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Azeez Ojulari nominated for Pepsi Rookie of the Week


Giants rookie linebacker Azeez Ojulari continued his strong start this past Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, recording three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

Ojulari was recognized for his Week 3 performance Tuesday by earning a nomination for the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week Award.

This was the second honor in the last 24 hours for Ojulari, who also earned a spot on Pro Football Focus' Team of the Week after receiving an elite 92.2 overall grade for his outing against Atlanta, including a 92.2 pass rush grade.

The other nominees for this week's Pepsi Rookie of the Week Award include:

  • Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris: 142 total yards from scrimmage (14 carries for 40 yards, 14 receptions for 102 yards)
  • Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase: 4 receptions for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Miami Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle: 12 receptions for 58 yards
  • Los Angeles Chargers CB Asante Samuel Jr.: 2 tackles, 1 pass breakup, 1 interception
  • Cleveland Browns LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah: 4 tackles, 2 pass breakups, 1 tackle for loss, 0.5 sacks

After trading down eight slots in the second round of this year's draft and acquiring a 2022 third-round pick from the Miami Dolphins along the way, the Giants drafted Ojulari with the No. 50 overall selection.

The rookie out of Georgia is the first player in franchise history with a sack in each of his first three career games. He is also the first NFL player with at least 1.0 sack in each of his first three career games since Cleveland's Myles Garrett in 2017.

Through the first three weeks of the season, Ojulari has earned a 77.5 pass rush grade, good for the 23rd-highest mark among all edge defenders. It is also the highest pass rush grade among edge defenders from the 2021 draft, and the third-highest among all rookies. His three sacks currently lead the rookie class.

"I'm just doing whatever they want me to do," Ojulari told reporters Monday. "Playing my heart (out), playing my best, playing my heart out (out) there. Just whatever comes to me, make the plays that come my way. I'm just trying to do what I've got to do and do my part...

"Everyone in this league is good and athletic. The tackles are bigger, stronger, faster. Everyone is athletic in this league and they can adjust to different things. You basically, really (have) to bring your A-game every single time. Every rep you get, every rush you get, you've got to bring your best out there."

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