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Azeez Ojulari joins crowded edge rusher competition


The Giants traded back from the 42nd pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, obtained 2022 third-round pick form Miami and selected Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari at 50th overall. Ojulari is a perfect fit as an outside linebacker in the Giants' odd-man 3-4 base fronts, and a pass rusher in their sub-packages on passing downs.

At 6'2 and just 249 pounds, any concerns about his height are erased by impressive 34.5 inch arms. Being 6'2 with long arms actually makes it easier for him to use his length to work his powerful hands, and then dip and rip around opposing offensive tackles.

Ojulari's testing numbers were in the 81st percentile of edge rushers according to the Relative Athletic Scoring database (dating to 1987). He ran a 4.61 40-yard dash with an impressive 1.60 10-yard split. His three-cone drill, often a predictive metric for edge rushers was 7.27 seconds.

On tape, he is constantly challenging the edge of the defense with relentless effort, violent hands to get offensive linemen off of his body, giving him space to bend the edge and get to the quarterback. His pet dip-and-rip move was impossible to stop, which helped him lead the SEC in sacks (8.5), tackles for loss (12.5), and forced fumbles (4). Pro Football Focus tracked Olujari with 9 quarterback hits, 21 hurries and 39 total pressures on 193 pass rushing snaps in 2020.

Despite weighing under 250 pounds, Ojulari was solid against the run with 11 tackles for loss and 24 stops in the run game, according to Pro Football Focus. He will set the edge and use his hands to shed blocks to penetrate into the backfield. He dropped into coverage 77 times in two seasons for the Bulldogs.

Ojulari didn't miss any games in his redshirt freshman or sophomore years at Georgia, starting 23 games and appearing in all 24. He redshirted his freshman year to recover from a knee injury he suffered in high school. He will be just 21 years old in June.

Ojulari will join a crowded edge rusher room that will join 2018 third-round pick Lorenzo Carter, 2019 third-round pick Oshane Ximines, 2020 sixth-round pick Cam Brown, 2020 seventh-round pick Carter Coughlin and 2021 free agent additions Ifeadi Odenigbo and Ryan Anderson. Carter (Achilles) and XIminez (shoulder) are coming off season-ending injuries in 2020.

Ojulari played on the right and left sides of the line of scrimmage at Georgia, with 564 snaps rushing on the right side and 308 snaps on the left side, according to Pro Football Focus.

Ojulari also contributed on special teams with 30 snaps on punt return, 38 on punt coverage and 51 on field goal block.

View photos of second-round pick Azeez Ojulari.


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