Prospect of the Day: Owamagbe Odighizuwa

Take a look at Owamagbe Odighizuwa's football career at UCLA.

UCLA DE/OLB Owamagbe Odighizuwa
6'3", 267 lb.
Senior

Bio
Rated as the No. 8 national prospect by Rivals.com as a senior
Rated as the No. 2 defensive end by Rivals.com
Registered 90 tackles and 10 sacks as a senior
Registered 96 tackles and 22 TFL as a junior
Parade Magazine All-Americans
Lettered in basketball and track/field in HS as well.

Honors
Elected team captain for 2014 season
Named to Academic All-Conference team (2014)
2nd Team All-Pac 12 (coaches)
Tied for team lead with 11.5 TFL (2014)
Wellman Award winner for All-Around Excellence (2014)
UCLA Captains Award recipient (2014)
Was UCLA's Maggie Gilbert Academic Achievement Award winner (2012)

Combine Measurements
Arms: 33 ¾"
Hand: 11"
40-yd dash: 4.62 secs
Bench Press (reps of 225): 25
Vertical Jump: 39"
Broad Jump: 10'7"
3-cone drill: 7.36 secs
Short Shuttle: 4.19 secs
Long Shuttle: 11.75 secs

Overall
Injured all of 2013, there was literally no buzz around Odighizuwa heading into 2014. With the superstars the Bruins had on defense, it wasn't hard to see why. OLB Myles Jack was coming off one of the most impressive two way seasons any player has had, much less a freshman. DT Eddie Vanderdoes was a 5-star recruit that found his way into the starting lineup as a rookie. ILB Eric Kendricks was in the process of building a strong NFL resume like his brother, Mychal who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. Even DT Ellis McCarthy was a guy that many thought had potential.

So, not much was expected from Odighizuwa but by the end of the season, his name was held in the same regard as though mentioned above. When I watched the opening two games of the 2014 season, I wanted to watch Jack, Kendricks and company but No. 94 kept flashing with build and power. He was a menace v. the run and there were few teams that blocked him effectively. His stellar 2014 campaign earned him a trip to the Senior Bowl where he continued his fine play and also did some work at OLB. At 267 lb., with his physical gifts, there's no limit to what he can do on the edge. But, is he fluid enough to be a multi-use 3-4 OLB - rushing, dropping and playing the run effectively? Will he improve as a pass rusher, putting together a solid repertoire of pass moves? Well, let's take a look.

Texans analyst and radio sideline reporter John Harris unveiled his top 100 prospects for the NFL Draft. (Photos courtesy of AP)

Quote
"He can obviously rush. He's probably our best run defender. He's special. He's very unique." - former UCLA Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich

"It was awesome. I've been long waiting for that. I was just happy to be out there working on my moves, showing everybody I'm here to make an impact for this team and this defense" - Odighizuwa just after the 2014 Spring game, his first action in over a year - he did a little more than just make an impact on that UCLA team.

What to like
--Compact and powerful, doesn't look like he's nearly 270 lb.
--Athletic redirect - wow. v. Texas, the Horns tried to run him upfield and run a slip screen behind him, but he burst upfield, planted his foot when he recognized screen, turned and ran the RB down from behind...for a one yard gain.
--Has Inspector Gadget arms that just keep going and going - length!!
--Relentless hunter - he won't stop until he gets to finish the QB
--Good strength in those oven mitts for hands he has.
--When he recoils and delivers, WOW, he's got some power.
--When it's time to hunt, i.e. the ball is snapped on a certain passing situation, his burst off the ball is ridiculous.

What needs some work
--Has violence in his hands but needs to understand exactly how to use them - gets locked on blocks more than he should against tight ends.
--When asked to do some different movement/bag drills at the Senior Bowl, he was awkward and stiff for much of it.
--Got to learn to close running lanes when playing defensive ends. Can't just stonewall blocks, have to take the blocker back into the hole.
--Not a pass rushing savant though - has to master a few pet moves to become polished, well-rounded rusher - threw a spin move v. UVa LT and it was just awkward. If he doesn't win with stab move or power, he's probably not getting there.

Projection
Quite frankly of all of the pass rushers that I've seen, Odighizuwa might be the freakiest of the freaky. Power? Check. First step? Check. Length? Check. Motor? Check. Pass rushing acumen? Well, that needs some work and that could give some teams pause heading into days one and two of the draft. Put Vic Beasley's pass rush abilities in O.O's body and we're talking about a top two pick in the draft. The question is whether Odighizuwa's pass rush prowess can be learned or whether what you see is what you'll get.

Complicating matters, he did have hip surgery in 2013, so how does that play into his long term effectiveness? And, as I mentioned above, I'm not totally sure that he can play OLB day one, but he might be an effective one before long. He plays the run exceptionally well, but he has to consistently turn it loose off the edge, if his body allows. Teams wanted to see him play OLB at the Senior Bowl, at the Combine etc...we'll know before long what some teams thought of his potential to make that transition.

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