Joseph Ossai 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
Texas EDGE prospect Joseph Ossai is trending towards the top half of round one as analysts have recognised his athletic upside at the position. Take a look at Ossai's 2021 NFL Draft scouting report and see what makes this prospect such an exciting proposition for teams picking early on day one of the draft.
Joseph Ossai NFL Draft Profile
Joseph Ossai - Edge, Texas
Height - 6’4
Weight - 253lbs
Class - Junior
Hometown - Conroe, Texas
Ossai was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the US aged 10. Attended Conroe High School before transferring to Conroe Oak Ridge in his sophomore year and competed as a multi-sport athlete in soccer, track, basketball and football.
He started at safety but moved to weakside defensive end and was rated as 14th best defensive end in 2018 recruiting class. He was a 4-star recruit and saw immediate action as a freshman playing in 14 games starting in 2 including the AllState Sugar Bowl and was the team's leading tackler.
He started all 13 games as a sophomore achieving a team high 62 solo stops of which 13.5 were for a loss, 5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 1 pass break up. He continued showing up in big games being awarded MVP in the 2019 Alamo Bowl Vs Utah for his 9 tackles, 6 for a loss and 3 sacks. As a Junior he was semi-finalist for the Chuck Bednarik award and was named to the All BIG-12 First team.
In a shortened season he started in 9 games recording 55 tackles of which 16 were for a loss, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 pass break ups and 1 fumble recovery.
Ossai has an excellent athletic profile, he’s rangy with long powerful arms and moves well sideline to sideline with an impressive burst when attacking vertically. He possesses a red-hot motor and can always be seen around the ball or making his way to the ball even when he is positioned in another area of the field, the effort is not going to be a concern in the NFL.
When he squares up and tackles a runner from the backfield they stay hit and he has more than enough pace to chase down the backside of the line or play sideline to sideline. His tackle radius is above average, and he tends to bring a runner down when latched on, there are occasional inconsistencies with tackle angles mainly due to his urgency to get to the ball.
He has versatility having played at multiple positions during his career as a Longhorn but looks far more comfortable in his settled position at the outside linebacker spot. Whilst rushing the passer from the edge he looks far more effective as a stand-up rusher being able to explode and attack a gap rather than hand down at a wide position.
He has good punch in his hands and does a good job of keeping his body clean, with his long arms seeming to swat away attempts from a lineman to lay their hands on him. He prefers a push or pull move when facing a one on one with a tackle and looks to react to his opponents moves rather than looking to dominate by initiating contact.
He keeps his feet moving and is able to change direction quickly and disengage using a lineman's momentum in moving them off their spot and pulling his free arm over. He shows good bend and flexibility when aiming to attack the edge around a tackle’s outside shoulder, however this is not a polished move as yet but has the ability to improve in this area and add it to his pass rushing arsenal. He attacks and recognises gaps very impressively, this really stood out when watching him and he’s not slow in identifying a lost cause before looping inside to find another opportunity.
Does not have sufficient awareness to hold up consistently in coverage and should not currently be given man assignments. When backpedalling he looks unsure when to open his hips and looks far more comfortable keeping the game in front of him when dropping into short zones than spinning his hips and covering a receiver. He looks a little lost in space at times and struggles to locate a runner when attacking from deep.
Whilst attacking a backpedalling lineman he looks at home, but when the roles are reversed Ossai struggles to be as impactful in the run game. If the play is called in his direction, he struggles to disengage from pulling lineman and can get walled off far too frequently from the gap losing his body shape and balance.
He also needs to show more patience at times and maintain contain as he is 100mph on every play and can miss diagnose zone reads and over pursue, see above on bad tackle angles
When able to concentrate fully on outside linebacker in 2020 Ossai’s play improved, he was no longer tasked with play diagnosis and covering short zone crossing routes allowing him to line up either end of the line of scrimmage and attack the pocket. His strength at the next level is putting him in positions to succeed as a 3-4 outside linebacker allowing him to find the gaps along the line.
His landing spot will be scheme dependent, but he has real star potential at the next level and it would not surprise me to see him taken inside the top-15 of the 2021 NFL Draft due to the elevation of the edge position in the draft. Once he’s able to concentrate on a single position in the pros, his game should develop and thrive.
Top 20, 1st round selection
Texas Vs Iowa State - Cut Ups
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