Summary: LThe Bruins had the tough task in 2014 of trying to replace edge rusher Anthony Barr. In 2013 and 2012, Barr was an electric edge rusher for UCLA. While Odighizuwa wasn't as good as Barr was, the former turned in an impressive 2014 season that really put him on the map. Odighizuwa entered the season as a late-rounder, and after playing well with an impressive skill set, he could end up being a late first-round or early second-day pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Odighizuwa missed the 2013 season with an injury and was a backup in in 2012. He totaled 44 tackles and a sack in that role. Everything changed in 2014 as the senior locked down a starting job and was an every-down player for the Bruins.
Odighizuwa recorded 61 tackles with 11.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and five passes batted in 2014. He was phenomenal against Virginia in the season opener and was far more disruptive than the numbers indicate across the season. Odighizuwa also had a good game against Washington with a ton of heat on the quarterback. At the Senior Bowl, he had a quality week and did well in the one-on-ones. The Bruin looks like a solid base end for a 4-3 defense.
Odighizuwa has a nice skill set of size, speed and athleticism. That was apparent with his impressive performance at the Combine. He also showed the agility and flexibility to move as a standup outside linebacker. Odighizuwa would need some development for that role, but he has the potential to do it.
As a base end, Odighizuwa is fast off the edge. He can beat tackles with speed around the corner and also has the strength to fight off blocks. With his speed and strength, Odighizuwa does a nice job of converting speed to power with an ability to bull rush once he gets some pressure in the pocket. Odighizuwa is strong to hold his ground in run defense and doesn't get run over. He could stand to improve his run defense with runs coming straight at him for the NFL. He also needs to develop his pass-rushing moves for NFL offensive tackles.
Odighizuwa should start out his NFL career as a rotational player. He has upside, but is still somewhat raw and needs development. In time, Odighizuwa could be a very effective starter and pass-rusher.
Player Comparison: Trent Cole. Cole and Odighizuwa are built the same way. Both rushers win with a combination of speed, strength, moves and versatility. Cole (6-3, 270) is a few pounds heavier than Odighizuwa, but in the NFL, Odighizuwa should reach 270 after spending some time in a pro strength program. For the most part, Cole has spent his career as a reliable pass-rusher who has produced good sack totals. It isn't a stretch to see Odighizuwa having a career similar to Cole.
NFL Matches: Denver, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Jacksonville, New York Giants, New Orleans, San Diego, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Dallas
There are a number of a lot of teams in the second round and late in the first round that could target an edge defender like Odighizuwa. It would help him to go higher if there is a run on pass-rushers among the top-20 picks, which is a very possible outcome. Late in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Odighizuwa could be a fit for the Broncos as an understudy for DeMarcus Ware.
The Colts could use more edge-rushing talent. Bjoern Werner has been a disappointment, while Robert Mathis was missed sorely in 2014. Odighizuwa would make sense for Indianapolis, but his body type is almost identical to Werner, so the Colts might want something else.
At the top of the second round, Odighizuwa would make a lot of sense for Tampa Bay. The Bucs need an edge rusher to line up next to Gerald McCoy, and Odighizuwa would be a great fit as a Tampa 2 defensive end.
The Raiders also need an edge rusher to pair with Khalil Mack. If they take a wide receiver in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Odighizuwa would be a perfect fit in Round 2.
Jacksonville is expected to take an edge rusher with its first pick, but if the franchise goes another direction, Odighizuwa could make a lot of sense for the Jaguars.
If the Saints go a different route with pick No. 13, they could make a lot of sense for Odighizuwa at pick No. 31 or in Round 2. He could be a nice upgrade to New Orleans' pass defense.
The Giants look like a potential fit for Odighizuwa. His game is similar to former Giants Justin Tuck and Osi Uymenyiora. Odighizuwa could fit New York in the second round.
Odighizuwa could interest the Chargers. They need to replace Dwight Freeney, while Melvin Ingram and Jeremiah Attaochu have yet to break out.
Odighizuwa could go in the early 20s when the Bengals and Steelers are on the clock. Both of organizations need edge rushers, and he could be a welcome addition to either AFC North team, especially Pittsburgh. The Steelers can't rely on James Harrison forever, and Jarvis Jones has yet to prove that he's a long-term building block. Pittsburgh could maybe move up from its second-round pick or move down in the first round and select Odighizuwa. The Bengals brought back Michael Johnson, but he's had two bad seasons in a row, while Margus Hunt hasn't developed as planned.
Arizona is another playoff team that could stand to improve its edge rush. The Cardinals need a replacement for John Abraham, and improving the speed and athleticism of the linebacking corps was an offseason priority. Odighizuwa would certainly address that.
Dallas could opt to take another edge rusher to go with Demarcus Lawrence. Greg Hardy was only signed to a 1-year contract and can't be counted on to stay on the field.