This post is in support of Nick Falato's piece this morning about Azeez Ojulari. I wanted to take a look at how Ojulari has fared by the numbers vs. the Giants' other EDGE defenders and other EDGEs taken high in the draft (listed below in the order in which they were drafted) to put Ojulari's performance so far into a broader perspective. I'm using numbers from Pro Football Reference and PFF.
First, our EDGEs:
Azeez Ojulari: 3 sacks (S), 7 tackles (T), 2 tackles for loss (TFL), 3 QB hits (QBH), 3 hurries (H), 1 forced fumble (FF), 65.8 PFF (19 total impact plays)
Lorenzo Carter: 0 S, 9 T, 1 TFL, 1 QBH, 1 H, 0 FF, 56.5 PFF (12 total)
Oshane Ximines: 0 S, 4 T, 0, TFL, 0 QBH, 1 H, 0 FF, 68.1 PFF (5 total)
And now other EDGEs drafted before Ojulari in order of draft position. I include MIcah Parsons for completeness because he is now playing EDGE after injuries to Dallas' front line, but he started at LB ans so his is an imperfect comparison:
Micah Parsons: 1 S, 13.5 T, 2 TFL, 6 QBH, 2 H, 0 FF, 87.6 PFF (23.5 total)
Jaelen Phillips: 0 S, 9 T, 0 TFL, 1 QBH, 0 H, 0 FF, 65.2 PFF (10 total)
Kwity Paye: 0 S, 8 T, 1 TFL, 0 QBH, 0 H,0 FF, 74.2 PFF (9 total)
Payton Turner: 1 S, 5 T, 3 TFL, 1 QBH, 4 H, 0 FF, 62.3 PFF (14 total)
Greg Rousseau: 2 S, 11 T, 3 TFL, 2 QBH, 4 H, 0 FF, 60.7 PFF (22 total)
Odafe Oweh: 1 S, 9 T, 2 TFL, 4 QBH, 4 H, 1 FF, 79.1 PFF (21 total)
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka: 0 S, 6 T, 0 TFL, 1 QBH, 2 H, 0 FF, 66.9 PFF (9 total)
And just for fun, Chase Young:
Chase Young: 0 S, 9 T, 2 TFL, 1 QBH, 5 H, 0 FF, 68.4 PFF (17 total)
At the end of each line I have just summed up all the individual categories. That is not an accurate indicator, because some of these stats are more important than others (e.g., a tackle that is not for a loss means less than a tackle that is, a sack means more than a hurry, etc.). But the totals at least give some idea of which EDGEs have been the most "active", or having some kind of tangible impact, in the games so far.
By that measure Azeez Ojulari looks really good. He has by far been the most productive EDGE on the Giants up to this point. He's middle of the pack in tackles but better than average in tackles for loss, he's up there in QB hits (Micah Parsons has played great by the way, for those who wish we'd taken him at #12, but those QB hits have partly come from him rushing through gaps up the middle), middle of the pack in hurries, he's one of only 2 to have forced a fumble (though Oweh's was more important, vs. KC when they were driving for a game-winning FG), and his PFF score is similar to most of them, with Parsons the clear leader and Oweh being up there too.
Overall, Ojulari is tied for 9th in the NFL in sacks, behind such luminaries as Chandler Jones, who just tore apart the Titans in game 1, and Myles Garrett, who absolutely abused Justin Fields on Sunday.
And, compared to everyone else on the list above: He was a 2nd round pick, not a 1st like all the rest of them, and by the way, a mid-round 2nd pick who also netted us an extra 3rd round pick in the 2022 draft.
Amidst all the depressing aspects of the 2021 season so far, this is one thing to be thankful for. It's early yet, but Azeez is looking like a keeper.