New York Giants: Azeez Ojulari named key rookie for 2021 season

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 took wide receiver Kadarius Toney in the first round, but it might be another player that makes the biggest instant impact in their fates during the 2021 season. Some are predicting that player to be outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari, the team’s second round pick who they took after a long fall out of a projected first round selection.

There’s a lot to like about Ojulari – he was projected to go as high as the top 10 in this year’s draft, shores up the pass rush which hasn’t been a deep area of the Giants defense for years, and adds more talent for a low price to a defensive line that was hurt by the loss of tackle Dalvin Tomlinson.

All of those things are reasons why Ojulari was named the pivotal rookie for the Giants in a recent list from NFL.com which included selections for every team.

Kadarius Toney might have been the Giants’ first-round pick, but he’s dealt with issue after issue over the last few months. Meanwhile, Ojulari is beginning to make his mark. Edge rusher Oshane Ximines just recently was activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list and has just five career starts to his name, so the opportunity is there for the taking. Ojulari can compete for starting reps and bolster the overall depth of a quality front.

Ojulari had one tackle in the preseason opener for the Giants and was praised particularly for the way he beat Jets tackle and higher draft pick from last year Mekhi Becton to do so.

He’ll likely have a growing role in coming games, and with Kadarius Toney struggling with different problems this offseason and taking a slower start to his career, Ojulari may just be the first Giants rookie this season to make his mark as an impact player.