New York Giants: Rookie EDGE Azeez Ojulari should have day-one impact

Jan 1, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Azeez Ojulari (13) celebrates after a sack against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second half of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants landed one of the biggest steals of the 2021 NFL Draft when they selected Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari in the second round. The Giants traded down from 42 overall to 50 overall and were still able to select Azeez despite his first-round draft projection. Some analysts even mocked him to the Giants at eleven overall.

Giants fans were ecstatic when Ojulari’s name was called with the 50th pick in the draft. Azeez Ojulari was a prospect with legitimate first-round talent. For the Giants, to land Ojulari and an extra third-round 2022 draft pick, made their day-two trade down one of incredible value.

Making the trade-down and second-round selection even more valuable, Azeez Ojulari is expected to be an instant-impact rookie for the Giants’ defense.

Why Azeez Ojulari will have an instant impact

The selection of Azeez Ojulari was one of those special cases where a top-talent filled a top-need for the Giants. New York has been looking for a top-tier pass-rusher off the edge over the last few years. They have invested plenty into the position, finding solid depth in later rounds and on the free agency market. However, the Giants have also dealt with injuries to their starting edge rushers, Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines.

Carter and Ximines are solid edge rushers but neither one has established themselves as premium rushers just yet. But Azeez Ojulari has the potential to be a premium pass-rusher very early on in his career. Azeez was the top edge rusher on Pro Football Focus’s pre-draft rankings. The Giants hit a home run when they landed the redshirt sophomore in round two.

Azeez Ojulari recorded an impressive 9.5 sacks in his breakout 2020 season. He also totaled 12.5 tackles for loss and an incredible 4 forced fumbles. Ojulari was credited with 35 pressures by PFF in 2020. He’s a bendy speed-rusher with a sick pass-rush move that beats down left tackles.

Azeez Ojulari has all the talent to become a top edge rusher in the NFL. But he is also a perfect scheme fit with the New York Giants, which will allow him to have an impact on day one. When discussing his transition into Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme, Azeez had this to say:

Yeah, it’s nice. They had some similarities between what I been doing at Georgia, so really it’s perfect. It’s great. It’s a great scheme for sure. – Azeez Ojulari on his first impressions of Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme

The New York Giants were in need of a consistent edge rusher in their starting defensive lineup. It appears they have found it with Azeez Ojulari.