Lacks the athleticism to be a 4-3 outside linebacker
Summary: Over the past two seasons, Ossai was one of the Big XII's more consistent and steadier edge defenders. He worked his way onto the field as a sophomore and totaled 90 tackles, five sacks, two interceptions and one pass defended. His tackle total dipped in 2020, mostly due to the reduced season, but the junior was a more consistent pass rusher even though his sack total did not grow. Ossai totaled 54 stops, five sacks, three forced fumbles and two passes batted in 2020. With two straight quality years of play, he opted to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ossai is a strong edge rusher who has a good motor and fights hard. He has the strength to shed and uses that power to put quarterbacks into the turf with some violence. Off the snap, Ossai has some speed and explosion in a straight line to get upfield. He is very stiff, however, and struggles to redirect. That stiffness makes it difficult for Ossai to dodge blockers and utilize some typical pass-rushing moves. Ossai does not have the size, moves, or wiggle to be a 4-3 defensive end, so he looks limited to being a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
Ossai is tough in the ground game and finds a way to contribute, as he pursues hard to the football and never quits on plays. With his straight-line quickness, Ossai shows an ability to get in on tackles from the backside. His strength helps him to hold up, and he should be a quality run defender as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Some 4-3 teams have Ossai graded on Day 3 in the 2021 NFL Draft because he is not a good fit for their defenses. He is a solid fit for 3-4 outside linebacker, however, and looks like a second-day pick for NFL teams that run a 3-4.
Player Comparison: Jarvis Jones. Ossai compares well with Jarvis Jones in that both are edge defenders who have some straight-line speed to go along with strength, but struggle with stiffness and are not fits for a 4-3 defense. Jones (6-3, 248) and Ossai are almost identical in size as well. While Jones was a bust, I think Ossai's motor and effort will make him a more effective pro, so he could be a better version of Jones and turn into a more solid contributor and a role player in the NFL.