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Film study: What does Ifeadi Odenigbo bring to the Giants?

Odenigbo is a pass rusher with upside who came at a bargain price

NFL: NOV 29 Panthers at Vikings

The New York Giants have added another EDGE player to their ranks in Ifeadi Odenigbo, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings. The deal was one-year, $2.5 million and I love this type of swing on upside. Odenigbo will be 27 years old at the start of the season and he has 10.5 sacks in the last two seasons.

This is a low-cost, possibly high-return type of signing at a primary position of need. The former Northwestern Wildcat was a seventh-round selection by the Vikings back in 2017. Here are his measurables:

The 22nd percentile length definitely was evident on his film, acting as a detriment to his ability to establish the point of attack against the run. It also affects his ability to utilize a long arm as a set-up pass rush move.

Odenigbo (95) has a good initial first step and does a good job maintaining a low center of gravity.

(over the left tight end)

Offenses typically try to get an advantage by leaving a tight end on an EDGE (typically to the back-side), Odenigbo would make those offenses pay quite often. He slants inside against the tight end above and dips his outside shoulder while using his outside arm to disallow the tight end from restricting space. Odenigbo uses some bend-through contact and good strength to not allow the tight end to wash him down the line of scrimmage. He then locates Todd Gurley and makes the tackle for a loss.

(over right tight end)

Here’s the backside of a stretch zone play where he uses good foot-speed, lateral quickness, and acceleration to not allow the tight end to acquire his inside shoulder. Odenigbo keeps the tight end at arms distance, readjusts with the tight end, and makes the play down the line of scrimmage.

(on tight end, right side of screen)

Odenigbo is a nuisance on the backside of these stretch zone types of plays. He does such a good job with his positioning and hands to keep himself clean while showing a great motor to track ball carriers down from the backside. He initially-hand fights with the tight end here before slapping the outside arm of the tight end downward and basically bringing his outer shoulder away from the blocker’s inner shoulder; this positions him to make the tackle - an excellent back-side pursuit defender.

(over right tight end)

Anthony Firkser (86) is tasked to prevent Odenigbo from crashing inside, but he uses his outside hand to keep the tight end from getting to his chest and then he restricts the C-Gap to tackle Derrick Henry. Odenigbo is more than capable of holding the point of attack and defeating most blocking tight ends, which is great to hear for the Giants. Patrick Graham relied on players like Jabaal Sheard to hold the point of attack and he did that well against tackles. I feel Odenigbo can hold the point against adequate tackles, but he’s going to struggle against the better ones - especially the ones with longer arms.

Odenigbo has logged 1,106 defensive snaps in his career and only 360 of them were rush snaps - there’s a reason for that. I don’t believe he’s a liability - I didn’t see that in his film, but it’s not his strong suit, either.

(End on right side of screen)

He faces up against Jake Matthews (70), a solid starting left tackle. Odenigbo shoots his hands inside quickly to not allow Matthews to get into his body; he then readjusts his outside arm to negate Matthews' grip. He does so in a very controlled and balanced manner. Odenigbo has good overall play strength and he’s capable of holding the point as we see above, but the longer tackles get inside his chest more easily, and then he struggles to keep the framework of the defense intact.

Overall, he can play the run at a solid level against tackles and he does well against tight ends, but he’s more of a pass-first type of defensive end. Odenigbo plays with good leverage at the point of attack. He really does a good job sinking his hips and generating a bunch of force through his lower body and core. He has good play strength when moving forward and it’s one reason why his first pass-rushing move is to bull-rush.

(over left tight end)

Not much happens on this play, but we can see how he converts speed to power and puts MyCole Pruitt (85) on skates before using a spin move to disengage; Odenigbo stabs that outside arm hard and churns his legs through the dirt while staying low and establishing that half-man relationship; he sets the spin move up, but the fullback assists Pruitt with the block. I love to see that kind of strength and competitive toughness from Odenigbo.

(right side 3-Technique - over outside shoulder of guard)

We see something similar in the clip above where he’s lined up as a 3i-Technique. He explodes low out of his stance and gets his inside arm underneath the guard, who does a good job absorbing his power. One thing that I saw pretty consistently in Odenigbo’s film is that he’s a heady player. He reacts well to his surroundings and adapts throughout plays; this fact, combined with his excellent competitive toughness and motor, helps him get sacks like the one we see above.

