Giants OLB Azeez Ojulari already breaking franchise records to start rookie season

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Azeez Ojulari chases down Taylor Heinecke
Azeez Ojulari chases down Taylor Heinecke

It's hard to pinpoint positives about the Giants at the moment following a horrible loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. But it's good to see that one of them is from the 2021 NFL Draft class.

Azeez Ojulari quietly broke a franchise record in Week 3, as he became the first player in Giants history to record a sack in the first three games of his career. Lawrence Taylor didn't even do that.

Of course, we're not going to compare Ojulari to Taylor, but it is worth noting that he is the first player to do this since Cleveland Browns' No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett did it back in 2017.

"I'm just doing whatever they want me to do," Ojulari said on Monday. "Playing my heart (out), playing my best, playing my heart (out) there. Just whatever comes to me, make the plays that come my way. I'm just trying to do what I've got to do and do my part."

His best sack was on Matt Ryan on Sunday, as it was textbook technique off the edge, shoving the right tackle to the side and breaking inside to locate the quarterback. Then, instead of just going for the hit, Ojulari went for the ball first and recorded a strip sack and Tae Crowder fell on it for the turnover.

In all three sacks, though, you notice the motor that the Giants loved when he was drafted. He never gives up on the ball until the whistle is blown. Look at this one against the Washington Football Team:

Ojulari breaks contact with the right tackle again here, but Taylor Heinecke is trying to sprint away. His speed and long arms grab him in an instant for a big loss.

The Giants took a bit of a risk by trading down in the second round, hoping that Ojulari would fall to them and they were right. They scooped him up and he's been going to work every day at practice ever since.

And those reps are paying dividends early for a pass rush that desperately needs some consistency. Remember, for years the Giants prided themselves on having a formidable defensive front, but that hasn't been the case for some time now. Ojulari was brought in to help change that along with the Leonard Williams re-signing, and the rookie has the stats to prove it.

His 92.2 Pro Football Focus grade for the week was a Giants high and those three sacks lead all rookies. But Ojulari is never content and knows that he has film that other teams can watch now.

Not to mention offensive tackles in this league aren't college level.

"Everyone in this league is good and athletic," Ojulari said, adding that he has had moments where he thought a pass rush move would work and it didn't. "The tackles are bigger, stronger, faster. Everyone is athletic in this league and they can adjust to different things. You basically, really (have) to bring your A-game every single time. Every rep you get, every rush you get, you've got to bring your best out there."

The Giants may need to fix many things on both sides of the ball, but defensively, Patrick Graham hasn't had to worry about the team's second-round pick.

Ojulari is already making his presence known in the blue and white jersey.