Not long after his teammate Samuel Cosmi was selected by the Washington Football Team with the No. 51 overall pick in the NFL Draft, Longhorns pass rusher Joseph Ossai became the second Texas player taken on Friday night, when he was taken with the No. 69 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals now add Ossai to a front seven that is in desperate need of pass rush help, after finishing as one of the worst team's in the NFL in terms of pressure and sack production this past season.
"It was an amazing feeling," Ossai said. "All of that hard work, all of that grind finally got me where I needed to be. The job’s not done yet. All of that has only put me at the start line. I still have to get to the finish line, and that will be when the NFL is all said and done. I’m just excited to be at the start line with the opportunity to run the race. The call was kind of a blur, there were too many feelings and too many emotions, but I just saw Cincinnati, Ohio, and got so excited."
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, and settled outside of Houston, Texas, the top recruit was an academic standout for the Longhorns, majoring in Physical Culture & Sports. Ossai Started two of 14 games played as a freshman and started all 13 games as a sophomore.
Ossai first came to the United States after his parents won a visa lottery when he was 9- or 10-years-old, bringing him and his four siblings along to start a new life of opportunity in the States.
"My family is a big pillar of mine," Ossai said. "They’re my foundation and my supports system, so it was exciting, and I was happy they were happy. I think I made them proud today. They’ve always been proud of me, but I think I made them really proud today. I was happy they were here to share that emotion with me. I know they were excited, and I’m feeling so many emotions right now."
On the field, Ossai dealt with a season-long shoulder injury that he played through while wearing a harness, that essentially made him one-armed until it healed sufficiently for their bowl game in 2019.
In 2020, he injured his left shoulder again and continued to play through it while again wearing the harness.
The Longhorns defensive team captain in 2020, Ossai handles the media well and is known as a simple guy with a personal responsibility mindset, and a genuine team-first guy with high character traits.
"Texas has taught me a lot," Ossai said. "I think the most important thing it’s taught me is hard work pays off. Everything else I can learn when it comes to developing skills or the ins and outs of the league, but the part of the determination and the grind, I’m confident in that. I’m confident in the amount I’ve learned at Texas."
With Ossai and Cosmi now off of the board, it remains to be seen which of his fellow Longhorns will be next to go on Day Two, with names like Caden Sterns, Ta’Quon Graham, and Sam Ehlinger, among others, still remaining.
"It’s an incredible opportunity," Ossai said. "I’m going to have to dig in and learn about the team and the whole situation there and everyone they have on the roster, but I know it’s an exciting opportunity, and it’s a place we’re going to start learning and we’re going to make it home."
You can view NFLDraftBible.com's full scouting report of Ossai below:
After spending a lot of time in an off-ball role for the Longhorns early in his career, Ossai found a home as a Jack ‘backer creating lots of havoc rushing off the edge. That versatility will appeal to NFL teams that could utilize him in multiple ways.
Ossai plays with his hair on fire, showing a lot of physicality and effort working behind the line of scrimmage. He’s a high-energy player who posted some outstanding backfield production during his final two years on campus.
Ossai is an impressive athlete, boasting notable explosiveness and flexibility for the position. As an edge-setter, he is super physical with heavy hands to work against opposing tackles.
His bend is surprising for a player that has spent so much time as an off-ball linebacker. He’s a little high cut, lacking the change of direction you might want on the second level for a team that prefers him off the ball.
Ossai is far from a finished product, which will make a lot of teams excited about how he can develop. With future improvements, Ossai has a chance to be a big-time disruptor at the next level.
With his combination of explosiveness, physicality, and bend, he has a chance to be a top 50 overall selection.
CONTINUE READING: Longhorns Miss On First-Round NFL Draft Selection Once Again
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