Instant Analysis: What draft experts think about Cowboys DT Osa Odighizuwa

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K.D. Drummond
·5 min read
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Osa Odighizuwa is a scheme versatile player who played the nose tackle in the UCLA 3-4 scheme. He is a former three-time state championship in high school and it shows with his leverage and ability to fight through blocks. He has a long and lean frame. He uses his long arms to extend and control blockers. He has natural power. Osa struggles when his pads get to upright and he needs to continue to develop as a pass rusher.

Dane Brugler, The Athletic

Link DT Rank: No.9 Grade: 4th

A three-year starter at UCLA, Odighizuwa played nose tackle in defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro’s 3-4 base scheme, seeing snaps everywhere from the zero to five technique positions. He became a starter as a sophomore and finished his career with more tackles for loss (27.5) than games started (27). A three time state champion wrestler in high school, Odighizuwa translates several of those traits (balance, toughness, leverage) to the football field, using his powerful hands and backfield vision to defeat blocks and pursue the football. As a pass rusher, he needs to weaponize his rush moves and trust his technique to unlock his ability. Overall, Odighizuwa needs to improve his efficiency as a pass rusher, but he has disruptive qualities with his length, power and quickness and he shouldn’t be scheme-dependent in the NFL.

Lance Zierlien, NFL.com

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"Tweener" with combination of size and athletic ability that lands him somewhere between base end and three-technique. Odighizuwa has experience playing in just about every alignment imaginable, so he could be ahead of the game from a playbook standpoint. He plays with excellent first-step quickness and good bend that gives him the early advantage as a gap worker and pass rusher. He lacks the mass and anchor strength to handle NFL power as a full-time interior defender. However, his spirited pass rush features quick, efficient hands and non-stop movement, which makes blockers work to keep him out of the gaps. He's rarely overwhelmed at the point of attack, so more mass and play strength could elevate him beyond a rotational backup with sub-package rush potential.

Pro Football Focus

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Osa Odighizuwa never lost a match in four years as a wrestler at Oregon’s David Douglas High School, per Pamplin Media Group. He won three state championships, beating Aloha High School’s Cortez Rodelo with a one-point escape and a takedown in sudden death to cap off one of the best high school wrestling careers in Oregon’s history. Considered a three-star defensive tackle recruit at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Odighizuwa received just one college offer and took it, following his brother, Owa, to UCLA. Odighizuwa had big shoes to fill in a Bruins uniform after his older brother's career at UCLA. But don't think Owa's lack of success in the NFL will spell the same for Osa. The younger Odighizuwa is much more of an interior player who's capable of consistently pushing the pocket. At only 280 pounds, Osa makes up for that lack of size with long arms and an exceptionally strong lower half. You'd never guess he's that light based on his tape. He often played a role for UCLA that wasn't particularly conducive to pass-rushing production, but he earned an 89.7 pass-rushing grade in true pass-rushing situations in 2020.

Drea Harris, The Draft Network

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First-Step Explosion: He plays with good initial quickness. He has an explosive get-off, which immediately threatens the offensive player. He also shows the emotional endurance to get off the ball hard late in games. Flexibility: He demonstrates the flexibility in his hips to use his pass rush moves on the edge. He also plays with good natural leverage when he is aligned inside. This allows him to get under the pads of the guard/center and push the pocket. Hand Counters: He uses his hands well as a rusher on the edge as well as inside. When his initial move has been thwarted, he uses his hands to counter back inside. He also shows good hand placement when he bull rushes. Hand Power: His hand power overall needs to improve. While he demonstrates good bull rush inside, there are moments where he struggles to disengage. He does have instances of showing good pop in his hands to jolt back the center or guard inside. Run Defending: Overall, his ability to defend the run is average. While he’s not a liability, he could certainly be more effective against the run. Especially considering the leverage he plays with along with the power he uses in his bull rush. Effort: He is a high-effort player who plays with a good motor. He demonstrates good initial quickness late in games. He also pursues the ball carrier when he is on the backside. Football IQ: He has had a couple moments of losing the football. There are also instances where his block recognition would have put him in better positions if he had deciphered it quicker. He does, however, easily sniff out screens—ultimately causing disruption in the backfield. Lateral Mobility: His lateral movement is OK and there's nothing alarming about it. He will, at times, struggle to disengage, which ultimately affects his lateral mobility. But he has athleticism and good movement skills. Functional Strength: He plays with good functional strength. This is evident with the push he gets inside as a bull rusher. He easily affects the depth of the pocket with his bull rush. Versatility: This player lacks true versatility due to his less than ideal size measurables. His skill set best suits him as a defensive end. He has reduced down inside in the past but may be a bit undersized for this role.

Where He FIts

He will be an rotational player that can play up and down the line of scrimmage and should help versus the run, area where the Cowboys struggled at last season. This was a quality depth piece that should earn his way into the rotation.

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