DE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame

6’4” – 248 lbs.

Recorded four tackles as a 228-pound freshman, then rotated in over twelve games the following year and went 17-4.5-2.5 with seven hurries. Started the last twelve of thirteen games played as a junior and went 38-12.5-8.0 with twenty-one hurries. Was limited by injury to just nine games as a senior, with his production dropping to 19-7.0-5.0 with seven hurries. Tall but thin edge rusher who’s still growing into his frame and plays out of both two- and three-point stances, predominantly the former. One of the quickest and most active edge rushers in this year’s class. Isn’t always one of the first defenders to react to the ball being snapped; inconsistent get-off. However, that is mitigated by excellent acceleration once he gets going. Has enough speed to challenge the edge, bending a very tight arc to the passer when he’s able to win outside; looks comfortable dipping his shoulder as he turns the corner, and doesn’t need to shift down a gear when doing so. Surprisingly powerful for his size, converting his speed to power and creating push with his bull-rush, where he demonstrates active feet with excellent extension and leverage; probably one of the top bull-rushers in the class for his size. Does a good job of contesting passing lanes when in position to do so. Also able to sniff out screens and stay in position. Would like to see him mix in more inside moves and use his hands to counter and create more opportunities for himself, but makes a pretty consistent impact on the game regardless; on the limited snaps in which he made inside moves during the games reviewed, appears capable of squeezing through tight gaps to disrupt opponents. Despite playing out of a two-point stance, doesn’t take a lot of snaps in coverage; almost purely an aggressive attacking player in college. Might struggle to hold the point of attack when run at until he adds more bulk, but there are some bright spots in his run defense, namely his arm extension and active hand use to shed blockers. Relies mostly on his quickness, making his anchor ability somewhat difficult to assess. Rush-first mentality can also create some opportunities for opposing running backs to burst through big holes. Teams may have some questions about his health considering his relatively low weight and the games he missed last season, but has a very attractive combination of energy, speed, and power which should put  him in the first-round conversation.

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