LB Azeez Ojulari, Georgia

LB Azeez Ojulari, Georgia** (6’3”, 240)

Background:

Appeared in three games before redshirting as a freshman, then put together an impressive redshirt freshman year, finishing with 36-6.0-5.5 and adding an additional eighteen hurries. Over ten games as a sophomore, went 30-11.5-8.5 with sixteen hurries and three forced fumbles.

Positives:

Has the length and frame to add additional bulk at the pro level. Plays out of both two- and three-point stances, on both sides of the line of scrimmage. More physical in the run game than his frame would suggest. Can hear the pads clicking as he sets the edge. Shows good discipline and patience when working the backside. Varies his rushing approach, mixing inside moves and speed rushes. Has some suddenness to keep opposing linemen off-balance and look for ways to the passer. Active with his hands when coming around the edge. Leverage around the edge is very good. Closing speed is very impressive. Heads-up player who has the flippers to swat down passes on swings. Was asked to play in coverage a little bit and looks relatively fast and smooth when carrying backs and tight ends into the flats or making spot drops in zone. Excellent motor and range in pursuit.

Negatives:

Might still need to add another five to ten pounds of bulk. Might be a pure weakside rush linebacker in an odd front given his weight. Willing to throw his body into opponents to set the edge but would like to see him lock out opponents more consistently, keeping his head up to locate ballcarriers. A little bit more active than refined with his hands at this point. Doesn’t have a major power element to his game; more physical than he is capable of resetting the line of scrimmage or walking back opponents with his bull rush. Hips can get a little bit high when trying to turn the corner at times. Would like to see him dip his shoulder and bend sooner; tends to get a little bit too deep.

Summary:

A surprisingly well-rounded player given his lack of ideal bulk; has the type of first-step quickness, leverage, creativity, and hand use that establish an undersized edge rusher as worthy of further attention, but also offers physicality as an edge setter and experience working in coverage. Extensive experience standing up at the college level should help him transition into a pro role relatively quicker than some of his competitors, and his flaws are capable of being addressed through coaching and time in a pro strength program. Consequently, looks like a candidate to come off the board in the first round, especially given the relative lack of slam-dunk pass-rushers in this class.

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