The franchise tag period has come and gone. With the free agency negation period now open, we’ve found that Matt Judon will sign a 4/$56M deal with the New England Patriots. With the Ravens shoring up the O-line a bit by signing right guard Kevin Zeitler, the edge rush position just became that much more important come draft day.
In this second installment, I’ll look to highlight three more edge rushers the Ravens could target. This will be a fluid situation as more reports surface about prospects from pro days, who meets with which teams, who climbs or falls mock draft boards. Mock drafts could also be wildly off as we don’t know if teams will devalue players who opted out of the 2020 college football season.
The first look at the position, I highlighted three guys that mock drafts had just out of reach for the Ravens at pick #27, but not too high up that they couldn’t trade up to get their guy. Or, not too high that they couldn’t possibly fall to #27 as the board shakes out on draft night. Those were Kwity Paye (Michigan) and a pair of Miami FL guys, Gregory Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips.
Let’s look at three more guys who are more likely to be there around #27 according to various mock drafts.
Discuss your thought on these prospects on our message board.
Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
6’3”, 240 lbs.
(Oh-Ju-Lahr-Ree). Ojulari redshirted his first year then became a rare team captain as a freshman. He’s a guy that can complete multiple tasks. He wasn’t turned loose on the quarterback all the time. He’d play a decent amount of zone coverage. He would be asked to play containment quite a bit. Despite not being unleashed, he still managed 8.5 sacks in 10 games this past year, and four forced fumbles as well.
When I watch Ojulari’s tapes, you can tell he doesn’t have many moves to beat offensive tackles. He’s got long limbs that allow him good separation if he wins with that initial jab to the tackle’s chest, then he uses his strength to swipe the arms down of the would-be blocker and gain the edge. When he wins, it’s textbook execution. But when the jab doesn’t land, he’s almost immediately neutralized. He doesn’t have another “pitch”, if you will. I don’t see a swim move, a spin move, nothing else in the arsenal. The move sometimes has him ending up too deep in the pocket and has to come back to get to the QB.
Ojulari has a good-looking build, but at 6’3” I expect him to be able to get a little lower in his hip bend. Overall, he’s got some tools you like to see, put some good things on tape against quality teams. What he lacks can probably be coached up. But if he doesn’t learn another move as an outside pass rusher, NFL tackles may key in on that, making him a non-factor in the next level pressure often.
Jayson Oweh, Penn. St.
6’5”, 252 lbs.
(Oh-Way). Athleticism is not an issue for Oweh. He posted a video on twitter where he ran an unofficial 4.38 40-yard dash. But experience might be factor in a team’s decision on where to draft Oweh. He didn’t play football until his junior year of high school. He only started seven games in 2020, his redshirt sophomore year, without recording a sack. But that didn’t stop him from being a first-team All-Big Ten selection.
Unlike Ojulari, Oweh isn’t going to be asked to drop into coverage. He’s strictly asked to stop ball carriers and quarterbacks. Sometimes a team will double team him or have a tight end chip him and the tackle clean him up, which speaks highly of what opponents think he may be capable of.
But I don’t see the pressure generated often on the tape. I don’t put a lot of stock into college statistics. But zero sacks in 2020 seems a little alarming when you’re talking your first-round pick. When the first-round pick is announced on live TV and they go to the highlight package, you want to see the pass rusher have a few sacks on there.
I like the looseness, the aggressiveness he plays with. When his bull rush gets stopped, he’ll try a spin move to find another lane. You can tell he wants to take the shortest path to the quarterback. Seems like he’s got a motor that doesn’t quit. But I think Oweh will be a project just due to the lack of experience. Combo of speed and strength will play though.
Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
6’3”, 247 lbs.
Video: vs. Florida (Cotton Bowl)
Perkins is a new name showing up in some first-round mocks. He missed the Peach Bowl in 2019, and then five games in 2020 stemming from a positive marijuana test. Pundits may have dropped him down their board with that baggage. Teams may be happy with how he’s handled himself since and know the 2020 CBA between the NFL and its players have made marijuana offenses less punishing.
Sounds like Perkins turned some heads at the Sooners recent pro day where 31 teams had representatives watching. He was a tight end in high school and used that catching ability to make a leaping, one handed interception.
Anyone who has followed me for a while know I put a bit of stock in Pat Kirwans “Explosion Score”, adding his bench reps, vertical jump in inches, and broad jump in feet and hope you get a number higher than 70. At Perkins Pro Day he did 25 reps of 225 pound on the bench, a 32” vertical, and a 9’7” (9.58’) broad jump. Explosion score = 66.58. Hmm. Explosion isn’t an end all be all measure by any means, and certainly not a disqualifier. But if you’re torn between a couple guys you can see who is more explosive it could sway you one way. If a guy was under the radar but had a big explosion number, makes it worth taking another look at the guy.
Perkins may not have had an explosive pro day. But the number of times he ends up in the opponent’s backfield on tape just can’t be ignored. More than Oweh, more than Ojulari. Perkins is disruptive and that what you want to see. I think its pretty clear teams wanted to see his response to a failed drug test ahead a big bowl game before they solidified a potential first round grade on him. On the field he looks like a no doubt first rounder, no surprise if he’s saying the right things now that his name is flying up the board.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected].