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Redskins draft prospects: Owa Odighizuwa

Taking a weekly look at various players who could tempt the Washington Redskins with the fifth overall pick in the NFL draft, watching at least three or four of their games. As the draft gets closer, I'll post these reports more frequently and take a look at other rounds as well.

Player: Owamagbe Odighizuwa

Position: Outside linebacker

School: UCLA

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 270 pounds

Projected round: Late first (possibly a little higher), early second

Games watched: USC, Texas, Arizona,

What I liked: His strength, including with his hands. It was impressive -- just watch the USC game to see what I’m talking about; he dominated the Trojans’ offensive line. He has a chiseled frame and very much looks the part. Odighizuwa should be excellent against the run and setting the edge. He maintains his power because, well, he keeps his butt lower in his stance, allowing him to play with pop after the snap. On one play vs. Texas, he stood up the right guard and as the ball carrier hit his gap, Odighizuwa shed the block as the back ran into his gut. But Odoghizuwa was strong enough to anchor and hold him to no gain. Again, impressive strength. Odighizuwa showed he could play both right and left end. Against USC, he won with power and consistently stood up the tackles. He also showed he could beat them to the inside with a good first step. He won with his hands a couple times when the tackle was slow getting his hands on him. He has long arms, so that will help if he develops his pass-rush moves. He does have experience as a stand-up rusher. He has strong hands. I saw him use a spin move on several occasions, sometimes with success -- it did work vs. Arizona. He will try that move twice in a row. Oidghizuwa has good speed, having run the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds (with a 1.61 10-yard split). He showed good closing speed vs. Arizona when, after a fake zone-read handoff, he burst forward to the quarterback and drilled him as he released the ball.

What I didn’t like: He lacks pass-rush moves and the ability to win going around the corner. Though his metrics suggest a wonderful athlete, more of his success stemmed from flat-out power. And most of his pass-rushing success in the games I watched did not feature winning off the edge. It seems as if he should be capable of winning there given his attributes. His first step, especially inside, is good and once past a blocker it’s tough to knock him off his path. When he stunted vs. USC, he took too wide a path, but that clearly can be coached. He missed 2013 after enduring two hip surgeries. I don’t know if that affected him last season, too. I did not see a lot of him in space. Against Texas on a couple plays he appeared slow to change directions and did so without suddenness.

ESPN Insider on his intangibles (they gave him their highest rating of a 1): "Respectful and polite individual. Outgoing personality and well-respected by both his teammates and coaches. Relentless work ethic and gives 100 percent in everything he does. Solid student. Elected as a team captain as a senior."

Why the Redskins would be interested: Because he could develop into an edge rusher, and they would like to find another player to fill this role, to go along with Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy.

How he fits: I’m not sure he’s exactly what they would be looking for, mainly because he might be more of an excellent run defender than a pass-rusher. He had games where he dominated, but his skills translate more to run-stopper. Most teams could use such a player, but if you’re looking for more immediate help as a pass-rusher, you might pass. If he puts the skills together, though, he has a solid shot. To date, the Redskins haven’t expressed much interest in him. But other teams in the division have, including the Eagles and Cowboys.

Previous draft prospects