(Left side of screen)

His knack for using the bull-rush as a primary pass-rushing move can get him into trouble. He doesn’t really have a plan when he’s pass-rushing and he plays with something I call “reckless power.” It doesn’t get him in trouble here - he just gets chipped by the guard and knocked off balance. We see the force he generates against the tackle, but good offensive linemen pick up on pass rushers who don’t have a diverse repertoire.

(Right side of screen)

He squares up with an offensive tackle here and gives a good initial push to create space; then he attempts to execute his bull-rush move and the tackle anticipates the move, resulting in Odenigbo being snatched and trapped to the deck. Not having a consistent pass rush plan isn’t a huge negative, especially considering the contract, but it’s something that should be acknowledged.

However, I do feel Odenigbo uses his hands very well up the arc; he readjusts, establishes leverage points, and does a good job keeping his chest clean. I think it was most prevalent when the half-man relationship is established and he’s attempting to corner.

(Right side of screen between guard and tackle)

Like we saw earlier, he establishes contact with his inside arm and works outside and up-field. The guard hits the established arm, but he doesn’t stay square to Odenigbo who then brings that inside arm across the guard’s face, forcing the guard to lean forward. The end result is Odenigbo showing the back of his jersey to the guard and turning the corner on a tight angle to get the sack.

Odenigbo isn’t the most bendy or twitched-up type of athlete, although he does have some good explosive traits. He CAN corner when he maximizes his use of hands up a pass-rushing arc - as we saw above. He’s capable of bending through contact and turning that corner.

(End on left side)

This is a bit of a coverage sack, but we can see his hand usage at the top of the arc come into play once again. Aaron Rodgers snaps the ball quickly, catching the defense off guard, and Odenigbo works away from the guard to isolate against the tackle; he then tries to get up the arc and break away from the tackles grasp which is very difficult to do when in this position. If you look closely, Odenigbo takes his outside arm and presses the tackle’s arm downward while almost simultaneously bringing that inside arm through for a rip move underneath. This disengages the grasp and frees Odenigbo up for the sack.

(End on right side)

Odenigbo gets a sack/safety in the clip above and we see him go up against a tackle who is much longer than he happens to be. The tackle establishes contact first, but Odengibo stays low, keeps his outside arm free, and just churns up the pass-rushing arc. He’s able to use will and strength to get the tackle out of position and sack Mike Glennon. This is great leverage displayed here by Odenigbo.

(End on right side)

He earns a sack by splitting a double team through sheer will; he goes for the initial bull-rush against the tackle, but that’s stopped pretty quickly and the guard then gets drawn into the blocking equation. Odenigbo stays low and uses his arms to pry open the two blockers where he finds a crevice and gets the sack. I almost expected him to shout “here’s Johnny!”

(Over left guard)

Odenigbo is the penetrator on this stunt and he ends up getting picked up by a double team. The quarterback rolls outside and Odenigbo adjusts, using his acceleration to track the quarterback down and force a throw-away. He earns a pressure on this play, but the stunt was picked up. However, I like his ability to move laterally; he stays low, keeps his hands active, and continues to play with good play strength. I think he would be a solid penetrator in Graham’s tackle/end stunts.

Final Thoughts

Odenigbo is a good signing and he should be a nice addition to Graham’s defense. He’s a high motor player with solid athletic traits that are highlighted by his good explosiveness and short-area burst. He plays with excellent leverage and is solid against the run. Plays with his hair on fire against the pass and he doesn’t really have a plan quite yet - more of a bull-rusher. However, he can convert speed to power and he has some counter moves, including a spin that he likes to utilize. He also does a good job using his hands once the half-man relationship is established - he does well to get into his rip move. His change of direction and quickness allow him to stunt effectively; he stays low and explodes around tight corners well while using his hands in an active manner. His lack of length hurts him in run situations, therefore he doesn’t always make initial contact. Odenigbo is a competitive player who can fill the Jabaal Sheard role with a bit more pass-rushing upside; he’s not going to be someone who drops in coverage too often, but he’ll have an impact rushing the passer. It’s hard to knock this signing at that price tag.