The vast majority of publicity in the days and weeks leading up to the draft is paid to the elite prospects–the top 10 picks. But in some respects (especially in a 2016 class with very little difference between the 15th and 50th-ranked players) the Day 2 kids are even more interesting. Youngsters who, for whatever reason, may not hear their names called on April 28.
One such player is Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, who SB Nation’s Stephen White called one of the most enigmatic and hard to figure out pass-rushers in this class. “A team will have to be honest and realize he is a boom-or-bust guy,” White said. They are just going have to bet on the boom, but they damn sure better be prepared if he ends up being a bust.”
“Even with Ogbah’s testing numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he was out of the league in four years,” White continued. “On the other hand, he could also go to the right team with the right coach and work his ass off and all of a sudden become the Defensive Rookie of the Year.”
Those testing numbers White referenced were the result of a standout performance at February’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “He weighed in at four pounds heavier than former Ohio State defensive lineman Joey Bosa, while measuring just an inch shorter than him,” White wrote. “Then he ran a blazing a 4.63 in the 40 as opposed to Bosa’s 4.86 time. He also recorded a 35-inch vertical and over 10 feet on the broad jump, two numbers that are usually pretty good indicators of explosiveness.”
Of course, White then asked, “What I wanna know is where in the hell was all this athleticism during most of (his) games?”
At least one NFC scout had similar criticisms while speaking with Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. “He’s stiff and upright so he has no counters as a rusher,” the scout opined, “and then he doesn’t even play hard all the time. If you are going to be the hulk, then play hard all the time.”
Zierlein, for his part, saw good things on tape from the 6’4″, 273-pounder, even if he believes it may take a while to develop Ogbah at the NFL level. “Upon first glance,” Zierlein said, “Ogbah appears unimpressive because he doesn’t play with the quickness or athleticism expected of productive pass rushers, but eventually, his translatable qualities avail themselves. Ogbah’s power will serve him well against the run, but he will have to become more skilled as a pass rusher.”
It was a similar refrain from Dane Brugler of CBS Sports. “Ogbah is still learning the complexities of the position and lacks elite explosiveness,” Brugler said, “but he’s a balanced athlete for his size and never shuts it down, exhibiting the effort needed to collapse the pocket. He will be a favorite in the building due to his work ethic and make-up.”
Ogbah, who racked up 12.5 sacks en route to being named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2015, evoked comparisons to Vinny Curry of the Philadelphia Eagles from Brugler. “Ogbah is a balanced athlete with the physicality and coachable mentality that can be molded in the NFL,” Brugler said, “similar to Curry when he entered the league.”
That comparison to Curry likely has IDP owners wincing a bit–with good reason. Sure, Curry finished the 2014 campaign with a career-high nine sacks, showing significant growth as a pass-rusher relative to when he entered the NFL. But even that was only enough to land him in low-end IDP DL3 territory, and as 2016 dawns and Curry enters his fifth season he has yet to crack the starting lineup for the Eagles.
Of course, a few draftnik comparisons and status as a likely second-round pick (just as Curry was) don’t necessarily portend doom and gloom for Ogbah’s fantasy prospects. He’s a talented young man, and much more likely to be drafted as a 4-3 end than a 3-4 outside linebacker. However, figure in all those comparisons and factor in the uphill climb all rookie defensive linemen face where a Year 1 impact is concerned, and we’re left with a prospect who probably won’t be making many IDP dents in 2016.