David Ojabo Draft Profile
There is a huge need for speed rushers when quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, and Josh Allen are torching defenses with their legs. Luckily for one NFL team, Michigan Edge Rusher David Ojabo will be their guy. The big question mark around David Ojabo is his health. He, unfortunately, suffered a torn Achilles at his pro-day in March. He could be out for a while; he will most likely be on the PUP list to start the season. You know what they say, good things come to those who wait. For whatever team is willing to wait for Ojabo, I believe they’ll receive good things. Ojabo is a perfect answer for teams that are trying to prevent their defenses from being burned by athletic quarterbacks. While you know what you are going to get with Ojabo, he still has a lot of untapped potential that I will talk about later. Ojabo is a galvanizing prospect that will make whatever team drafts him very, very happy.
When watching Ojabo, it is no secret that he is a speed rusher. In my opinion, he is the best pure speed rusher in this year’s draft. While Thibodeaux and Hutchinson both win with speed a lot, I don’t consider them pure speed rushers. Ojabo is a pure speed rusher, it is both his go-to and best move. With that being said, we saw glimpses of him winning with other rushes and a lot of untapped potential. The three moves that I saw he was capable of doing are speed-to-power rushes, the spin move, and a crossover step. Ojabo also has a high motor and does not give up on his rushes. He is persistent and a rangy tackler. While he was mostly used as a two-down pass rusher at Michigan, he also showed that he was able to set the edge in the run game. He is able to run with running backs and receivers; it is hard to run reverses and outside zones on Ojabo. When tight-ends or lighter tackles block him, he has shown that he has no problem with throwing the blocker to the side and making a play in the backfield. If Ojabo falls in the draft due to his injury a good team is going to get a lot better because Ojabo will be a steal if his Achilles heals properly.
The biggest concern with Ojabo is his health; for all intents and purposes let’s assume he recovers and is perfectly healthy. On the field, his biggest concern has to be when facing a lineman with heavy hands in the run game. He is so fast; he just needs to learn how to unleash his speed against stronger offensive tackles. He also had a relatively low snap count because Michigan had such good depth on their defensive line. Not to mention, he never faced any double teams because of Aidan Hutchinson who played on the other side of him. These cons are a little nit-picky, the big thing is his health. If he can come back without missing a step, he should be a player that makes an impact as soon as he touches the field.
I am much higher on David Ojabo than the national media. He reminds me so much of Yannick Ngakoue; if he lands in the right spot I believe he can be an even better player than Ngakoue. I believe Ngakoue’s former team, the Baltimore Ravens, would be a perfect spot for Ojabo. He is going to fall in the first round because of his injury and this would be a classic Ravens pick at the end of the first round. The Patriots could also put him on the other side of Matthew Judon and have a special duo. If he really begins to slide, I could see the 49ers trading up in the second round and redshirting him behind Dee Ford and Nick Bosa. I think Ojabo is a top-15 player in this draft, but he will most likely slide for reasons that are outside of his control. Ojabo is going to be a really special player especially if he lands on a team where he can wait and fully recover.
Strength + Power: 5.75/8
Bend + Flexibility: 6.75/7
Run Defender: 5.75/7
Motor + Adaptability: 6.75/7
Pass Rush Moves: 4.75/6
Get Off: 5.25/6
Final Rating: 85
Pro Comparison: Yannick Ngakoue
Team Fits: Ravens, Patriots, 49ers
Draft Ranking: Top 15 Player
Draft Projection: Late First Round - Mid Second Round