New York Giants: Azeez Ojulari could have field day week 1 if he plays his cards right

new york giants, azeez ojulari
Jan 1, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Azeez Ojulari (13) sacks Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) for a safety on the games final play during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will take on the Denver Broncos in week one of the 2021 regular season after the schedule dropped on Wednesday evening. While Denver represents a surprise opponent compared to their usual suspects, the Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles, it should be a competitive game. We shouldn’t underestimate the talent that Denver contains, despite their issues at the quarterback position. They have an extremely deep defense with a stellar secondary and adequate pass rushers in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

This game will be no pushover, but the Giants have an opportunity to expose a few weaknesses that the Broncos do have, specifically on the offensive line. As they try to piece together their right tackle position, Denver signed former Giant Cam Fleming to a one-year, $3.67 million deal.

According to Mike Klis of 9News, the Denver Broncos signed former Giants OT Cam Fleming to compete at right tackle, which opens up the door for a slaughterhouse if rookie OLB Azeez Ojulari plays his cards right.

The New York Giants have already experienced the Fleming experiment:

When the Giants signed Fleming last year, they believed he could be a solid stopgap as they developed some of their other talents. Having spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Fleming had experience with Jason Garrett and head coach Joe Judge in New England years ago. He started all 16 games for the Giants last year but struggled considerably in a majority of his appearances. He allowed six sacks and 35 total pressures, also giving up seven penalties, three of them coming against Cincinnati in a single game.

Ultimately, Fleming is a liability, which is why the Giants let him walk without hesitation. They managed to lower the price tag of Nate Solder and still hMatt Peart coming back for a second season of the NFL after showing promise as a run blocker in 2020.

However, the hope is that Fleming will be starting at RT for Denver in week one, which could open the door for rookie Azeez Ojulari and his abilities.

Ojulari ranked first in the SEC last season in sacks with 9.5 and forced fumbles with four. He is a stellar pass rusher that already contains a few premier pass rush moves: a deadly extension-chop that uses his arm to create space between himself and his assignment and then utilizing a nasty chop to smack away the inside hands.

He will undoubtedly translate that move to the NFL, and with sufficient speed, he should overwhelm a player like Fleming, especially with Leonard Williams/Dexter Lawrence by his side.

If the Giants’ defensive line can get off to a hot start in week one, it will set the tone for the rest of the season. Ojulari is expected to make an impact on day one as a starter, so offering him an easier opponent to work with is exactly what the Giants need to help develop their rookie 2nd round pick.