By Charlie Campbell
Summary: In recent years, Michigan has produced a lot of good NFL prospects on the defensive line. The Wolverines have had some freaky athletes and speed rushers, like Rashaan Gary, Taco Charlton, Chase Winovich, Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson. Thus, it took some time for Ojabo to see the field for the Wolverines. With Paye moving onto the NFL after being a first-round pick by the Colts, Ojabo took over as the end opposite Hutchinson in 2021 and put together a breakout season. On the year, Ojabo collected 11 sacks, 35 tackles, five forced fumbles and three passes defended.
Ojabo has the speed and strength to be a tough battle for offensive tackles at the next level. As a pass rusher, Ojabo can burn tackles with his speed and explosiveness off the ball. He can also then translate that speed to power. Ojabo flashes the ability to use his hands and feet at the same time nicely and agility to redirect to the inside or sink his hips while running the loop on the outside. Ojabo also is superb at slapping at the ball while taking the quarterback down. His natural instincts to go for the strip sack are phenomenal.
Ojabo could help himself improving his hand usage because he can struggle to get a tackle’s hands off of him. Given the skill set of pro tackles, Ojabo could use more refinement with his pass-rushing moves. That would leave him with more options for attacking tackles.
Ojabo is also a decent run defender considering he weighs less than 260 pounds. He flashed the ability to get off blocks and flow to the ball=carrier. Ojabo still needs get better at defending downhill runs coming straight at him.
For the NFL, Ojabo’s best fit could come as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he also has the potential to be a 4-3 defensive end. In a 4-3, it could make sense to rotate him a fair amount as offensive tackles who have a 50-70 pound advantage could wear him out. Keeping Ojabo fresh as a pass rusher and available to make an impact in the fourth quarter would require a rotation.
Unfortunately for Ojabo, he tore his Achilles at Michigan’s pro day. That injury could cost him – alongside a lot of money – his rookie season and will cause him to slide to the second day of the draft, at the highest. Ojabo could end up being a third-round pick. The highest he couple possibly hope to go would be the second round, and he could slide to the fourth round. Once Ojabo gets back to his pre-injury form, he looks like a future starter in the NFL with the potential to be a dangerous quarterback hunter.
Player Comparison: Chandler Jones. From a skill-set perspective, Ojabo kind of reminds me of Jones. Jones (6-5, 265) and Ojabo are similarly sized, and Ojabo will probably top out around Jones’ weight. Both are fast edge rushers with developed strength to defend the run. Jones went in the back of the first round in 2012, and Ojabo could’ve gone in that range before hi injury. If Ojabo turns into a good pro, I could see him being a similar style player to Jones.
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