The Green Bay Packers own two picks in the first round (Nos. 22 and 28) of the 2022 NFL draft. In this “Packers draft profile” series, we will look at several options for Green Bay in the first round and dissect their collegiate careers, highlight reel and how they would fit with the team.
In this edition, we look at Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo.
Ojabo and Aidan Hutchinson made up one of the most ferocious edge duos in college football in 2021. The latter is projected by many to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft but Ojabo has plenty on the resume too.
While Ojabo could still go in Round 1, his draft stock certainly took an unfortunate dip after he suffered a torn Achilles at Michigan’s Pro Day. The injury has fogged up where he could be selected in the draft and what his availability will be for the 2022 season if he’s available at all.
The resume still speaks for itself. Ojabo stacked up 11 sacks in 2021 and forced five fumbles. He and Hutchinson were constantly disrupting backfields and making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks in the Big Ten. Questions will linger about his injury and how he recovers from it, but Ojabo is undoubtedly a first-round talent.
NFL COMBINE RESULTS
40-yard dash: 4.55 seconds
Bench press: N/A
Vertical jump: 35 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet, 2 inches
3 cone drill: N/A
20-yard shuttle: 4.45 seconds
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“Michigan EDGE defender David Ojabo is sure to elicit excitement from NFL decision-makers and coaches alike given his raw tools and the bright flashes of high-level understanding of the game that peek through on film. Ojabo is very green in the grand scheme of things; he didn’t play organized football until his junior year of high school after being born in Nigeria and moving to Scotland at the age of 7. And yet, Ojabo is still very much a high-impact defender and shows surreal natural feel and instincts for the game despite the lack of experience—his nose for the football and brilliant rush counters are awesome to take in.” - The Draft Network
“Emerging edge defender who should see a substantial leap in play consistency with more time to work on his technique and learn the game. The upside is evident, despite his inexperience. At times, the run tape can be a rough study, but it improved as the 2021 season progressed. Ojabo's rush approach is fairly sophisticated with the feet and agility to juke, stutter, spin and race his way past offensive tackles. He's not ready to take on pro run blockers, but Ojabo is in the early stages of his physical and play development. The Achilles tear he suffered at his pro day is likely to hurt his draft stock, but it will be hard for teams to pass on his upside if he remains available in the second round.” - Lance Zierlein NFL.com
HOW HE FITS
Green Bay’s front office dished out a more than deserved contract extension to Preston Smith this offseason to assure he’s with the Packers for the long haul. Keeping Smith and Rashan Gary on the edge for the next few years gives Green Bay one of the most dynamic edge duos in the league. The edge spot is far from wrapped up though.
Ojabo and the Packers could be a perfect marriage. With Za’Darius Smith leaving in free agency and Whitney Mercilus opting to retire, there are legitimate depth concerns on the edge. Drafting Ojabo would put him in a spot where there wouldn’t be immediate pressure to produce big results.
Green Bay could wean Ojabo along as he recovers from his Achilles injury knowing they have Smith and Gary holding down the fort. It would be a similar path that Gary had when he was drafted in 2019 but the Packers had signed both Preston and Za’Darius Smith that offseason. Gary was allowed time to get comfortable and get adjusted to the league while he was used in select packages in his rookie season. If Ojabo isn’t ready in 2022, so be it. He’ll eventually provide Green Bay with the depth they need on the edge.
The Packers have a top tier duo working the edge spot but behind Smith and Gary, the cupboard looks pretty empty. Drafting Ojabo would give them a big shot in the arm for their depth and given their situation, it would allow Ojabo to get fully healed up instead of being rushed back prematurely. Plus, you never can have too many pass rushers.