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2022 Summer Scouting: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

How has Azeez’s younger brother performed for the Tigers?

Arkansas v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The 2022 football season is fast approaching for both the college and professional ranks. In order to get ready for the coming college season we decided to make like an NFL scouting department and put together some summer scouting reports of likely prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Today we’re taking a look at B.J. Ojulari, the younger brother New York Giants edge Azeez Ojulari. While the younger Ojulari stayed in the SEC, he didn’t follow in his brothers footsteps at Georgia, and instead went to play for Ed Orgeron at LSU. While Orgeron is out down in the bayou, Ojulari is still there and he could be one of the top EDGE rushers in the upcoming draft if everything comes together under new head coach Brian Kelly.

What does B.J. Ojulari bring to the field?

BJ Ojulari (8)

Junior, EDGE, LSU

Height: 6’3” (listed)
Weight: 245 lbs. (listed)

2021 Stats

Games Played: 13

Tackles: 31
Tackles For a Loss: 12.0
Missed Tackle Percentage: 4.5%
Sacks: 7
Pressures: 54
Forced Fumbles: 0
Passes Defensed: 1
Interceptions: 0

Game Tape

Strengths

  • Athletic Ability; great first step, COD, and lateral quickness
  • Twitchy, explosive, and sudden
  • Excellent closing speed and short-area quickness
  • Fires off the ball with good pad-level and active hands
  • Good overall bend, can turn the corner
  • Good pass rusher with good employment (placement, timing)
  • Counter moves are well-timed
  • Has a very good pass-rush plan - sets up OL
  • Can effectively win high-side and underneath with inside PR moves

Weaknesses

  • Inconsistent setting the EDGE
  • Can get out-leveraged vs run at the POA
  • Over-aggressive as read defender
  • Overall play strength is only adequate
  • Power pass rush moves vs OT

Why is he a top prospect?

New York Giants’ EDGE rusher Azeez Ojualri is the older brother of BJ. The LSU Tiger was a four star recruit out of Marietta, Georgia; he was the 12th ranked Georgian recruit, and the 6th defensive end prospect. Ojulari played some offensive tackle in high school, which could be one reason why he’s so adept at setting OTs up with his pass-rush plan.

The younger Ojulari brother is a top prospect for many reasons. He’s an explosive - long - pass rusher who is relentless with his attack and possesses an array of pass rushing moves and counters. He can rush out of a two point or three point stance. As a true freshman in 2020, Ojulari had 24 pressures and four sacks. He hit the ground running and significantly improved his precision and timing with his aiming points as a pass-rusher.

Ojulari wins high side - through the outside shoulder of OTs - due to quick first three steps, his ability to bend at his ankles/hips, and because of his ability to attack OTs outside wrists/biceps; he also employs a good rip move, with low leverage, and works to counter moves quickly, including an inside spin move. Ojulari also does a good job slanting inside with a good low center of gravity.

Ojulari’s nimble footwork and ability to rush the passer with his feet and hands working in unison accentuates his athletic gifts. His overall play strength can improve, but he flashed lower leg drive to generate force through adequate OTs at the POA when he kept his hat low. He generally wins with speed, but leave a TE on him at your peril. Ojualri’s ability to adapt and modify his pass rush after every snap to become less predictable is precocious and displays his already advanced processing skills. He’s also uber competitive.

There’s room for improvement as a run defender, but Ojulari shows great motor from the backside, and the ability to set the EDGE consistently against TEs. Ojulari uses his length to keep his chest clean with good pop in his hands against TEs, but questions must be answered about his ability to consistently set the edge against OTs.

Ojulari is a sure tackler with a large tackle radius and good speed into the tackle point. He goes low and aggressive at defenders, ensuring a tackle. He only missed 4.5% of his tackles in 2021.

Ojulari dropped into coverage only 30 times in 2021. When asked, he looked fluid and athletic in the flat to the boundary. He can execute these assignments solidly, but asking him to carry routes downfield in man coverage against smaller slot receivers might be unfair.

What to improve for 2022?

Ojulari is still a young collegiate player with only two years under his belt. He has to improve his overall strength at the point of attack; I’m not saying he has to pull an Azeez and transform his body from Elite level athlete to Thor, but BJ was out-leveraged and driven off the line of scrimmage in base and lateral blocks far too much for a potential top 10 selection. His ability to anchor in place, play peek-a-boo, and then violently shed while locating a ball carrier leaves some to be desired.

Discipline as a read defender was another thing that was questionable throughout his 2021 film. Ojulari would bite down too much against zone reads and lose containment when his responsibility was to contain. This issue is correctable, but one to note.

Ojulari struggles to maintain his balance and overall positioning against double team blocks, and he too often allows OTs to swivel their hips around, effectively eliminating Ojulari from the play. This is my primary concern with Ojulari. However, this can really improve with Ojulari heading into his junior season. More strength will allow him to execute his gap responsibilities more consistently as a run defender while giving Ojulari more power as a pass rusher.

Ojulari’s power as a rusher is above average against tight ends, but he doesn’t consistently stress the pocket when bull rushing offensive lineman. His speed is unique and a true weapon; but if he could convert that speed to power, he’d be much more dangerous in terms of predictability - something he already is not. Ojulari isn’t quite his brother, but he could realistically take his game beyond the level of Azeez if he adds a consistent power element, and becomes a bit more physical as a run defender.