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Michigan's David Ojabo an Early 2022 NFL Draft Target for Browns

Although the Cleveland Browns are still in the early stages of what could be a promising season, there are some holes that will need to be addressed in the 2022 NFL Draft. Michigan's David Ojabo stands out as a potential target.

The Cleveland Browns will be in the market for another pass rusher early in the 2022 NFL Draft, and Michigan's David Ojabo has the drool inducing tools to consider.

It's never too early for a little NFL Draft talk, right? This front office led by Andrew Berry and his team have seen quite a bit of success in April's main event in back-to-back years. They will be looking for similar feats when April of 2022 rolls around. 

Even though we are only in Week 5 of a very promising NFL season for the Browns, there are already positional needs lining up in Cleveland. One of those positions, despite currently being a strength, is at the defensive end spot on the roster.

Currently, Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, and Takk McKinley are experiencing a ton of success off the edge, all ranking out quite well in pass rusher win rate. However, looking at the bigger picture, Cleveland could just be a pitstop in a larger paycheck for both Clowney and McKinley.

Sure, it would be excellent for both of those names to continue to team up long-term with Garrett in Cleveland. Realistically, if both continue to play well, they could be pricing themselves out given the other mouths the Browns need to prioritize and feed. 

That is why edge rusher remains near the top of needs at this current moment (obviously the landscape is always set to shift). Good news for the Browns: this is a deep crop of pass rushers. One particularly interesting name can be found in Ann Arbor in the form of the 6-foot-5 and 250 pound David Ojabo. 

Currently, Aidan Hutchinson is rightfully getting a large spotlight shined on him for his performance to start the 2021 season. Ojabo, however, has been quite good in his own regard for the Wolverines defense. In fact, there is reason to believe that a long-term outlook given tools and athletic ability lean towards Ojabo over Hutchinson.

So what makes Ojabo such a tantalizing prospect?

The place to start is Ojabo's combination of size and athletic ability. Going back to 2018, the Scotland native took home the state title in New Jersey's prep state championships in the 100 meter dash with a blurring 10.93 time. He also has a personal best 23.55 200 meter dash under his belt as well. 

This explosiveness shows up on the football field.

Not only does Ojabo have immense closing speed when he has honed in on the opposing quarterback, but he has the ability to convert that speed to power as well. This allows for him to dig offensive linemen's heels out from under them and drive them back into their own quarterback.

This natural power also shows up in run support as well, and more specifically in his ability to effortlessly anchor in as he sets the edge and maintains outside leverage. While his pad level can get a bit elevated at times, Ojabo plays with a great level of physicality in the trenches as well.

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One of the most appealing aspects of an edge rusher's game against the run is their ability to take on pulling guards, keep the second level clean of those moving offensive linemen, and continue to work towards the ball carrier. Ojabo is absolutely relentless between the whistles as he seeks to bring ball carriers to the ground.

Not only does Ojabo have straight-line explosiveness, but he has the ability to wreak havoc with his agility as well. The Michigan Junior pass rusher possesses a great deal of ankle flexion and bend off the edge as well. He can plant his feet far outside of his frame, rarely losing his balance and traction out from under him.

This allows for Ojabo to dip under the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle across from him on the outside track without drifting too far upfield. Instead, this allows for Ojabo to take tight corners and take a cleaner angle to the quarterback. 

It does not end there! Not only can Ojabo burn offensive tackles on the outside track, but that quick-twitch translates as he attacks the inside track as well. He can jump gaps and split doubles along the interior, but perhaps Ojabo's best and favorite move comes when his athleticism forces tackles to overset. 

Once Ojabo sees the offensive tackle plan to take away his outside attack, he has a lethal inside swim. He has already won with this move multiple times in the short beginning to this 2021 season.

One of the more important elements to an edge rusher's success is how well they use their hands, and their ability to build a plan of attack. Ojabo shows the ability to provide a nuanced attack, winning with push/pull, chop/rip, and with the previously mentioned inside swim and speed-to-power.

While he can do a much better job at learning how to counter-attack once his initial plan is stuffed, Ojabo knows how to build his plan pre-snap, and even stack moves on top of one another. With this diverse plan of attack, Ojabo already shows a good deal of refinement for a player who has only six career games under his belt. 

Based off of his track and field accomplishments and his explosiveness on tape, there is good reason to believe Ojabo will test off the charts should he declare and attend the NFL Scouting Combine. This will make him an appealing target for the analytics-driven front office. 

The other aspects to keep in mind are Ojabo's age and production. Yes, Ojabo has only six games under his belt, but in just five games this season, Ojabo has already racked up three and a half sacks, an equal amount of tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles. He is coming off of a monster game against the Wisconsin Badgers as well.

Age wise, Ojabo will be just 21 years old by the time the 2022 NFL Draft rolls around, and 22 when next year's NFL season begins. This is well within the Browns' age guardrail as well. 

From size and athletic ability to age and production, Ojabo is on the path to be a favorite in Berea, Ohio. It is rare to see a player this dominant in the short amount of playing time he has seen. If the Browns want to land the Michigan pass rusher, it looks as though they may just have to use a top-50 investment to get him.

Clowney and McKinley could be here beyond the 2021 season, but they could take a massive increase in pay and long-term stability that comes with this level of play. If they do depart from Cleveland, look for the Browns to look for a pass rusher early in the 2022 NFL Draft, and Ojabo fits what they are looking for.

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