The New York Giants had a formidable starting defensive front in 2022. Not only did they have one of the best defensive tackle duos in the NFL, they fielded a pair of young and dynamic edge rushers who made each other better.
At least when everyone was healthy.
Injuries along the Giants’ defensive front revealed a troubling lack of depth that opponents were able to exploit. In particular, the Giants could really use another starting caliber edge defender to give them more security — as well as options for Wink Martindale’s scheming.
LSU EDGE B.J. Ojulari is the younger brother of Giants’ Azeez Ojulari, and the two share many traits. They’re both versatile, extremely athletic, and have great motors — as well as the ability to be very disruptive behind the line of scrimmage.
Could the younger Ojulari join his brother on the Giants’ defense?
Prospect: B.J. Ojulari (18)
Games Watched: vs. Mississippi State (2022), vs. Tennessee (2022), vs. Alabama (2022), vs. Georgia (2022 SEC Championship)
Weight: 248 pounds
Arm length: 34 1⁄4 inches
Hand size: 10 1⁄2 inches
Games Played: 31
Tackles for a loss: 25.5
Passes defensed: 2
Forced Fumbles: 2
Games Played: 11
Tackles for a loss: 8.5
Passes defensed: 1
Forced Fumbles: 0
Best: Length, lower-body fluidity, versatility, technique, first step, competitive toughness
Worst: Play strength, awareness in zone coverage
Projection: A designated pass rusher with starting upside in a multiple defense.
(Ojulari is LSU EDGE number 18 — He wears a lower-leg sleeve on his left calf)
B.J. Ojulari is a long, athletic, skilled, versatile, and highly competitive EDGE prospect from LSU.
Ojulari has a prototypical build for a modern “positionless” edge defender. At 6-foot-2, 248 pounds, with 34 ¼ inch arms, Ojulari has a good blend of size, length, and leverage to routinely deal with offensive linemen, but is still athletic enough to drop into coverage on occasion. He primarily plays from a two-point stance, but plays from a number of alignments in LSU’s defense. He rushes from both the left and right edge of the defense, as well as occasionally aligning over the B or even A-gaps.
Ojulari possesses a very good first step as a pass rusher. He times the snap well and explodes off the ball with little wasted movement and good pad level. He has a very flexible lower body, allowing him to maintain his pad level throughout his rush. Likewise, he’s able to bend the edge and carry his speed into the backfield on outside rushes. Ojulari has solid hand usage and does a good job of using his hands – and length – to keep offensive linemen from fully engaging with him. He’s able to fight off their punch and has a solid repertoire of pass rush moves. He is primarily a speed rusher, using club-rip and long-arm moves to beat blockers off the edge. He seems to rush with a definite plan and throws in speed-to-power or spin moves once linemen begin expecting his speed off the edge.
His lateral agility and quickness also allow him to rush from unexpected angles in gap exchange games. Ojulari is able to effectively loop from one side of the defense to the other in big twist games.
Ojulari is a very patient run defender. He does a very good job of using his athleticism, technique, and length to keep offensive linemen from locking in their blocks. His first step allows him to dart into the backfield and disrupt running plays behind the line of scrimmage.
He routinely drops into coverage zones to help disguise LSU’s pressure packages and muddy reads for quarterbacks. He has solid range and his fluid lower body allows him to look relatively natural playing in space. Ojulari is fluid enough in space that he can stay with most running backs and tight ends in space, as well as run with them down the field.
But while Ojulari gets good depth and moves well in zone coverage, he needs to continue to work on his awareness. He can find himself covering grass at times, and be slow to pick up players entering his zone.
Ojulari also lacks a significant power aspect to his game. He’s able to convert speed to power and win with his burst, but he lacks the strength to consistently fight off offensive linemen if they’re able to lock in their blocks. As a result, he can occasionally be slightly slow in penetrating into the backfield and not be in good position to make a play. Likewise, he can also struggle to quickly disengage from offensive linemen in run defense, and can find himself moved off the ball if he isn’t able to maintain good leverage when setting an edge.
Overall Grade: 7.8
B.J. Ojulari projects as a designated pass rusher to start his career, but has the potential to grow into a starting EDGE early in his rookie contract.
His primary job, and value to his future team, will be rushing the passer. Ojulari can rush from all over the defensive front, and his blend of explosiveness, length, flexibility, and technique should make him a dangerous rusher very early in his career. He can further help a pass rush by dropping into coverage to disguise pressure packages, and is even a capable coverage player. He probably shouldn’t be expected to make plays in zone coverage, though he could be matched up on running backs or tight ends in man coverage.
Ojulari may never be a dominant run defender, but his patience and athleticism allow him to be a disruptive run defender and a good player in pursuit. He has a very strong motor and makes plays through sheer persistence.
He will need to work with a team’s strength and conditioning coach to continue to build strength and power to fully unlock his potential at the NFL level. Once he’s able to win through power or speed, as well as fight his way through persistent blockers, Ojulari should become a good starter for any attacking defense.