Owamagbe Odighizuwa (pronounced Oh-wah-MAH-bay Oh-DIGGY-zoo-wah) is a name that has garnered plenty of recognition lately, and also one that you probably can't pronounce. As a defensive end for UCLA, he was moved all over the line, but saw most of his time in the 5-technique. Despite dealing with the possibility of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh hitting free agency, it's possible that the best player available at No. 23 overall will be a DE rather than a DT.
Odighizuwa will turn 23 years old during draft month and had two hip surgeries that sidelined him for the entire 2013 season. He recovered and looked better than ever with a season high in tackles (59), tackles for loss (11.5) and sacks (6).
Odighizuwa posted some extremely impressive numbers during the combine that may have cemented his status as a first-round pick. He has the largest hands (11 inches) of any DE prospect this year and also posted the third-highest vertical jump (39 inches) and broad jump (127 inches).
Odighizuwa is one of the top edge-rushing prospects in this draft, and also one of my favorites to watch on tape. He differs from most other edge prospects because he wins with his strength rather than his speed.
Odighizuwa is a master of the bull-rush technique and uses it to perfection on this play. He's able to turn his speed into power and drive the left tackle back with one arm. He shows off his length and uses his off arm to deflect the pass, resulting in a pick-six. Odighizuwa displays good pad level off the snap, which allows him to get leverage and overpower his assignments.
Odighizuwa has an excellent motor and rarely gives up on plays. He puts together a perfect blend of brute strength and violent hand usage here, and it's nearly impossible for blockers to anchor and control him.
One more pass-rush example:
In the play above, he's able to push, pull and rip past the OT within a second of engaging and forces the QB to scramble.
The Bruins also moved him inside from time to time, and he showed some flashes as a DT from the 3-technique.
Odighizuwa shows off his versatility by moving inside on this play. He explodes off the line of scrimmage and swims past the right guard to force the QB out of the pocket.
The more I watch Odighizuwa, the more I believe that he'd be perfect in a closed-end role similar to Jason Jones for the Detroit Lions. He's not going to win around the edge often, but he can stuff the run and use his strength to get into the backfield.
Odighizuwa shows great awareness against the run and keeps his head up when engaging with blockers. He keeps his eyes peeled on the ball carrier and sticks an arm out to slow him down, eventually driving him into the turf for no gain.
As I previously stated, Odighizuwa has issues winning around the edge. This has a lot to do with the fact that he had two surgeries on his hip and missed the entire 2013 season because of it. He didn't have any issues with his hip that caused him to miss any action the following year, but you could tell he looked uncomfortable as a speed rusher. He often looks stiff when attempting to come around the edge and is unable to dip his shoulder to get underneath his assignment.
How He Fits
Odiggy across from Ziggy, need I say more? The Lions have publicly praised Jason Jones, saying they wouldn't consider releasing him or even hand him a pay cut. This may be true, but Jones is only under contract for one more year, and Odighizuwa could steal some serious playing time from him in the meantime.
In a perfect world, Odighizuwa would be used as a closed end to seal the edge and use his strength to occasionally disrupt the QB. This would also free up Kyle Van Noy -- assuming he develops into the edge rusher the Lions envisioned him to be -- to rush off the edge and make some plays.
Although it may not be as pressing of a need as defensive tackle, the Lions could still use some depth at defensive end. Luckily, Owa Odighizuwa can play both roles. And honestly, you can never have too many pass rushers. It's entirely possible that Odighizuwa will be the best player available on Martin Mayhew's board, and I would love to see Teryl Austin work with this kid.
2015 NFL Draft profiles: OT T.J. Clemmings (Pittsburgh), RB Duke Johnson (Miami [FL]), CB Eric Rowe (Utah), DT Michael Bennett (Ohio State), CB Quinten Rollins (Miami [OH]), DT Jordan Phillips (Oklahoma), OT Ereck Flowers (Miami [FL]), DT Malcom Brown (Texas), RB Jay Ajayi (Boise State)
Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave any suggestions of prospects you would like to be profiled in the comments below.