Osa Odighizuwa
(David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

UCLA’s Osa Odighizuwa is an interesting prospect. The defensive tackle is physically undersized, but you’d never think that when watching him. His strength more than makes up for a light 279-pounds. Odighizuwa is an explosive athlete with traits similar to some of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. However, he isn’t fluid for a player with his lack of size. Will he be able to make a difference at the next level?

Based on his size one would expect him to be exceptional at getting after the quarterback, however, his college production suggests his strength lies in the run game. In four seasons at UCLA, Odighizuwa managed just 11.5 sacks, not poor but nothing special. When rushing the passer, he lacks consistent moves to get off his blocks. Once an offensive lineman gets their hands on him he struggles to get free. Developing more pass-rush moves is a must for success in the NFL, nothing good coaching can’t get done.

The run game is where Osa Odighizuwa will make his money. In college, he totaled 27.5 tackles for loss. Meaning that 16 times he got into the backfield and made a play on the running back. Odighizuwa uses his incredible 34-inch arms to leverage himself past the blocks getting into the backfield quickly. Despite going against players much larger than him, his hands and explosiveness allow him to make these kinds of plays.

Osa Odighizuwa was flying under the radar for the most part until the Senior Bowl. He quickly made a name for himself at Mobile. In one on one drills, Odighizuwa was by far the best defensive lineman. Winning on 45% of his 22 snaps was the best performance out of any lineman there. In an in-game rep, he managed an impressive strip-sack on Kellen Mond, showing off some pass-rushing ability scouts wanted to see out of him.

Odighizuwa has the makings of something special. He could put on a few extra pounds to hit 300 and be a dominant run-stuffer. He could stay at his size and develop more as a pass-rusher and collapse the pocket on the interior. NFL coaches should see a project with plenty of potential. Expect him off the board by the third round, but don’t underestimate him.

Teams such as the Packers or the Jaguars could use an interior presence such as Odighizuwa. Lining up opposite of Kenny Clark in Green Bay would give Odighizuwa ample opportunity to perform in one on one situations. Or being a raw athlete on an up-and-coming team like the Jags would give Urban Meyer a future stud on his young defensive line.

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