As both teammates and roommates at the University of Georgia, Ojulari began to imagine not only what it would be like to be an NFL player, but what it would be like to reunite with Thomas in New York.
In his presser with the media following his selection, Ojulari was asked if he ever got the better of Thomas in practice.
“Definitely,” Ojulari said. “Every single day.”
The dream of a reunion came true Friday night when the Giants selected Ojulari with the No. 50 overall pick in the second round. They traded back from No. 42, marking the team’s second trade back in the draft. The Giants acquired a player many believe to be the best edge in the draft and picked up a 2022 third-round pick from the Miami Dolphins in the process.
Though the Giants benefitted from Ojulari’s fall on the draft board, his descent came as a surprise. Ojulari was a player who was once considered a possibility for the Giants at No. 11 overall. At 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, Ojulari was a two-year starter at Georgia. He was one of the best pass rushers in the SEC in 2020, leading the conference in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles. He has the potential to make an immediate impact at the NFL level.
But he fell due to reports about a nagging knee injury that he suffered in high school. Though the health of his knee was confirmed by doctors, NFL teams continued to have doubts.
Ojulari, however, does not.
“My knee is good,” Ojulari said. “Everything is good, solid. Everything is perfect.”
He added that he is not concerned about how far he dropped on the draft board.
“I know I’m just blessed to be here with the Giants,” Ojulari said. “Just wait my turn, wait for my opportunity to come and now it’s here.
“I was just so happy to be on the phone with the Giants. It was electric and a big moment for me and my family.”
Ojulari said that he is now looking forward to live up to the title of best pass rusher in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“Everyone has their own opinions, but I’m just confident in my own game,” Ojulari said. “I’m ready to get to the New York Giants and show them what I can do.”
Not only will Ojulari reunite with Thomas, but with other former Georgia Bulldogs on the Giants, Lorenzo Carter and Tae Crowder. Carter in particular is a guy who Ojulari might be competing against for playing time.
“It’s great having my brothers up there already,” Ojulari said. “It will be great for me to come in and learn from them. They can teach me and tell me things, so I just can’t wait to get up there with those guys.”
Though Ojulari will have some friendly faces in New York, he is looking forward to proving himself to some less familiar faces: the fans.
“I am relentless,” Ojular said. “Strong all-around player. Rush the passer, stop the run, dropping in coverage. Whatever I can do to help the team, I will do it.
“I’ve got good speed, strength, converting speed to power, to beating a guy off the edge to beating inside. I’m just ready to work and contribute and do whatever I can do.”
Ojulari said that he is looking forward to making Giants fans proud as he tries to honor the edge rushing greats that have come before him.
“Seeing all of those great Giants that have come through, I know that I have to come in and be ready to work,” Ojulari said. “You’ve got to give it all you’ve got for all of the great guys who have played before you.”