Azeez Ojulari demonstrates why he’s the first player NFL teams ask Kirby Smart about
Kirby Smart told reporters on Wednesday that when teams ask about Georgia’s draft prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft, Azeez Ojulari is usually the first one they ask about.
Based on his stellar 2020 season and then Wednesday performance, it’s easy to see why.
Ojulari put out a 4.60 unofficial 40-yard dash while putting up 28 bench press reps. That’s just two fewer reps than what Ben Cleveland put down, though Ojulari did it with 34 and 3/8 inch arms.
The Georgia standout, who led the SEC in sacks as a redshirt sophomore, did all this while bulking up to 249 pounds and checking in at 6-foot-2. His measurables compare favorably to that of NFL All-Pro Khalil Mack.
Ojulari himself mentioned Tampa Bay Buccaneer Shaq Barrett as someone who possesses a skillet similar to his own. Barrett recently signed a $72 million deal with the Super Bowl champs after picking up 27.5 sacks in the past two seasons.
This a a great reference point for edge rushers. Here are the 2020 sack leaders for outside rushers (top 13). Keep in mind, most of these times are from NFL Scouting Combine. pic.twitter.com/pOs3MQt2Xq
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 17, 2021
Ojulari is vying to be one of the top pass rushers taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. Based on his performance on Wednesday, that seems like an even better bet prior to the start of the day.
“I feel like I’m the most bendy and versatile (prospect),” Ojulari said. “I’ve got an explosive first step and I can drop into coverage too.”
In addition to his on-field workout, Ojulari made an effective pitch as to why a team should use a high draft pick on the Georgia outside linebacker.
“You’re not just getting a pass rusher with me,” Ojulari said. “I can play all three downs for sure.”
When Smart spoke with teams about Ojulari, they were consistently trying to figure out what else the former Bulldog could do beyond bring down the quarterback.
“Is he a Sam? Is a DPR(designated pass rusher)? What can he do outside rushing the passer?” Smart said. “There’s a lot of questions there with what they want to know because they’re investing a lot of money in a high draft pick so they want to get a lot of information on those guys.”
Related: Georgia football pro day recap
The Bulldogs employed Ojulari in a number of ways throughout his career, which is why he feels comfortable with whatever his future employer will ask him to do.
In addition to being named a permanent captain for the Georgia team, Ojulari emerged as one of the top pass rushers in the SEC in 2020. He’s led the Bulldogs in sacks in each of the past two seasons. He also led the SEC in forced fumbles while finishing second in tackles for loss.
Some of the names that Ojulari is competing with include Miami’s Jaelen Phillips and Gregory Rousseau, Michigan’s Kwity Paye and Penn State’s Jayson Oweh.
The Bulldogs have had at least one first-round pick in each of the past three drafts under Smart. Ojulari feels now like a good bet to make it four-straight.
“He makes your whole team better but he’s also talented,” Smart said. “I’m excited to see where he goes and somebody is going to get a great young man in Azeez.”
Kirby Smart praises Azeez Ojulari at Georgia football Pro Day
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