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BJ Ojulari NFL Draft 2023: Scouting Report for LSU EDGE

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor I

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 17: LSU Tigers defensive end BJ Ojulari (18) celebrates after a sack during a game between the LSU Tigers and the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on September 17, 2022. (Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

HEIGHT: 6'3"

WEIGHT: 250 lbs

HAND: TBD

ARM: TBD

WINGSPAN: TBD


40-YARD DASH: TBD

3-CONE: TBD

SHUTTLE: TBD

VERTICAL: TBD

BROAD: TBD


POSITIVES

— Accelerates off the ball well and has quick run-pass transitions versus play action.

— Sets up his pass-rushing moves well during the stem phase by using a skip/hesitation step or stemming to the inside to set up an outside move and vice versa.

— Has a wide array of finesse moves to win around the edge like a cross chop, arm over and inside or outside stick moves.

— Solid at turning speed to power with a one-arm stab move; he can collapse the pocket against offensive tackles with a weaker base.

— Impressive change of direction, agility and quickness to be an effective looper on line games.

— Good bend to take an efficient path to the quarterback.

— Physical at the point of attack against the run and has solid strength and hand placement to help set the edge versus outside zone; also is hard to reach with his agility.

— Against down blocks, he gets his hands on the offensive linemen to disrupt their path to the second level.

— Recognizes and gets under pullers as the spill player in run fits.

— Has shown flashes of using his quickness to defeat blocks and is solid at engaging with offensive linemen and working around the block to escape without conceding too much ground.

— Snap-to-whistle type of player who takes good angles in pursuit and can factor into gang tackles down the field.


NEGATIVES

— Struggles with consistency and accuracy with his use of hands as a pass-rusher; he'll often miss with his initial chop or needs to finish with a violent rip to get the offensive lineman off him and get a clean win.

— He'll lose contain against scrambling or running quarterbacks because he struggles to break down in the backfield and doesn't bring his feet with him when tackling.

— Lacks the strength to lock out offensive tackles as a run defender; he moves his feet backward and concedes ground to get extension instead of displacing the blocker.

— Will struggle to hold his ground against base blocks in the pros.

— Has a habit of stopping his feet on contact.

— Could afford to add some size and strength to help with his power moves as a pass-rusher and with holding up against the run.


NOTES

— DOB: April 5, 2002

— A 4-star recruit in the 2020 class, No. 84 overall, No. 6 WDE, per 247Sports' composite rating.

— Injuries: 2022 (knee, missed two games)

— 24 career starts

— Brother, Azeez, played at Georgia and was a second-round pick of the New York Giants

— 2022 honors: awarded LSU's coveted No. 18 jersey; first-team All-SEC; two-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week

— 2021 honors: one-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week

— 2020 honors: one-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week


OVERALL

BJ Ojulari went to LSU to forge his own path and break away from Azeez's shadow, but he'll end up on a similar journey as one of the best pass-rushers in this year's draft class.

An underrated aspect of the LSU product's game is that he varies his pass-rushing plan based on the opponent and has enough tools in his toolset to do so. For example, against Tennessee and Darnell Wright, Ojulari worked the edges more since Wright has a good anchor, but against Ole Miss, he relied more on turning speed to power against the Rebels' weaker tackles.

If he can improve his use of hands on his finesse moves and add some strength to be more effective when bull-rushing, Ojulari will be a dangerous pass-rusher in the pros. However, his effectiveness against the run is holding his draft stock back.

While the Tiger is effective against reach blocks/outside zone, on base blocks he concedes too much ground and will struggle to hold up at the point of attack against NFL tackles. Adding some mass will help there too, but he is very reliant on working around blocks right now, which is a risky play style.

Schematically, Ojulari might be limited to a stand-up outside linebacker role in odd fronts. He's just not big and strong enough to put his hand in the ground as a defensive end in even fronts right now. But if a team is looking for immediate pass-rushing help and is willing to be patient with him against the run, he's worth a mid-to-late first-round pick.


GRADE: 8.2 (Year 1 Starter/Late Round 1, Round 2)

OVERALL RANK: 13

POSITION RANK: EDGE3

PRO COMPARISON: Jaelan Phillips


Written by B/R NFL Draft Scout Matt Holder