NFP Prospect Focus: Owamagbe Odighizuwa

One player who has generated a lot of talk and interest over the last few months is UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa. Some draft analysts have him as high as the first round with a majority of them having him in the second round. While I like the natural physical traits of Odighizuwa, I am not quite as high on him as others. Owamagbe Odighizuwa – DE – UCLA Odighizuwa is a fifth year senior at UCLA. He enrolled in 2010 and played in 10 games with six starts as a true freshman. In 2011, he played in in all 14 games UCLA played but made only one start. In 2012, he also played in all 14 games and, again, made only one start. He missed the entire 2013 season with an injury and then came back to start all of UCLA’s games in 2014. Looking at his career production, he had average-to-good seasons, with his best year being 2014 when he became a starter. In 2010, he had 10 total tackles with 3.0 sacks. In 2011, he had 21 total tackles and no sacks. In 2012, he upped his production to 44 total tackles, including 6.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. After his injury, he came back with 53 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks in 2014. In his career, he has 12.5 total sacks. As an athlete, he is excellent. He stands 6034 – 267 with long arms and huge hands (33 ¾, 11). He has excellent speed, running a 4.64 and a 4.66 in his two 40 yards dashes. His agility drills and jumps were also excellent with a time of 4.19 in the 20 yards shuttle, 7.36 in the 3-cone, a 39” vertical and 10’7” in the long jump. Add to that 25 reps of 225 and his Combine workout was as good as any DE at the annual event. On the field, he plays with quickness and explosion but does not play to that 4.65 speed. He plays more like a 4.8 guy. He is a good competitor who plays hard every down. He is best versus the run where he is quick to find the ball and has above average ability to shed blocks. He needs to improve his overall hand use. He does a good job as a pursuit player and consistently takes good angles. I find he is only average as a pass rusher. A player with his natural physical traits should be much more productive. He is not an instinctive pass rusher and lacks top technique and hand use. Again, I don’t see his timed speed when coming off the edge. Odighizuwa worked dropping into coverage at both the combine and workouts. While he has the natural athleticism to drop, he doesn’t look natural doing it and has very average hands. On paper, it should be an easy conversion to OLB in a 3-4, but I know of coaches who doubt he can do it. He reminds me of Henry Melton, now with Tampa Bay. When I was with Chicago, we drafted Melton in the fourth round. He was a running back when he first got to Texas and was moved to defensive end for his final year. We drafted Melton to be a 3-technique because of his quickness. Coming out, both Melton and Odighizuwa are about the same size. We were able to put 25 pounds on Melton and he became a Pro Bowl 3-technique before a serious knee injury took away his natural explosion. Odighizuwa has some medical issues having had two hip surgeries. I feel that given some time to add good weight, Odighizuwa could become a good 3-technique in a four man front. That would take care of his natural skill set and he might become a star. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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