BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 13: Treylon Burks #16 of the Arkansas Razorbacks throws the ball as BJ Ojulari #8 of the LSU Tigers defends during the fist half of a game at Tiger Stadium on November 13, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 13: Treylon Burks #16 of the Arkansas Razorbacks throws the ball as BJ Ojulari #8 of the LSU Tigers defends during the fist half of a game at Tiger Stadium on November 13, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

LSU Pass Rusher BJ Ojulari Flashes First-Round Ability

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BJ Ojulari has everything an NFL team would want in a pass-rusher, except he has an average motor.

He plays the game in three different gears.

There is the all-out version, the version where he almost makes a difference, and then there’s the version when he disappears.

As an evaluator, nothing scares me more than players who have the ability, but it does not consistently show up. However, at the same time, I acknowledge the awesome ability he shows off the edge from time to time.

NFL football also runs in his family.

Ojulari’s brother plays for the New York Giants

This makes a difference to NFL teams – – and they look for prospects who have relatives who have played or who are playing in the league.

The thinking is if a prospect has bloodline ties to a relative who has had success in the pros, it increases the chances the prospect will also be successful.

In 2021, Azeez Ojulari went to the New York Giants in the second-round, and he came in and broke the club’s sack record with eight sacks.

There are a lot of similarities between these two brothers, although Azeez looked physically stronger on film at Georgia.

None-the-less, Azeez’s rookie success with the Giants will undoubtedly be discussed in NFL war-rooms when determining where his younger brother ends up on draft boards.

Full arsenal of pass rushing moves

This LSU defender has shown he is a polished pass rusher, and that is exactly what NFL teams covet.

In today’s pass-happy pro game, it’s all about finding and acquiring defenders who can disrupt the pocket.

Ojulari shows good hand technique at the point, and he shows the ghost, spin, reverse spin, rip and swim moves.

He also can bull rush a little.

Could take or leave the run game

Ojulari is a pure pass-rusher and not an ideal every down edge prospect.

Occasionally, he flashes big high impact blow up run stops, but more often he looks passive and hesitant on running plays.

I even saw him going half speed and taking active run plays off.

No question he has what it takes to fight off blocks and make strong tackles and he showed it is in him.

He just looked too disinterested against the run for my taste.

His motor is the big concern

Ojulari is the type of prospect who can make a great highlight tape filled with enough wow moments to fall in love with.

However it’s the other fifty to seventy five percent of the game that we need to pay attention to and this is what the second-round was made for.

“Is football important to him?”

When I was on Bill Parcells’ staff with the Jets, this was one of his critical factors of scouting.

It is my chief concern with Ojulari.

#8 (2021) #18 (2022) BJ Ojulari 6-foot-3, 250 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s Grade: Second-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

Projected by 53.2% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of October 21, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2021 game film reviewed: Florida, Texas A&M and Mississippi State (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation)

Level of competition: High

2021 stats: 54 tackles (31 solo, 23 assists), 1 pass defended, 7.0 sacks (45 pressures lsutigerswire.usatoday.com)

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Accomplished athletic pass rusher who is built like a pass rusher, but has an inconsistent motor. Worked off both sides. Flashed quickness to blow through the back door with bend and speed. Impressively showed all the pass rushing tools and can look like he is even toying with the tackles. Consistently used hands well. Has long arms to create separation. Can press inside “B” gap and can run stunts inside. Good natural strength to get some movement on bull rushes. Flashed short-area burst in pocket. Battles and fights, but can get hung out to dry too often on the perimeter. Doesn’t go all-out on every rep. This especially shows up in his reluctance against the run when he dogs it. Flashes big run stops. Has his share of high impact pressures and sacks, a team will just have to be willing to live with the rest of it.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. Sack/pressure production numbers
  2. Does he look consistent?
  3. Does he play hard against the run?
  4. Does he play all the way through plays?

For my money, I see Ojulari ending up as a situational third-down pass rusher in the NFL.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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