Hot Take Tuesday: Azeez Ojulari is the Top Defender in the Draft

Can Georgia OLB/DE be the best defender in the NFL Draft?
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The upcoming 2021 NFL Draft class is loaded with premier talent. There are several blue-chip talents at the top of the board, which has the makings of an exceptional group. Offensively there is Trevor Lawrence, Penei Sewell, Ja’Marr Chase and Kyle Pitts. Those four could end up being the best player at their respective positions in a few years. Lawrence is the best of the bunch offensively, as it wouldn’t be shocking to see him wearing a gold jacket when it is all said and done.

Defensively, there are a few more questions. When it comes to the defensive backfield, Patrick Surtain II and Caleb Farley have their question marks. Surtain II is a solid athlete but at a position that relies so much on speed, he isn’t going to wow teams in that department. Farley is a really solid prospect but his 2019 tape didn’t show an elite player. When it comes to the linebackers, Micah Parsons is talented but there could be some character concerns, along with inconsistent tape. Kwity Paye and Gregory Rousseau both have upside based on athleticism but the film leaves a lot to be desired.

The best defensive player, who deserves to be a top ten pick in the upcoming draft, is Azeez Ojulari from Georgia.

Azeez Ojulari was taken in the top-ten in the latest 2021 NFL Mock Draft Monday

The former Bulldog pass rusher had a unique path to stardom. After redshirting his freshman season, Ojulari made his presence known along a phenomenal defensive front. Even with 38 pressures and the tape he put up, Ojulari got little attention from the draft community. Was it because he didn’t put up earth-shattering numbers? Was it the fact that he played with so many talented teammates? Whatever it may be, Ojulari went out in 2020 and put on a show every single week.

In the SEC, where they breed top tier offensive tackles, no one could stop him. His bend, explosion, closing speed and violent hands made him almost impossible to stop. Ojulari is around 6-foot-3 and played at 240 pounds this past season. Those are perfect for predominantly 3-4 schemes. Von Miller came into the NFL at a similar height and weight and he has put together a Hall of Fame resume. Ojulari is also really strong. He packs a punch and can disrupt offensive linemen when he gets his hands inside of their chest. There is no reason why Ojulari can’t put on weight and play in the 250s. With his play strength now, the upside when it comes to the power aspect of his game is incredible. He should test extremely well, which will check another box for Ojulari.

To progress the way he has over the course of two years is remarkable. It can take players some time to make a difference in the best conference in college football, yet Ojulari stood out among his peers. When the game was on the line, he was making plays. Against Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl, when Georgia needed to win, Ojulari took over in the second half. He is just a playmaker.

With the way he’s improved, it only means Ojulari was putting in the work off the field to get to where he is today. Teams are getting a player they can not only build their defense around but also their culture, as he has extremely high character. The biggest reason why Ojulari is the top defender in the draft is his upside. The untapped potential is there on film. It is hard to find players with the best tape at a position, yet they also have the most potential.

It is hard to find a mock draft nowadays without Ojulari in the first round. That is great but Ojulari needs to be in the top five conversation; he is on that level. Players such as Chase Young, Nick Bosa and Myles Garrett all made huge impacts in their rookie seasons, Ojulari has all the talent to do the same. Pay attention folks, this is a star in the making!

QB | RB | FB | WR | iWR | TE | LT | RT | OG | OC | DT | NG | 3-4 DE | 4-3 DE | 3-4 OLB | 4-3 OLB | ILB | CB | iCB | FS | SS

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