2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Joseph Ossai

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Joseph Ossai

by April 8, 2021 2 comments

Joseph Ossai is a playmaker. He is one of the most dynamic, fun athletes to watch in college. The burst pops off on tape as does his production. The question remains: is he anything more than just a twitchy player that can put up statistics? There are quite a few factors that need to be uncovered in this report to find out where Ossai should go and what his role will be in the NFL. Let’s find out who he really is on the field. 

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Joseph Ossai

Jersey: #46

Position: Edge

School: Texas

Class: Junior

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 256 lbs

Run Defense (5.75/10) 

This category will differ on its score based on the linemen Ossai faces (that will be a common theme throughout this report). Teven Jenkins made him look like a ragdoll: Jenkins threw him at will in an embarrassing fashion. Every other lineman seemed to have much less of an effect on Ossai. Versus TCU, he was absolutely destructive. 

Ossai’s best work is against zone schemes. Luckily for him, the NFL loves zone-running schemes. Even against Jenkins, Ossai was effective against the zone run. Possibly the greatest aspect of the former Longhorn’s game is his usage of length in the run game. He extends his arms to see the play developing and then uses the distance to easily disengage. Ossai does take poor angles, so that will hurt his score, but apart from that and his ineptitude against powerful linemen, he is perfectly fine for the NFL.

Pass Rush (8.0/10) 

Ossai, apart from against heavy, powerful linemen, is a terror to his opponent in the pass-protection game. For one, he always is fighting. Ossai keeps his legs churning and his hands fighting. Again, he did get thrown around and pancaked by Jenkins, but that was the only real instance of this. Ossai has a full toolbox, but he favors a few select moves. His favorite is the inside swim move. It is absolutely lethal. The potential for Ossai at the next level is ridiculously high. He may have reached it versus TCU. If it is higher than that, the former Longhorn may be a perennial Pro Bowler.  

Note: 5.0 is average and 9.0 is elite.

Length (7.75/10) 

Apart from a few reps versus Oklahoma State, Ossai is lethal with his length usage. He uses his full length to gain leverage which allows him to bend very well. So long as he stays low, this will translate very well to the next level. Once again, Ossai uses his length well in the run game. Holding the blocker at range to analyze and react to the play is NFL-caliber length usage. This will soar his draft stock. 

Technique (6.75/10) 

As stated before, Ossai has a tendency to stay tall when he bends around the edge. That will prove detrimental to his game. That is easily coachable, so imagining Ossai with a lower pad level and his length usage is scary. He has a full toolbox, but his inside spin move is lethal, given his insane burst. The Texas product hand fights well and plays with excellent technique.

Tackling (5.25/10) 

Tackling is not the greatest for Ossai, but he is definitely solid for how poor his angles are. Firstly, he is a very willing tackler: the Texas product is willing to fully lay out as well as make contact at full speed. Both of those moves require extreme effort and dedication. Ossai has strong hands, so he will not easily let go of his tackle. The only negative is his angles are poor because they put him in an awkward tackling position. This has caused Ossai to miss 30 tackles over the past two years, so the score must fall (he only missed seven tackles this year, so there was tremendous progress).   

IQ (7.75/10) 

This came as a very pleasant surprise. Ossai reacted very well to option plays which is very rare for college prospects in this draft. Another great trait is that he analyzes the play before making contact with a lineman. This is known as read, react, and engage (which is the exact opposite of Joe Tryon). Once again, Ossai’s ability to keep his eyes in the backfield when engaged with a blocker allows him to not get absorbed and allows him to react properly.  

Athleticism (8.0/10) 

Overall, Ossai is an incredible athlete. He tested very well across the board at his pro day, including being in the 99th percentile for the explosiveness tests. The Texas product plays with incredible twitch, fluidity, and speed. His upper-body strength and balance appear to be the problem. Upper-body strength usage is semi-inconsistent, but it shows up more than his testing numbers suggest. His leg strength seems to make up for where he lacks there. The major issue is Ossai’s balance. He fell over countless times when he really should not have. This can be corrected, but it is a concern for now. 

Power or skill at the Point of Attack (6.5/10) 

Apart from getting toyed with by Jenkins, Ossai has excellent skill at the point of attack. The NFL has far more players like Jenkins, so this score has to be brought down a bit. As stated before, Ossai has excellent technique and can use a plethora of moves at the point of attack. The crazy aspect is the leg drive: it can drive back players that are over 50 pounds heavier. The TCU right tackle, Andrew Coker, fell victim to Ossai’s insane leg strength when he got toppled. For the record, Coker is 6’7’’ and 326 pounds.  

Positional Versatility (5.25/10) 

Ossai has been used in coverage before, but he is far from elite. He did get two interceptions a year ago, but that was not repeatable this year. In short, Ossai should be mainly used to rush the passer. He is far from only a rusher, but the Texas product will best perform there. 

Competitive Toughness (5/5) 

There is not another prospect in this class with the motor Ossai has. It is incredible. Every play, regardless of where it is going on, he will be playing his heart out. Ossai is a team player as well. He ran to the other side of the field to high-five a player who just deflected a pass. Any locker room would love this kid.

Injury (3.5/5)

Ossai has had shoulder injuries back-to-back years that have sidelined him. Hopefully, this does not persist.

Player Summary 

There might not be a prospect in this draft that is as unique as Ossai. An easy way to describe him is Superman because he is unstoppable until he meets his kryptonite: powerful, yet agile blockers. The sheer athleticism combined with the toolkit of the Texas product creates an absolutely dangerous prospect. One would hope that his play against TCU will continue on a regular Sunday basis, but one must acknowledge that the NFL might be more like Oklahoma State in regards to the talent of the offensive lines. In the right scheme, Ossai will work miracles. Let’s hope he is placed in the right hands because he could be a major difference-maker in the NFL. 

Final Grade (69.5/100): Early Second Round 

Player Comp: Andrew Van Ginkel

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