The New York Giants enter the 2023 Draft Season with needs all over their roster. Not only do they need to find starters at several positions, but they also need to find depth and talent for the roster as a whole.
The defensive line was the strength of the Giants’ defense in 2022, but it’s also one of those areas where they could stand to add more depth and disruptive players.
Texas Longhorns’ defensive tackle Moro Ojomo could wind up being one of the more polarizing players in the upcoming draft. He is experienced, technically sound, and explosively athletic, but he’s also undersized and won’t be a fit for every team.
But could his athletic traits appeal to the Giants and make him a potential value pick?
Games Played: 42
Tackles For a loss: 13.5
Passes defensed: 2
Games Played: 12
Tackles For a loss: 5.5
Passes defensed: 0
Best: Leverage, length, athleticism, explosiveness, competitive toughness, hand usage
Worst: Size, biting on misdirection
Projection: An important rotational defensive lineman in an aggressive 1-gap defense
(Ojomo is DL number 98, wearing long pants with white tape on the backs of his arms)
Texas’ Moro Ojomo is an undersized but highly athletic, competitive, and technically sound defensive line prospect.
Ojomo possesses an uncommon build at 6-foot-2, 290 pounds, with 34 ⅜ inch arms. The Longhorns took advantage of Ojomo’s frame and used him all over their defensive formation. At times he lined up at every position from 7-technique defensive end to 5-technique, to 1-technique nose tackle. Ojomo’s compact frame allows him to settle into his stance and fire off the ball low, quickly getting under opponents’ pads and maximizing his leverage.
He combines his natural leverage and good lover-body flexibility with explosive (for the position) athleticism. Ojomo is very quick out of his stance with an explosive get-off that allows him to attack gaps before linemen are ready to meet his rush. He’s athletic enough to play base defensive end, and is a definite mismatch against interior offensive linemen.
Ojomo is also a good, and smart, technician. He features a relatively diverse set of pass rush moves that play off of his natural leverage, explosiveness, and power. His go-to is a quick club-rip move that takes advantage of both his long arms and naturally low pad level. He pairs that with a strong bullrush to take advantage of his explosive get-off, as well as a push-pull move to counter when blockers anticipate his bull-rush.
He is a tough competitor who is willing to string together moves and counters to beat blockers, as well as pursue the play through the echo of the whistle. He is much faster than the average defensive tackle and is able to pursue down or across the field, and run down ball carriers from behind.
Ojomo is a very experienced lineman who has played in 41 games since his red-shirt freshman year, and is regarded as a team-first player as well as a good scholar off the field.
While Ojomo has crafted a game that uses his physical traits as assets, they also limit his game in other ways.
Ojomo has enough play strength to stand up individual blockers, but was often taken off the field in short yardage or obvious running situations. Even when playing with leverage, lacks the mass and play strength to stand up to double teams. Likewise, he can be stymied by good offensive linemen when they’re able to match his technique and absorb his momentum.
Ojomo can also show a noticeable hesitation when processing misdirection. He can bite hard on play fakes and occasionally needs a crucial second or two when trying to locate the ball at a mesh point.
Overall Grade: 7.1
Ojomo’s projection will be heavily dependent on the philosophy of the team scouting him.
He’ll have his greatest value for teams that run defenses that use aggressive one-gap schemes and “multiple” fronts. He could be an important player in an active defensive line rotation as long as he is put in position to attack individual gaps. His experience playing from a variety of different alignments from both three and four-man fronts should prove valuable for aggressive and creative defensive coordinators.
Ojomo could be a disruptive presence in the middle of a defense in the right situation, and an interior pass rush can be devastating for an offense.
On the other hand, teams that use primarily 2-gapping principles in their defensive front or are looking for block-eating run stuffers, will likely want to look elsewhere.
Ojomo doesn’t fit neatly into a discrete archetype as a defensive lineman. He has some traits of a classic “base” left defensive end, a 5-technique in a one-gap 3-4 front, as well as a 3-4 under tackle (3-technique). The NFL is getting better about incorporating players with non-traditional skill sets (ie: “tweeners”). But Ojomo could see a wide range of draft grades. Some teams could view him as a late round pick or priority free agent due to his relative lack of mass and play strength. Others, however, may view him as a valuable prospect and potential weapon on defense because of his athleticism and unconventional build.