NFL Draft: Biggest Potential Steals in This Year’s Class
Luke Easterling of Draft Wire breaks down three prospects that can be drafted on Day 2 or 3 but have an immediate impact.
It didn’t seem possible a month ago. But the closer we get to NFL draft day, the more likely Michigan looks. football edge rusher David Ojabo goes into the first round Thursday night.
Ojabo is not holding back, not after tearing his Achilles tendon in his professional training in March. But longtime NFL reporter Peter King gave Ojabo the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their only mock draft on Monday, and there is growing speculation that a team picking late in the first round will take the projectable pass rusher to ensure it has Ojabo’s services for five years.
Rookies sign pre-set four-year contracts, but teams have a fifth-year option for players chosen in the first round.
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“I think he’s more likely to go in the second round, just so you know, but it wouldn’t shock me if a team took him at the end of the first simply because you have the fifth year option and you’re trying to get four years worth. him, knowing you’re probably not going to get much, if anything from him as a rookie,” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said last week. “But once he takes the field and assumes he’s back in full force, you’ve got a serious pass rusher. A guy who can come in and, even as he continues to develop his hands and be more in sync with all of his moves. move and put together the pass rush plan, it will only get better and better as a pass rusher.”
Ojabo was projected as a top 20 pick before tearing his Achilles tendon on March 18 in a pro day pass practice.
He caught a pass and turned up the field to simulate an interception return, then dropped to the ground holding his left leg.
baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh predicted at the NFL’s annual meeting that Ojabo will return to play sometime in the 2022 season, and recent history suggests that could be the case.
Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers tore his Achilles tendon last July and returned to play at the end of the team’s regular season six months later. AND Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo played 10 games last year after tearing his Achilles tendon in January.
The Colts selected Odeyingbo in last year’s second round, number 54 overall. He was considered a borderline first-round pick before the injury and finished with six tackles and a half sack as a rookie.
“I think (Odeyingbo has) a chance to be a very good player for them, and I thought he had a chance to be a first-round player before this injury,” said the analyst and former SiriusXM player. Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said. “David, I thought, would probably go top 10 or well on the bubble, so if you get the chance to pull that player in round two, you’re getting a talent in round one, you do it all day. If you can have him on the football field in December and hopefully in January with (a good team), it’s worth it.”
In his mock draft, King wrote that “four teams are intensely interested” in Ojabo, and one is having “some significant medical tests done on him over the next two days, to see how his recovery is progressing and to judge if he can play, maybe too late this season.”
The Kansas City bosses and green bay The Packers are playoff contenders with multiple picks at the end of the first round, and both have pass rush needs. The detroit The lions, if they don’t catch an edge rusher in 2nd place overall, have the last pick of the first round and the second pick of the second round.
McShay warned that there is a risk of taking Ojabo early.
Ojabo had 11 sacks last season while playing potential No. 1 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, but was a college-year collaborator and is considered a liability as a running defender. As a rookie, especially considering the time he will lose, he will likely be relegated to playing in a designated pass rush role.
Still, the ESPN analyst said it wouldn’t surprise him to see Ojabo leave the board early.
“He’s so naturally gifted with his explosive output, the spin motion, how fast he is and sudden, the change of direction,” McShay said. “The final blast is outrageous. So there’s a lot to work with. He’s not going down in the second round. I think he’s more likely to go in the second, but there are so many factors in terms of losing the first year and then knowing that when you bring him back on the field, you still have to develop what you need to do before you feel good about him being a starter. Even in Michigan, he was a starter, but he went off the field a lot more than Hutchinson did and generally those were low-yard situations, early drops, heavier situations. And I think that will be the case during his first year, which could be 2023.”