One of the best parts of the draft process is seeing unheralded or under-the-radar players take advantage of their opportunities and make themselves some money.
This year there is limited opportunity for that, with the Senior Bowl being the sole showcase for a broad swatch of draft prospects in front of NFL coaches. But that just makes seizing opportunity that much more important, and potentially impactful.
The Senior Bowl is always an important event in the New York Giants draft prep, and the team routinely drafts heavily from the players who distinguish themselves. In an interesting twist of fate, one of the players who flashed the most and most consistently throughout the week of practice and in the game was interior defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa of UCLA
The younger brother of former Giant Owa Odighizuwa, Osa possesses similar explosive athleticism (he made Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks” list for 2020), and a versatile frame. Given that the Giants could use an explosive and disruptive player in their front seven, could Osa have caught their eye?
Prospect: Osa Odighizuwa
Games Watched: vs. Stanford (2019), vs. Cincinnati (2019), vs. USC (2020)
Games Played: 37
Tackles For a loss: 27.5
Forced Fumbles: 2
Passes Defensed: 4
Games Played: 7
Tackles For a loss: 6.0
Forced Fumbles: 0
Passes Defensed: 1
Best: Leverage, arm length, power, explosiveness, technique, versatility
Worst: Lack of mass, long speed
Projection: A starting interior defensive lineman in a one-gap, attacking, multiple defense.
(Note: Odighizuwa is iDL number 92, the only defensive lineman in long sleeves)
UCLA defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa possesses the natural leverage, length, explosive power, and short-area quickness to play multiple roles along an NFL defensive front.
Odighizuwa lined up in roles as diverse as as a 7 or 9-technique defensive end in a four-man front to a 1-technique nose tackle in a three-man front. On most downs he primarily lined up as a 4i/5-technique defensive end or 3-technique defensive tackle in UCLA’s defense, depending on down, distance, and defensive package.
Odighizuwa shows good enough to settle in a compact stance before the snap, while exploding out of it with good hip and pad level at the snap of the ball. He generally carries that leverage through the play, keeping his hips and pads low to maximize his power.
While power and explosiveness are the foundation of Odighizuwa’s game, he is capable of winning with speed, power, or technique. He is capable of winning most one-on-one match-ups, frequently bulling blockers into the backfield. Odighizuwa also shows the quickness to win with speed when shooting gaps, with the ability to beat blockers to a spot when facing pulling linemen. He also shows a relatively diverse set of pass rushing moves, using bull rushes, long arm moves, club/rip, and arm-over moves. He also shows the ability to approach rushes with a plan, setting blockers up to expect speed or power and playing on those expectations, as well as a willingness to mix speed and power counters within a rush.
Odighizuwa is also of use in stunts, twists, and blitzes along the line of scrimmage. UCLA’s defense both used his power to command and control blockers as well as his agility to change gaps as a looper.
Odighizuwa is a reliable run defender, playing with good strength, leverage, and competitive toughness throughout the play. His ability to control and discard blockers figures into run defense as well, and he does a good job of extending his arms to create separation so he can make plays off of blocks. He even has enough strength to be stout against double teams when playing with a wide base and good leverage.
But while Odighizuwa’s power is obvious, so is his relative lack of mass. His build is somewhere between a classic defensive end and defensive tackle, and while that is an asset in much of his game, he can be moved by blockers if he isn’t able to play with leverage. He can also be knocked out of plays by blows from the side which he can’t brace against. Also, while UCLA did play Odighizuwa as 4-3 defensive end on occasion, that should not be his role at the NFL level. He lacks the ankle flexibility to consistently bend the edge outside of short-yardage or obvious running situations.
Overall Grade: 8.2 - This prospect offers intriguing athletic traits and the technical polish to be a contributor early in his rookie year. His build isn’t for every team, but he should be a reliable contributor for a team with the correct scheme.
Osa Odighizuwa projects as a starting interior defensive lineman for a defense which uses one-gap attacking principles and mixes a variety of looks in their defensive front.
Osa is a diverse rusher with truly explosive power, dangerous quickness, and an intriguing combination of natural leverage (ie: he’s relatively short) and long arms. He has the potential to be a legitimate problem for offenses if put in the position to consistently attack into the backfield. His versatility and experience playing just about every position along the defensive line gives him a deep toolbox for a creative defensive coordinator to scheme and exploit match-ups.
Odighizuwa is a reliable run as well as a disruptive pass rusher. He diagnoses runs quickly and quickness allows him to attack into the backfield, while his power allows him to hold and make plays off of blockers. Though his measurables might suggest a third-down player, he should be able to stay on the field on all downs. That being said, defensive coordinators will need to be careful in how they deploy him, because he is only 280 pounds, despite all his strength.
When put in position to succeed, however, he is a disruptive force on just about every down and distance.