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Giants Now: ESPN selects Azeez Ojulari among 2023 breakout players


ESPN's Bill Barnwell selects Azeez Ojulari among 2023 breakout players

ESPN's Bill Barnwell tried his hand at predicting the NFL's next wave of star players who could be in for a breakout 2023 campaign.

Among the players featured on the list was Giants outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari.

"He has 13.5 sacks on 538 rush attempts, or just about one in every 40 tries," wrote Barnwell. "Nick Bosa, to bring up a star edge rusher, has generated one sack every 44 attempts over that same time frame. We can't project Ojulari to keep that level of production up over a full season, but if he stays healthy and only slips a little, we could be talking about him and Kayvon Thibodeaux as one of the best young edge rushing duos in football."

Injuries limited Ojulari to just seven games (five starts) in 2022. However, when he was out on the field, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound outside linebacker made his presence felt.

Ojulari recorded 5.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and seven quarterback hits on a mere 230 defensive snaps last season.

Back in 2021, the outside linebacker set a new official franchise rookie record with eight sacks.

Despite his success, Ojulari recently made it clear that he isn't concerned about his personal stats; he simply wants to help the team win.

"I don't even try to look at the numbers," Ojulari said last week. "At the end of the day, I just want to win and help my team be the best. When I'm out there on the field, (I) just try to be the best I can. Whatever it is, just make plays happen, just try, whatever it is, to help the team win, man, and the defense get better."

"It's going to be exciting," outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux said about playing alongside Ojulari. "For him on paper, you know how many sacks he had to how many plays he had, so just knowing that, I mean, if you can get him 17 games, who knows how many sacks you'll get. Yeah, he's definitely one of the most talented pass rushers I've ever played with. So yeah, I'm excited to really get it going."

View the best photos of outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari's career with the Giants.

View photos from Detroit, where the Giants and Lions held joint practices ahead of their preseason opener.