In this exercise, we’ll take you inside the war room of the New York Giants and place you in newly minted general manager Joe Schoen’s shoes. A franchise fresh off its fifth consecutive sub .500 campaign, with ownership of the No. 5 and No. 7 overall selections, New York is in business to add talent to a roster desperately lacking in such on both sides of the ball. While a multitude of talents has been thrown into the conversation for the name Schoen will ultimately call in on draft night, in this series of articles, we’ll focus on the premier talent out at EDGE, and more specifically, make the case for the talents in David Ojabo, George Karlaftis, and Kayvon Thibodeaux as to whose name should be called if all three all available come the time for the Giants to pick at No. 5 overall. Let’s start with Michigan’s Ojabo. A player who’s just now begun to get his feet wet out at 5-tech, Ojabo hadn’t become familiar with the game of American football until his junior year of high school. Born in Nigeria, Ojabo moved to Scotland as a child and eventually made his way to the U.S. He dominated at the prep level in New Jersey both in between the hashes and on the track. A state champion in the 100M before hanging up his track spikes for good, you’d be hard-pressed to find a higher performance ceiling than the one Ojabo presents as a true athletic marvel off the outside. A blend of burst and range as a defender, his success this season—for the most part—slid under the rug in comparison to his running mate and projected top-three overall selection Aidan Hutchinson, but sliding the spotlight over to Ojabo and his vast array of talents allows us to open up Pandora’s Box on the sky-high ceiling he could possess working opposite 2021 draftee Azeez Ojulari in New York. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6Dgv3F0n4k His most impressive game on tape this fall, Ojabo was a wrecking ball against Wisconsin. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, he more than showcased his ever-growing bag of tools to talent evaluators in attendance. In these two clips, which uncoincidentally came on back-to-back snaps, Ojabo’s skill set is put on full display. On the first rep, while the tackle was lethargic in his pass set, the burst from Ojabo is extremely evident. In a moment’s notice, he’s able to work upfield, plant his right foot in the dirt, bend the edge with his upper half, and flatten the path to the quarterback in under 2.5 seconds. Impossible to run any pass concept in that amount of time, his level of explosion has been apparent on tape all year long and will present tackles at the next level with an awfully heavy amount of concern wherever he lines up. The next snap offers us a look into where Ojabo’s biggest improvement has come, and where he will continue to grow as a true three-down defender. While he turns into a horse with blinders on at times working upfield and into the pocket, his ability to read, diagnose, and pursue with violence on a read-option here gives NFL defensive coordinators more than something to work with. His ability to flatten his hips parallel to the LOS before the handoff while maintaining both inside and outside integrity is high-level stuff here from Ojabo. And with the necessary burst as prior mentioned to pursue and wrangle down ball-carriers in space, you could only imagine the type of impact he could enjoy along a Giants front touting the likes of Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and the aforementioned sack threat in Ojulari, who totaled eight in his rookie campaign. One of the more physically-gifted athletes in the class, as much of a project as Ojabo remains—his initial success could come as a sub-package pass-rush specialist—he checks a ton of boxes for a team in the Giants that finished 23rd in sacks this fall. A high-ceiling prospect with double-digit sack-per-year potential, making the case for Ojabo at No. 5 possesses a laundry list of persuasive positives to send him to the Meadowlands.
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