Azeez Ojulari 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Georgia’s exciting end Azeez Ojulari will be a name high on the big board of most scouts this April, but is he much more than just a speed rusher? Let us take a look Azeez Ojulari’s 2021 NFL Draft scouting report and see where he projects in next month’s showpiece event.
Azeez Ojulari NFL Draft Profile
Azeez Ojulari, Edge - Georgia
Height - 6’3''
Weight - 240lbs
Class - Redshirt Sophomore
Hometown - Marietta, Florida
Azeez Ojulari was a four-star recruit from his hometown Marietta High School. He was selected to the prestigious U.S Army All-American Bowl in 2018 and was named number 10 overall weakside defensive end nationally.
He sustained a knee injury in his senior High School Season and redshirted his freshman season with Georgia, however he appeared in the Sugar Bowl Vs Texas.
In 2019 he played in all 13 games finishing with a team high 5.5 sacks and 34 QB pressures. He was named as one of the team captains for the Tennessee game becoming the first freshman to do so in Kirby Smart’s tenure.
In 2020 he was a semi-finalist for the Chuck Bednarik award and named to the SEC All Second Team. He started all 10 games finishing with 12.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks, which topped the SEC, he also led the team with 35 QB pressures. Named Defensive MVP in the Chick-fil A Peach Bowl Vs Cincinnati. He was named as a captain for the Alabama, Miss State & S. Carolina games.
Ojulari represented his school in the SEC Community Service Team, this honour goes to players recognised for their non-profit service within their community.
Azeez Ojulari provides versatility as he lines up either side of the line in a 3-point stance or standing up. He looks more at home standing up allowing a full run to attack his opponent.
Early on in his career he was primarily on the edge for Georgia, but his 2020 tape showed him drop into coverage on a handful of plays, whilst he doesn’t look totally natural in space he stuck to his assignments in short zone keeping eyes on the QB.
He has a consistently high motor and good discipline rarely committing false start penalties.
He has surprising strength and pop in his hands which is clearly an area of improvement when looking at previous game film from 2018, he uses these far more consistently this season keeping his body clean from a tackles initial punch.
He has a nice cross chop move which is his go to pass rush plan which he utilises in a number of ways at the engagement point with a tackle, showing a good understanding of angles when attacking.
He shows sufficient play diagnosis in the run game and is able to keep his eyes on the ball at the mesh point with QB and RB in zone read plays. He has shown to be a consistent wrap up tackler, however when defending the edge there are times when he’ll attack and hold an edge too wide leaving too much daylight in the B gap to his inside, leaving his linebacker exposed in space.
His initial strength was a surprise due to his lean frame and he does a nice job disengaging from blockers when a player tries to break to the outside.
Shows true natural edge bend, full lower body flexion when turning corner and angling body maintaining balance, uses his body angle well from rushing wide attacking the half body of a tackle. His first step is extremely sudden, and you can see the respect opposing tackles give him by the depth of their drop, and his timing and burst are excellent with good stop start quickness.
His 2020 tape showed a huge improvement in his strong-arm initial engagement and the uses of hand swats, pulls and rips. He backs himself too often to win with speed which can be devastating but he must mix and vary his attack as there’s no true power to his game yet. In certain games like Vs Auburn 2020 he put it all together, and against SEC competition week in week out he constantly appeared in the backfield hurrying the QB.
Whilst his run support is adequate and he’s far from a liability he can be exposed by pulling guards and gets moved backwards too easily, his narrow base has shown at times to be a weakness.
To consistently play all three downs at the next level he’ll need to show he can pick up pulls and locate the ball and disengage consistently from blocks. When he does his pursuit is full of effort and he’s quick to chase down runners.
Rarely gains penetration on short yardage situations when asked to crash the middle of the line, simply doesn’t have the lower body power to push the line of scrimmage.
Doesn’t have any true counter in his pass rush arsenal, once his initial move is stopped, he squares up too quickly allowing lineman to lay their hands on his chest too easily. He then tries to “jolt” himself free. Would love to see him learn a spin move to implement at the top of a tackle’s drop as I think it could be devastating seeing how well he finds the outside edge of a tackle.
Ojulari’s strength is attacking the outside shoulder. When he tries to go inside the move is far too telegraphed with an elaborate feign and shoulder drop, he must find a different way of breaking into this move without such a major “tell”.
Shown inconsistency in diagnosing screen plays and if I’m being extra critical, I’d like to see him get arm up to bat a pass at the line of scrimmage, he gets in position and did it against Alabama twice in the 2020 game so he’s more than capable.
A worrying trend on tape is at times when he bounds in on his pass rush both his feet tend to leave the ground, this needs to be coached out of him early on as this has no future at the next level and won’t end well against strong established NFL tackles.
A slight concern when watching full game highlights is that it is noticeable how often he’s removed from the field. Further analysis shows he’s never played more than 52 snaps in a game. This gives an element of “always being fresh” compared to his opponent.
Ojulari’s 2018 & 2019 tape was raw but he’s taken huge strides in 2020 in a full SEC schedule against strong competition week in week out.
He is an exciting prospect that needs a rotational pass rush role from wide alignment early on in his career and needs to gain functional strength and more importantly power to play all three downs.
Due to the true lack of size and length he must show both speed and power to win at the next level. There are maddening games like those against LSU in 2019 where he simply had no answer to Saadiq Charles but the vast jump in 2020 is noticeable as the trend for improvement has occurred each year.
He’s a hugely exciting prospect due to the natural pass rush ability he shows with first step quickness and bend.
His landing spot will be crucial to his success and there needs to be a development plan for him, but the potential is there by his athletic traits.
I expect him to be picked in the latter half of the 1st round but it would not surprise me if a team falls in love with his potential and he goes in the early teens. I’m hugely excited to see his growth as he’s so natural bending and attacking the edge and can’t wait to see his landing spot.
Azeez Ojulari NFL Draft Projection
1st Round, picks 17-32
Ojulari is currently our 5th ranked defensive edge prospect. See our full edge rankings here.
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Georgia Vs Auburn - Broadcast Cutups
Georgia Vs Alabama - All 22 Cutups
Georgia Vs Florida - All 22 Cutups
Georgia Vs LSU - All 22 (Cut Ups)
Georgia Vs Tennessee - https://youtu.be/yynKO67O524
Georgia Vs Texas (Sugar Bowl) - https://youtu.be/yZ_F2X8H3Zc