Azeez Ojulari-Georgia football-Dan Lanning
Former Georgia star Azeez Ojulari is expected to become an impact player in the NFL after being selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.

New York Giants select Georgia OLB Azeez Ojulari in 2021 NFL Draft

ATHENS — Azeez Ojulari’s unexpectedly long wait to be selected ended in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Georgia star outside linebacker was selected by the Giants in the second round with the 50th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday night.

Ojulari was the third UGA player selected in the 2021 NFL Draft:

• Eric Stokes, Green Bay Packers, first round, 29th overall

• Tyson Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars, second round, 33rd overall

It was a surprising slide into the second round for Ojulari, who was widely projected as a first-rounder.

ESPN analyst Booger McFarland exclaimed before the 48th pick that he could not believe Ojulari was still on the board, and said the Giants got a steal picking him at No. 50.

“Go watch the tape,” McFarland said. “The fact he’s still on the board is shocking to me.

“He’s the total package. Some people were worried about the knee injury. I think he’s the best pass rusher in the draft.”

Ojulari’s stock dropped because of a concern with his surgically repaired knee, per a source with direct knowledge into the NFL scouting ranks. Pro Football Network insider Tony Pauline was the first to publish the speculation.

Ojulari has played every game the past two seasons after redshirting in 2018 following the torn ACL that ended his high school career prematurely.

Certainly, Ojulari’s performance has not indicated any issue.

Ojulari led the SEC in sacks (8.5) and tackles-for-loss (12.5) and was named second-team All-SEC as well as a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award.

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Coach Kirby Smart identified Ojulari, a former Marietta standout, as a team leader early on in his career at UGA.

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Ojulari became the first freshman named a team captain of the Smart era in his redshirt freshman season of 2019, going on to earn FWAA Freshman All-American honors along with being named a semifinalist for FWAA Freshman of the Year.

Ojulari finished his career on just as strong of a note earning Defensive MVP honors in the Bulldogs’ 24-21 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl victory over Cincinnati.

Ojulari had two forced fumbles and three of Georgia’s eight sacks in the victory, including a safety on the final play of the game.”

“I love his first-step quickness,” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said, “and dip-and-rip move coming around the corner.”

Ojulari said leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft that he plans to bring the same mindset to the league that he has had at Georgia the past three years.

“Georgia is top notch in everything we do, they want the best out of you with everything no matter what it is; being on time, not missing a meal, it’s just straight business, straight work,” Ojulari told DawgNation.

“I basically have said I’m going to carry that on to the next level,” Ojulari said.

“The way I’ve approached it at UGA is the way I’m going to approach it in The League — just keep getting better every day with a hard work mentality. Never give up, keep going and keep striving for greatness. If I can do that, I feel I’ll be successful.”

NextTyson Campbell taken by Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021 NFL Draft