Julian Okwara Remains A Top Draft Target In Latest PFF Mock Draft
Despite having his season end with a lower leg injury, Notre Dame defensive end Julian Okwara remains a first-round prospect according to the latest Pro Football Focus Mock Draft. PFF has the Dallas Cowboys selecting Okwara with the No. 21 overall pick.
Here is why PFF projects Okwara to be such a high selection:
"Okwara’s ability to get upfield and penetrate fits in perfectly with what the Cowboys like to do defensively. He earned a 90.0-plus pass-rushing grade before his season was cut short with a broken leg."
Okwara had a breakout campaign in 2018 when he led the Irish defense with 12.5 tackles for loss. Then a junior, Okwara also tied All-American defensive tackle Jerry Tillery for the team lead with eight sacks. According to PFF, Okwara finished seventh in the nation in quarterback pressures during the 2018 season.
His senior campaign didn't go as well as hoped, with Okwara going down for the season with a leg injury during Notre Dame's Nov. 9 win at Duke. Through nine games, Okwara had seven tackles for loss and five sacks. Those five sacks led the Irish defense at that time.
Okwara had 32 pressures in nine games, but his run game production saw a big drop off as a senior.
Despite his play taking a bit of a step back, Okwara remains a top prospect according to many, including PFF. His top skill is his ability to rush the quarterback, which is a trait NFL teams put a premium on.