The New York Giants selected Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari with the 50th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft on Friday night in Cleveland.
The selection of Ojulari came shortly after the Giants traded back for the second time in as many days, sending pick No. 42 overall to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for pick No. 50 overall and a 2022 third-round pick.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Ojulari was the top-ranked pass rusher in the draft by many experts and analysts, but slid due to the lacking positional value and a concern over his knee. However, at pick No. 50 overall, the Giants get a quality player, an ideal fit for Patrick Graham’s defense and a missing piece to their overall puzzle.
During the 2020 regular-season, Ojulari was credited with 22 tackles (12.5 for a loss), four forced fumbles, two passes defensed and 9.5 sacks. He had 15.0 sacks over his three-year college career.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com believes most of the pieces are in place for Ojulari, but he does need some work.
“Fully grown 3-4 outside linebacker with NFL-ready strength and impressive explosiveness. Ojulari is better in pursuit than he is as an edge setter, but he is quick to slide off a block and either make a tackle or accelerate to pursue in space. His ability to attack pulling blocks and shut down potential running lanes was fun to watch against Alabama. He has quality rush burst with loose limbs, but has a limited number of rush moves. Ojulari hasn’t learned to set up blockers yet. The strength, football character, explosiveness and athleticism all get check marks, but he won’t reach his potential until he cultivates his pass-rush talent and learns to stay separated from the punch,” Zierlein wrote.