BJ Ojulari a 1st-rounder in this mock draft from ESPN

It wasn’t exactly the season we expected to see from BJ Ojulari.

The junior team captain earned the No. 18 jersey and was seen as one of the nation’s top edge rushers. Due to a number of factors, including the emergence of true freshman Harold Perkins, it wasn’t the biggest year for Ojulari.

Still, he’s coming off a career-best 58-tackle season, though his tackles for loss (8.5) and sack (5.5) numbers decreased a bit. He also forced a fumble and had a fumble recovery.

Despite the semi-quiet season, Ojulari unsurprisingly declared for the 2023 NFL draft, and per the latest mock from ESPN’s Jordan Reid, he’s the top available LSU player and a projected first-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 30 overall.

The Chiefs could enter the offseason with question marks at both tackle spots, but the value is better here for a defensive end. Frank Clark might be headed out of town, and Carlos Dunlap was only on a one-year deal. Even after drafting George Karlaftis in 2022, the Chiefs still need players in the front seven who can generate consistent pressure. Ojulari’s specialty is getting to the quarterback, thanks to great flexibility, bend and burst to corner. He’d be best used as a standup outside linebacker, though he could slot in right away opposite of Karlaftis as Kansas City’s weakside end.

Coach Brian Kelly raved about Ojulari’s leadership both on and off the field, and the intangibles paired with his raw talent should make up for his slightly disappointing production this fall.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire