Leading up to the NFL Draft, some mock drafts had the New York Giants taking Azeez Ojulari at eleven. After all, the Giants have been trying to work out their pass rush for the past few years and Ojulari entered the draft as one of the top prospects at that impact position. So it was quite surprising for most, then, when the Giants were able to pick up Ojulari outside the first round entirely.
They selected him with their second round pick after a surprising fall, but many analysts are still high on Ojulari’s prospects and believe the Giants gained a major steal.
On a list of every team’s smartest offseason move from Bleacher Report, selecting Ojulari was named the smartest move for the Giants.
The Giants will benefit from this gamble. If Ojulari goes through the 2021 campaign without any issues, he’s a candidate to log double-digit sacks. The 6’2″, 249-pounder can beat tackles with speed and great use of his hands on the edge. The rookie’s short-area quickness, coupled with his balance, allows him to stay in position for a sack on stunts.
With Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence on the interior of the defensive line, they’ll open lanes for Ojulari to squeeze through and collapse the pocket. He’s a Day 2 pick who should make an immediate impact in Year 1.
What makes the Ojulari pick a gamble?
The thing that caused Ojulari to fall out of the first round and muddied the waters around his draft stock is an injury rumor. Word came out about Ojulari’s knee not long before the draft, and teams seemed to take this seriously as the alleged knee problem was said to be serious.
Ojulari does have a history of knee injury from high school, but was otherwise healthy during his time at Georgia and initially appeared to be all clear entering the draft.
Giants GM Dave Gettleman, after drafting the player, claimed that the Giants don’t know where the rumors about Ojulari’s knee came from.
If this is the case, and those rumors were simply draft week smoke and mirrors that don’t amount to anything substantial, it looks like many of these predictions are right and the Giants did come away with a steal.
After all, not many other teams can say they were able to secure a potential top 10 prospect in the second round.