Owamagbe Odighizuwa, the versatile defensive lineman from the UCLA Bruins, enters the 2015 NFL Draft after a healthy and productive 2014 campaign. He finished last season as a Second Team All-Pac12 performer, totaling 61 tackles, 11.5 TFL and 5 sacks. He started all 13 games and was named the team’s co-captain. Odighizuwa missed all of 2013 because of two hip surgeries that sidelined him for the year. For his career, he totaled 128 tackles, 24.5 TFL and 16.5 sacks. He was considered a 5-star high school prospect and a top-10 overall recruit, regardless of position. He will be 23 years old on Draft day. Physically, Odighizuwa possesses ideal length (nearly 34″ arms) and overall mass to succeed as a 43 DE. He possesses a strong frame with good thickness throughout; plays with explosive strength and leverage, showcasing the kind of quick and violent hands required to keep an NFL offensive tackle at bay. Odighizuwa has the speed necessary to beat the tackle to the corner while also possessing the coordination and body control to turn his shoulders and get to the quarterback. While he lacks ideal flexibility and bend, he’s explosive and powerful enough to disrupt the pocket and finish a play. As a pass rusher, Odighizuwa displayed a variety of rush moves, including a powerful club and rip, bull rush, and an effective swim move. He displayed cat-like quickness when crossing his opponent’s face, and constantly had opposing linemen on skates. Odighizuwa plays with great hand technique, jolting the lineman in the chest and shedding en route to the quarterback. His hands pack a heavy punch and are the key to his ability to penetrate. He is relentless en route to the passer; He has a high motor and plays with effective activity. He has very few wasted steps or movements. In the run game, Odighizuwa plays with a good overall I.Q. and is effective both when run at and when the play’s away from him. He’s strong enough to stack, shed, and tackle the runner. He’s big enough to create trash when he’s hung up at the POA, and he’s quick enough to get down the LOS an make a play from behind. He’s a relatively reliable finisher, but he needs to build some consistency in completing the tackle. Odighizuwa will have some major questions regarding his medical history; his hip concerns will give many teams pause.
BOTTOM LINE: Owamagbe Odighizuwa is one of the most promising prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft. He has the size and athletic ability to play up and down the LOS, with his best and most natural fit coming as a DE in a 43 front. His length and power will be an asset against both the run and pass. While his college production left a bit to be desired, he was constantly in the opposing quarterback’s face and had an impact that goes well beyond the box score. On the next level, Odighizuwa has a chance to be a true sack artist who consistently records double-digit sack totals. In addition, his well-rounded game suggests that he can become a star. The only thing holding him back is the status of his medicals (hips).
GRADE: 8.5 (High-First Round)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)