Ifeadi odenigbo is a player you might not have heard of before the New York Giants signed him this offseason. Odenigbo, however, could end up being a key part of the Giants’ pass rush.
Let’s take a closer look at him as we continue profiling the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp in a few weeks.
Position: Defensive end
Contract: One-year, $2.5 million contract | Guaranteed: $1 million | 2021 cap hit: $2.5 million
Career to date
Odenigbo spent the 2017 season on the Minnesota practice squad after the Vikings selected him in the seventh round of the draft. He was cut in 2018, had a brief stay on the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad, played in one regular season game for the Arizona Cardinals, then ended up back on the Vikings’ practice squad.
He earned a roster spot in 2019, compiling 7.0 sacks in 368 snaps, just 34 percent of the defensive plays. Last season, he played 696 defensive snaps (65 percent) for the Vikings, registering 3.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits.
The Vikings somewhat surprisingly chose not to tender him as a restricted free agent, leading to his signing with the Giants.
At the end of the 2020 season, Odenigbo told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that 2020 had been “a disappointing year.”
“I’m angry how everything played out,” Odenigbo said. “We had a lot of expectations going in. Obviously, these weren’t the right circumstances. I’m a guy that I’m not going to think too much about the future. All I need to do is take a couple weeks off, get my body back up. The body was beat down quite a bit this year.
“Obviously, I played a lot this year and I think offensive linemen were learning my tendencies. Use this offseason to get better. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, because this league will move on without you.”
Odenigbo will now get to try and prove with the Giants that his 2019 season wasn’t a fluke.
Odenigbo figures to, at least, be a pass-rush specialist for the Giants in sub packages.
GM Dave Gettleman said prior to this year’s draft that Odenigbo has “got some inside pass rush to him.”
“Smart guy. I like the way he plays football. He has versatility inside and outside on the line,” said defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. “He’s a good football player for the reasons why we like those guys, plays with his hands, plays with his base, plays good with — good discipline and all that stuff right there.”
The versatility both Gettleman and Graham spoke about is evident in the way Odenigbo was used last season in Minnesota. Odenigbo played 574 of his 696 defensive snaps last season in the ‘LEO’ or ‘REO’ positions for Minnesota. That means he was a hybrid end on most snaps, sometimes standing or sometimes in a three-point stance based on the front called. He also had a handful of snaps at defensive tackle, defensive end and at both inside and outside linebacker.
To be honest, that sounds just like a movable chess piece who fits what Graham wants to do on defense — move players around to create favorable matchups.