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90-Man Roster Preview: Romeo Okwara On The Rise

Young defensive end could be big help to defense

Wild Card Round - New York Giants v Green Bay Packers
Romeo Okwara sacks Aaron Rodgers during the 2016 Wild-Card game.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

NFL teams will take pass rushers anywhere they can find them. The New York Giants found Romeo Okwara on the 2016 NFL Draft scrap heap, signing him as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame.

Okwara ended up giving the Giants more than they could have anticipated. Will that development continue? Let’s take a closer look at Okwara as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

2016 Season In Review

After making the team as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame, Okwara spent much of the season as a bit player, seeing the field mostly as an extra pass rusher. After Jason Pierre-Paul went down with season-ending core surgery, Okwara’s role increased.

Okwara’s defining game was his first after Pierre-Paul went down as he had his first career sack, a team-leading eight tackles, three hits on Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott and a pass defensed while playing 60 of the Giants’ 66 defensive snaps. The Giants won, 10-7. Okwara never matched that performance or played that percentage of snaps again.

His development, though, did show that the 6-foot-5, 275-pound 22-year-old could become a dynamic third pass-rushing end who could really help the Giants’ defense.

2017 Season Outlook

The Giants simply have to find a way not to have Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon on the field for more than 90 percent of the defensive snaps. They need Okwara to continue his development to facilitate that.

Kerry Wynn is a nice player, but not a dynamic play-maker. Avery Moss is a rookie and who knows what the Giants will get from him. Devin Taylor could play a role. Owamagbe Odighizuwa? Good question.

Okwara is a classically built defensive end, in the physical mold of what the Giants like. The expectation here is that he continues to improve, showing that he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder last season.