2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: David Ojaboby Mason Thompson December 25, 2021 3 comments
Each year, there seems to be a player that surprises and becomes a top prospect in the pre-draft process. Joe Burrow and Zach Wilson have been the most notable in recent years. Both rose their stocks from day three prospects to the first and second choices in the draft. While there isn’t a quarterback that has rose his stock like that this year, there is an edge rusher that has. His name is David Ojabo, who never played football before his junior year of high school after moving from Nigeria to Scotland early in his childhood. Michigan snagged Ojabo as a four-star recruit from New Jersey in July of 2019.
Ojabo and potential first overall choice, Aiden Hutchinson combined to form the best pass-rushing duo in the country throughout this college season. The tandem has combined for an astronomical 25 sacks on the season thus far, with Ojabo having 11 of them. After playing sparingly in three games in 2020, the up-and-comer was an All-Big Ten first-team selection and a second-team All-American by the Associated Press this season and now holds the single-season record for the Wolverines with five forced fumbles on the season. With an impressive rise, the question now is, how high does Ojabo go in April’s draft?
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Name: David Ojabo
Jersey: No. 55
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Weight: 250 lbs
Games Watched: Indiana (2021), Michigan State (2021), Wisconsin (2021)
Major Injury History: None
Pass Rush Skills (13.5/15)
For a guy that’s only been playing football for five years, Ojabo has a lot at his arsenal already. He has a spin move that he took advantage of multiple times throughout the season already to a few sacks. He’s already got a swim and ghost move at his disposal as well. As of right now, he has a lot going for him, which says a lot for a player that is just scratching the surface of what he can become.
Don’t give him grass because he will take advantage of it on his way to the quarterback. Ojabo relies on his physical traits to his advantage, and it is astounding how much those traits help him. He has an explosive second gear when the quarterback is in his sights. Whenever he gets a hit on the quarterback, it looks as if the quarterback got hit by a freight train because Ojabo continually never gives up and is going full-speed at all times when he’s rushing the passer.
First Step (9/10)
Ojabo doesn’t have to initiate the first contact with the offensive linemen. If he uses his speed off the ball to his advantage, he’s already in a winning position because he has enough bend and explosiveness to beat the tackle around the edge with ease.
For his height, Ojabo does an excellent job of getting underneath the tackle when he’s rounding the corner to the quarterback. He has absurd length, so seeing him do some of the things he does is truly amazing. There were plenty of occasions where he made the tackle look like a fool when they were trying to block him as he went around them like it was nothing.
Hand Usage (8.5/10)
Ojabo uses a rip move to his advantage regularly. Once the lineman has a grasp of him, he will likely try a rip move, or maybe even a hand to the shoulder of the offensive lineman, to try gaining any freedom from the lineman to gain an edge. The rip move paired with his speed and explosiveness is a dangerous combination for a young player just scratching the surface of what he could become.
Ojabo seemingly never gives up on a play. If the ball is going to the opposite side of the field, Ojabo will chase down the ball-carrier and catch him from behind regularly. A second effort would allow the young pass-rusher to wrap his arms around the quarterback, and he would take advantage of it and bring down the quarterback. The effort described here was on full display in the game against Wisconsin this year.
When Ojabo gets off blocks, he can make tackles with ease. While there were times it looked like he wouldn’t make the tackle, his speed was able to help him get to the ball carrier and finish off the play in the backfield or for a short gain. There were a few cases of some missed tackles from Ojabo, but this section is nothing too worrisome.
Strength at the LOS (7/10)
These next two categories are the downfall in Ojabo’s game as of the current moment. Due to him being as lean as he is, he seemingly gets blown off the line of scrimmage if the offensive lineman or tight end that’s blocking to him gets their hands on him. There were multiple occasions where Ojabo was thrown to the ground or blown up by a tight end or tackle in the run game. Once somebody has their hands on him in the run game, Ojabo almost catches them as they’re blocking him and can’t get out of the block.
Run Defense (7.5/10)
As said in the section prior, this is another trait that Ojabo needs to work on. He seemingly always catches the lineman when they are blocking him, which makes it a lot more difficult to try and make a play on the ball carrier. There were plenty of times where Ojabo would use his speed to his advantage and make a play on the runner before the blocker would reach him, but he would almost overshoot the runner, but it would save enough time for the other defenders to get to the ball-carrier. With more experience, these two traits will only get better.
Unfortunately, Ojabo’s weight will virtually only allow him to play as a 3-4 outside linebacker. While that is a bit of a downside and limits him to only certain teams potentially, it shouldn’t put a damper on his stock. Something intriguing was the fact that Ojabo was often tasked with covering running backs in the flat and did well. That’s something to look more into as he gets further into his career.
It is no wonder why many have fallen in love with Ojabo. He is a freaky physical specimen that is just scratching the surface of what he can become and would be a steal if he was taken at the current round grade. While there is plenty to work with, there are still areas where Ojabo could improve. Thanks to his freaky athleticism, there could be only a slight transition to the NFL. Unfortunately, some technical aspects of his game need to be improved, which isn’t surprising considering he is relatively new to the game.
His best areas fall in terms of his athleticism and motor. He never gives up on a play and is always in a position to catch the quarterback for a sack or the ball-carrier for a tackle. His biggest weaknesses are in run defense. What is insane is that Ojabo always has a knack for making a big play, whether that be a sack in a turning moment in the game or forcing a fumble. A team would be wise to start him off primarily as a pass-rush specialist early on in the season, but as time goes on, implement him on run downs to get more experience in that regard.
Rookie Projection: Pass-Rush Specialist
Third Year Projection: Potential All-Pro Pass-Rusher
Final Grade (86/100): Late First Round
Player Comp: Josh Allen