DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo calls playing for Texans is a ‘dream come true’

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The past year has been amazing for Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.

The former 2018 fifth-round defensive end from Oklahoma played in a career-high 13 games, notching 15 combined tackles, six tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, 2.0 sacks, and two forced fumbles to help the Los Angeles Rams complete their season with a Super Bowl victory.

As the Rams let the four-year veteran test free agency, the former Alief Taylor product returned to his hometown by signing with the Houston Texans.

“It feels amazing,” Okoronkwo told reporters at organized team activities at Houston Methodist Training Center. “It’s a dream come true to be able to come from what we did last year in Los Angeles and to be able to come home. It’s a dream come to.”

Coach Lovie Smith is pleased to add Okoronkwo to the defensive line and take advantage of the 6-1, 253-pounder’s quickness off the edge.

“We added him to our mix because he has excellent speed, he plays hard every down, and we’re always looking for defensive linemen that can rush the passer,” said Smith. “Everything I’ve seen from him, he’s exactly who we wanted and thought he would be. Local flavor ain’t all bad.”

What Okoronkwo appreciates about Smith’s “very pass rusher friendly defense” is how the system rewards trench defenders who work hard.

Said Okoronkwo: “If you can pass rush and you can run around and you are real relentless, nasty player, this defense will work really well for you.”

The Texans’ sack leader was defensive end Jonathan Greenard with 8.0 through 12 games last season. However, the nearest defender only had 4.0 sacks in defensive end Jacob Martin. If Greenard is to be the feature edge rusher in Smith’s scheme, it will take more production from the rest of the unit to pressure quarterbacks into making bad decisions. Okoronkwo seeks to be a part of that corps.

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