The Falcons attempted to focus on perfecting their pass rush last season, but it still isn’t as solid as it should be.
Scott Carasik of Falcons Wire believes Atlanta picking an edge at No. 4 could solve a “nearly decade-long need for an elite pass rusher.”
It’s also notable that Falcons GM Terry Fontenot made it very clear that he and Arthur Smith are staying open to “all possibilities” when it comes to their No. 4., which includes trading up or down. By trading down, the Falcons would select Georgia Bulldog product Azeez Ojulari.
Some might think the Falcons would be crazy to miss out on a top 5 quarterback, but if Matt Ryan is staying around, then they could grab a second-round quarterback and still luck out.
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Azeez Ojulari’s Scouting Report
Azeez stands at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, and is coming off a 2020 season where he recorded 30 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 8.5 sacks, 16 QB hurries, 3 fumbles forced, 2 pass deflections in a total of 10 games. He also earned himself Second Team All-SEC.
According to scouts, Ojulari’s frame isn’t what you would typically look for in an NFL defender but he makes up for it with his quickness and power.
Here’s Pro Football Focus‘ scouting report on Azeez:
Ojulari has good density even for his size, and he packs a surprising amount of power and suddenness into his frame. He’s incredibly explosive off the line of scrimmage. He also has the bend to flex around the edge once he gets a step on his man. Although his explosiveness can sometimes carry him too far past the pocket, allowing linemen to wash him out of the play, Ojulari has the raw traits you want on the edge. He also compounds them with a few more exciting tools.
By virtue of his frame, Ojulari isn’t the longest edge defender out there. However, he mitigates a lot of length concerns with his impressive control and hand usage. Ojulari’s hands are fast and powerful, and his initial strikes can be precise and well-timed. The Georgia edge defender has an understanding of where to attack linemen as he accelerates around the corner. He’s a dense ball of energy as a rusher, whose amped-up play style makes him a dangerous player.
Ojulari’s natural twitch also makes him a formidable foe in those battles. Linemen often have better length than he does, but his quickness, precision, and willingness to engage help split the difference. Ojulari also displays the ability to convert his explosiveness into power. For a player with his frame, that will be key at the NFL level.
Carasik also notes that Ojulari would mix in well by joining Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun, and Grady Jarrett on the line as the fourth key piece of a blitz package that new defensive coordinator Dean Peas seems to use enjoy using a lot.
Former Falcons Coach Jim Mora is Sold on Azeez
Former Falcons head coach Jim Mora recently joined Dawgs Daily to discuss Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari where he had nothing but praise for him and revealed his comparison.
“There’s been comparisons to him and Joey Porter, who was obviously a great outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I think they are very, very similar,” Mora explained. Joey was a guy that when he was coming out people weren’t quite sure where to play him. But we knew one thing, he was a great football player. So, you were going to find a spot to play him, you were going to adjust your defense for him.”
With football becoming more about athleticism than size, Ojulari has what it takes to have a successful NFL career, and aside from that, he has true leadership skills. Mora pointed out that that’s actually what stood out to him the most. Ojulari became the first freshman and the only freshman to be named a captain under head coach Kirby Smart.
“I would like to go back in the annals of college football and see how many freshmen have been named team captain”, Mora said. When you are an NFL executive, you want to populate your locker room with great players who are high character individuals like this. This young man has it all.”
Check out Azeez Ojulari’s 2020 highlights below: