New York Giants landed an instant-impact pass rusher in Azeez Ojulari, what does he offer?

new york giants, azeez ojulari

After a season where the outside linebacker position struggled for the New York Giants, they made it a priority to bolster the unit with further talent. Drafting Azeez Ojulari out of Georgia and Elerson Smith out of Northern Iowa, the Giants now have a few more options to work with on the defensive line.

Despite watching Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines fall to injury in 2020, the Giants still managed 40 sacks, which ranked 12th in the NFL. Thanks to phenomenal performances by Leonard Williams and the interior pass rush, the Giants walked away content with their defense.

However, it is necessary to have a dominant edge rusher to build around, and Ojulari represents a player with immense upside at just 20 years old. The fact that the Georgia stand-out dropped to 50th overall is astounding, and the Giants might’ve walked away with a steal of the draft after Ojulari was being mocked to them at 11 just a few weeks ago.

In fact, Ojulari ranked first in the SEC last year with 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. He also tallied 12.5 tackles for a loss and 31 total tackles. He has incredible bend around the edge and very solid speed-to-power moves — he has a refined chop move that he uses with violence. Entering the NFL with a perfect pass-rush move will prove to be huge for his development, but refinement is still on the horizon.

CBS believes the Giants landed a steal at 50th overall, and I would tend to agree:

Ojulari did not deserve to have to wait until the 50th pick in the 2021 draft to hear his name called. He was a consistent pressure-creator as a 20-year-old rusher in the SEC at Georgia. And, I get it — the safe assumption with a 6-2, 249-pound edge defender is that he gets worked against the run.

That’s not the case with Ojulari. He sets a mean edge and can rip through blockers to make impact plays in the backfield against the run. But of course the main reason he was selected by the Giants was to get after the quarterback, and the former Bulldogs star has the first-step burst, bend around the corner, speed-to-power conversion, and just enough pass-rushing moves to be a high-caliber pressure-generator in the NFL.

Overall, adding competition to a unit that was considered weak before the draft was a great move for the Giants. General manager Dave Gettleman elected to take a BPA approach toward the draft, adding draft capital while also injecting instant impact players on both sides of the ball. Wide receiver Kadarius Toney and Ojulari represent two playmakers who can contribute immediately, which is exactly what the Giants needed at positions of weakness.

Big Blue now has a respectable wide receiver corps and optimistic OLB unit, two positions that were devastated by inadequacy and injury last year.

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