By Greg Gabriel–
Editor’s note: You can read Gabriel’s other scouting reports on highly regarded NFL Draft prospects by clicking here.
(CBS) It’s just about a certainty that the Bears will select a defensive lineman in the NFL Draft in late April. And being that they did nab nose tackle John Jenkins but missed out on signing defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois in free agency, odds are they select a defensive tackle, which is a defensive end in the Bears’ vernacular.
If the Bears were to use the No. 3 overall pick on that position, it would most likely be Alabama’s Jonathan Allen. If they use No. 3 on another position or trade down, the need is still there and will be taken care of in a later round.
If that’s the case, one player that stands out in my mind is Charlotte defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. The Bears know Ogunjobi well, as they coached him at the Senior Bowl. The easiest way to describe him is he’s a “poor man’s” Allen. Last month at the combine, Allen measured 6-foot-3, 286 pounds, while Ogunjobi checked in at 6-foot-3, 305 pounds. Allen’s arms were an inch longer at 33 5/8 inches, but Ogunjobi actually outperformed Allen in some of the measurable drills.
Ogunjobi ran a 4.97 in the 40-yard dash, while Allen ran a 5.00. Ogunjobi also registered more reps of 225 pounds (26-21) and had a slightly better vertical jump and long jump. Allen had an edge in two agility drills.
Ogunjobi was a four-year starter at Charlotte, which is a relatively new football program. Ogunjobi was the team’s star defensive player and constantly faced double teams. He still had excellent production with 62 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2015 and 65 total tackles and 3.0 sacks in 2016. For his career, he has 13 total sacks and 49 tackles for loss.
What I like is that he’s thick and powerful with explosive get-off. He stays low, can use his hands, sheds blocks quickly and dominates the point of attack. He plays with the strength and power he showed at the combine.
Where Ogunjobi needs improvement is with his pass rush. At Charlotte, he was more of a bull rusher who could consistently get a push and collapse the pocket. He needs to improve his ability to use moves and counter moves. While at the Senior Bowl, he showed that improvement and consistently won his one-on-one battles in the pass rush/pass block drills.
Ogunjobi is an ascending player with a high ceiling. Where does he go? My feeling is that he’s a solid second-round selection, and he will come in and be a strong contributor as a rookie.
Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who is an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.