After winning the Big Ten Championship and earning a spot in the College Football Playoff, several Michigan Wolverines are going to be drafted by NFL teams later this month. One of those Wolverines who will hear their name called is David Ojabo, a talented edge rusher who was a crucial piece of Michigan’s defense last season.
In his first season as a starter, Ojabo only scratched the surface of what he could be, racking up 35 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, three passes defended and five forced fumbles in 2021.
While tearing his Achilles at his Pro Day certainly hurts his draft stock, you can never have enough pass rushers in the NFL, and Ojabo showed he’s capable of being a valuable contributor at the next level. Here are a couple of teams that would be good fits for Ojabo.
New York Jets
The Jets have a lot of needs heading into the draft. After drafting their cornerstone quarterback last season, it may be wise for them to help their defense that ranked in the bottom half of the league in most pass rushing statistics.
Head coach Robert Saleh helped develop a ton of pass rushers during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, with guys like DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Ahmad Brooks thriving in recent years. Pairing Ojabo with Saleh would be great for his development, and pairing him with defensive tackle Quinnen Williams should give AFC East quarterbacks nightmares.
New York Giants
While the Giants are the only team on this list that don’t run a 3-4, they could still use some help in the pass rushing department.
As Chris Pflum broke down for SB Nation’s Big Blue Nation, Ojabo could bring an instant impact solely as a pass rusher in his rookie year before becoming a more well-rounded player in the NFL.
He is already an effective run defender, but teams might want to put him in situations where he can simply rush the passer first while work with him to play a bit faster in run defense. That might make him a “third down pass rush specialist” at the very start of his career, but Ojabo should push for a “starting” role sooner rather than later. He is a smart and instinctive player, which suggests that he could improve rapidly with consistent coaching.
If the Giants don’t use their fifth overall pick on an edge rusher, Ojabo is someone they could potentially look to pick on Day 2.
The Ravens have made a lot of splashes in free agency, but lost out on getting Pro Bowl pass rusher Za’Darius Smith. With the Ravens addressing their two biggest needs in signing offensive tackle Morgan Moses and cornerback Marcus Williams, they could use a flexible edge rusher like Ojabo on defense.
As Ryan Mink pointed out recently for the team’s website, they have very little depth at the position and could use a guy like Ojabo who could grow into a key role for them. Ojabo has very similar measureables to Matt Judon, who developed into a Pro Bowl pass rusher in five seasons with Baltimore.
Having a career like Judon’s is probably the ceiling for Ojabo, and getting drafted to a solid organization like the Ravens gives him the best chance to reach his full potential.