season Outlook
NFL.com does not give Okwara a tremendous chance of making it in the league:
Big edge player who looks great on the hoof, but who is extremely stiff and mechanical in his movements. Okwara is missing the quickness to be an NFL pass rusher while being a block magnet in the running game. Unless he finds a way to unleash his natural power and have it translate to production on the field, making a roster will be exceptionally difficult.
Former NFL scout Greg Gabriel, writing for the National Football Post, is more optimistic about Okwara, who is just 21 years old:
It's too bad this player wasn't redshirted as a true freshman. He has really come on the second half of this season but still isn't quite there. Right now he is best as a pass rusher but he still needs to get stronger and develop some more moves. He is not a consistent run down player and that is more because he lacks top size and power. Because of his athleticism, many of the 3-4 teams will work him out as an outside linebacker. If he proves he can drop into coverage he may have a future in that type scheme. In a 4-3, he will need a year on the practice squad to develop his skills and get bigger and stronger. There is no question he has talent but he is still raw. This player has upside in the right situation.
Will the Giants be that "right situation?" They obviously like the player, since they gave him a $15K signing bonus and guaranteed him $12.5K to sign as a UDFA.
It is really impossible to know whether Okwara made an impression on the Giants in the spring. With practices in shorts and t-shirts it is virtually impossible to judge line play. Still, at 6-foot-5, 265 pounds Okwara looks like a classic Giants defensive end. Can he play like one? Right now, that can't be answered.
Okwara will compete with players like Stansly Maponga, Brad Bars, Ishaq Williams and Mike Rose to get the Giants' attention in training camp. The guess here is that he ends up on the practice squad.