Azeez Ojulari has more or less solidified himself as an early-round pick. The stock for the dynamic edge rusher out of Georgia has risen enough that he may receive the call before the Ravens are on the clock with the No. 27 overall pick.
Ojulari has become a staple late in the first round of mock drafts, and he’s been connected to the Ravens. It would be a rational selection for Baltimore, as the pass rush is an area the Ravens certainly need to address this offseason. Ojulari himself would be thrilled to begin his pro career with the Ravens organization.
“[Playing for the Ravens] would be a dream come true, because I come from a defensive school,” Ojulari said on Glenn Clark Radio March 10. “It would be a dream come true, playing with the best of the best and always having an opportunity to compete, get a chance to go to the playoffs and win a Super Bowl.”
The Marietta, Ga., native could be exactly what the Ravens need, with Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser and Jihad Ward all hitting free agency March 17. Ojulari got after the quarterback in 2020, tallying 9.5 sacks in only 10 games this past year for Georgia. He also forced four fumbles.
His impressive season was certainly a breakthrough. He redshirted in 2018 and had 5.5 sacks in 14 games in 2019, so he’s moving in the right direction. Plus, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Ojulari doesn’t even turn 21 until June. Ojulari believes his youth relative to his peers gives him a competitive advantage.
“I’m just young and active,” Ojulari said. “I’m still fresh. I have the fresh legs still coming in. So, I definitely think it will help [in my development].”
Some observers still see Ojulari as one-dimensional, in the sense that he is a strict pass rusher and could be a liability in the run game. Ojulari acknowledged that setting the edge in the run game and establishing a go-to countermove are two of his main goals for improving himself as a player.
Considering his young age, it would stand to reason that he has room to improve. Even so, Ojulari believes some of his flaws have been overblown.
“You’ve got to set the edge when you are … playing against teams that like to bounce the ball,” Ojulari said. “You’ve got to set the edge and make them go back inside. We did that at Georgia a lot. We got multiple practice and game reps of me setting the edge. I feel like I have a strong ability to set the edge.”
It’s not a mystery why Ojulari’s name is frequently mentioned while discussing the No. 27 overall selection for the Ravens. He is a productive pass rusher who would potentially both fill a need and give them the best player available at that spot.
In his most recent mock draft, NFL Network lead draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has Ojulari going No. 30 to the Buffalo Bills, but other mock drafts suggest he could go higher. The Ravens would be elated to have Ojulari if his self-evaluation turns out to be correct.
“I feel like I’m the best EDGE in this class,” Ojulari said. “So, I guess I have to just wait and show them when the time will come. I’ve got to just stay level-headed and do what I do.”
For more from Ojulari, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Tony Walsh/Georgia Athletics