Tuesday, February 10, 2015

2015 NFL Draft #18 - Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA

I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.
Find all the profiles here.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA - 6'3, 266 - RS Senior
UCLA defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa waits to face Colorado in the first quarter of an NCAA football game in Boulder, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Today's study is one of the more difficult names to master, but Odighizuwa could also be one of the better defensive ends in the entire mix.  He is a bit older than your average draft prospect as he will hit his 23rd birthday the month of the draft.  He was born in Ohio, raised in Nigeria, and a 5-Star recruit out of high school that suggested his greatness was inevitable in 2010.  Since then, he has missed an entire season with 2 hip surgeries and now is trying to prove he is worth the potential health red flag.  To study his work, we took a good look at the UCLA games against Texas, Virginia, USC, and Kansas State.
What I liked:  When watching this player do his work, you can see there is a lot to like.  He appears to be very versatile in many regards with his ability to do things that help you up front.  First, he rushes from that RDE spot and can get some things done there with his array of moves.  He can turn the corner reasonably well and is helped by his relentless battle.  Then, you can line him up at the strong-side (LDE) where his ability to deal with the run is put on full display and that might be where he is really better than his size would indicate.  He squares to the line and then can shoot gaps and anticipate the snap with speedy "get-off" and demonstrate some great athleticism.  Additionally, he is moved inside on pass rush downs and can get isolated with a guard and push the pocket up.  He has really long arms and uses them well with a push/pull technique that is too much for many of the college linemen he faced.  His motor and his dimensions both really work in his favor.
What I did not like:  When you see a player who missed an entire year with hip issues in college, that surely gives you pause.  There is no question that the version of Odighizuwa in September and the same player in November were two different players, so his recovery might mean that he is available a bit deeper in the draft if all things were equal health-wise.  He also doesn't show the bend to turn the corner that someone like DeMarcus Ware had. This means that his angles to the Quarterback are not as sharp, meaning he cannot get there as quickly.  This is not a major issue, just an admission that he might not have as high a ceiling as those above him, but still very solid.
Summary:  Overall, I really like this player for the Cowboys in the late 1st or 2nd.  He is perfect for their scheme and he possesses the tools that Rod Marinelli values with a high motor and a relentless battle level.  He seems like the type of young piece that you could add to Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence and feel pretty solid about, provided he passes all of his medical exams to make sure the hip is not the sort of thing that is recurring.  His production has not been quite as high as I might like at UCLA (6 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss in 2014), but keep in mind that he really was working his way back and had a quiet first month.   After that, his production was pretty solid for the remainder of the year.  You don't always find defensive ends who appear to have better than average ability at pass rushing and run stopping, but I think Odighizuwa can be that type of guy. He appears to be a piece that Marinelli could really mold into another edge rush option that could offer reasonably-priced sacks for years to come.  I would keep an eye on this guy in the Cowboys range.

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