EDGE AZEEZ OJULARI
Weight: 249 lbs.
Class: Sophomore (red shirt)
A four-star recruit out of Marietta, Georgia, where he attended Marietta High School. Ojulari was the 144th recruit in the 2018 cycle. He was All-SEC Second Team in 2020 while finishing as a semi-finalist for the Bednarik Award.
He took a big leap from his freshman season to his 2019 redshirt freshman season. He earned two Georgia post-season awards: Most Improved for a Defensive Player and the Leon Farmer Strength and Conditioning Award.
He saw limited action in 2018 after being redshirted--he had a tackle for a loss against Middle Tennessee State. He saw snaps in the Sugar Bowl against the Texas Longhorns.
He accumulated 64 total tackles, 17.5 for a loss, and 15 sacks in the next two seasons, while finishing with 31 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, and 9.5 sacks in 2020. Ojulari also had 38 pressures in 2019 and 37 in 2020.
Ojulari’s pro day was solid; athletically, it was a solid overall showing, but his 34.3” arms at 6’2 were definitely a win. His 4.62 and 4.66 40-yard-dashes were very solid numbers, as was his 10’7” broad (127”).
According to mockdraftable.com’s database, Ojulari’s 40 would be around the 82nd percentile, with his length coming in around the 81st percentile.
The numbers above are great, but his vertical wasn’t as appetizing: a 30” vertical ranks in the 20th percentile for EDGE rushers, but his 26 bench reps were only slightly above average for the EDGE position. His 7.27 3-cone wasn’t great - it’s around the 42nd percentile.
Ojulari would be an excellent fit in Patrick Graham’s system with a lot of tight 3-4 base personnel. His ability to drop into coverage with solid movement skills in space (has 77 coverage snaps according to PFF) while holding the point of attack would be valuable to the continuity of the defense.
He is a shorter pass rusher with long vines for arms who possesses solid overall athletic ability, highlighted by his quick first step and burst. Ojulari had a 1.6 10-yard split according to @Mathbomb on Twitter, which is also evident in his film--he’s got a good first three steps up the pass-rushing arc.
Ojulari is stout at the point of attack and plays with really good leverage on the EDGE. He can set a nice EDGE, lock his arms out, control with his hands, and play peek-a-boo with much bigger tackles--he uses his length and grip strength well to stack and shed while collapsing inside to restrict inner rushing lanes or shedding outside to make a physical tackle.
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He is also aggressive with attacking pullers as an unblocked defender in power/gap. He gets low and keeps rushing lanes tight while not allowing bigger linemen to kick him out.
I like him as a run defender, and he gets into tackles’ chest well. He’s also a good, hard, wrap-up tackler that attacks low and finishes strong with good competitive toughness. He does well to dictate plays with his length, and he does have solid sand in his behind to anchor down on the line of scrimmage.
Ojulari’s calling card as a pass rusher is his stab, chop, rip combination that he uses outside. He does a good job getting up the arc, and he initiates contact with a quick jab of his inside hand.
He sometimes pulls cloth to send the tackle’s equilibrium into a state of confusion. Ojulari then uses his outside arm to either chop, slap, or swipe the tackles inside arm downward, breaking the contact. He then brings his own inside arm (again, sometimes pulling cloth simultaneously) outside to disengage and rip.
The move can be called a stab/chop/rip, and he employs it frequently. Outside of that move, he doesn’t have a fully polished pass-rush plan.
He plays with a high motor and does a solid job with his bull-rushes that he converts to push-pulls, but he could develop more counters and more moves that he can rely on consistently. He’s a balanced player who uses his hands well up the arc, but it’s mostly with his common pass-rushing move.
Ojulari’s quickness allows him to succeed at the top of the arc; his bend is solid. He’s not the most flexible player in his lower half, but he can bend through contact showing good play strength, and get on a tilt while flipping his hips.
In coverage, Ojulari is fluid enough to operate in space and change direction well. He has the coverage ability to drop to boundary flats and hook/curls while showing enough awareness to have success.
Overall, Azeez Ojulari is a trade-down option, or possibly a second-round option, albeit unlikely that he’ll still be around. I believe he’ll end up being a top-three EDGE for me, especially in this Patrick Graham defense.
He should be a good 3-4 OLB who can cover, rush the passer, and set the edge. I would not mind, whatsoever, if Ojulari is a New York Giant at the end of April--ideally in a trade-down situation.