By Dan Durkin–
(CBS) Every team in the league is guilty of drafting athletes over football players, particularly in the early rounds. Teams assume they can take a rare, athletic specimen and mold him into a football player.
Sometimes that strategy works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a matter of proper coaching, patience and trusting your personnel development procedures.
Today we take a look at a raw-yet-intriguing edge prospect who could blossom in the right environment: Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah.
DE/OLB Emmanuel Ogbah (6-foot-4, 273 pounds, 22, Oklahoma State)
40-yard dash: 4.63
10-yard split: 1.59
Vertical: 35 1/2″
Broad jump: 10-foot-1
Arm: 35 1/2″
Bio: A native of Lagos, Nigeria, Ogbah (pronounced “AWG-buh”) and his family came to the United States when he was nine years old. He started playing football when he was in seventh grade. He attended George Bush High School in Houston, Texas — which is the same school that produced Russell Okung — then followed in Okung’s footsteps to Stillwater.
After redshirting his freshman year, Ogbah appeared in all 13 games in 2013. He finished the season with 20 tackles, five-and-a-half tackles for loss, four sacks, four quarterback hits and one fumble recovery. He excelled in the classroom as well, earning second-team academic all-Big 12 honors.
Ogbah became a full-time starter in 2014 and made the most of the increased snaps. He finished the season with 50 tackles, and his 17 tackles for loss and 11 sacks led the team. He added in five passes defended, three quarterback hits and one forced fumble. Big 12 coaches voted him the conference’s defensive lineman of the year, and he made the conference’s first team.
This past season, Ogbah set a school record with 19 quarterback hurries, led the Big 12 with 13 sacks and finished second with 16.5 tackles for loss. He added in four passes defended and three forced fumbles. He was named was the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Ogbah finished his collegiate career with 39 tackles for loss and 28 sacks in 39 games.
How he fits the Bears’ scheme: Ogbah primarily played defensive end in a 40-front, occasionally lining up inside and in a two-point stance in sub packages. Given his length and frame, he may be best suited for a five-technique defensive end, but his lateral agility will allow him to also play from a two-point stance as an outside backer.
Ogbah’s burst off the snap stands out. He quickly gets up the field and into his outside rush lane, accelerating the kick slide of blockers.
Ogbah relies almost exclusively on speed to get around the edge, showing a preference for a rip move and an occasional swat. When he doesn’t get home with his rush, he’s adept at getting his arms up to disrupt throwing lanes. When he has a ball carrier in his path, he shows burst to close and finish the play.
As quick as Ogbah is, he struggles to convert speed into power. His punch doesn’t overwhelm blockers, bringing into question his functional strength. Rather than trying to win to the inside, he frequently takes the long path to the quarterback, which creates escape lanes when he rushes past the launch point. He tends to stand straight up out of his stance, so pad level is an area of improvement.
Ogbah can be targeted in the run game. He can stop his feet when engaged, which leads to him getting off balance, turned and redirected.
Draft projection: Given his elite athleticism, length and productivity despite unrefined technique, Ogbah will intrigue both 4-3 and 3-4 teams. He projects as a top-25 selection.
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.