The Dallas Cowboys were atrocious against the run in 2020, with only the Houston Texans being worse. The quickest way to fix that aspect of your defense is to get excellent contributions from your interior defensive linemen.
America’s Team has solid pieces already in place with Neville Gallimore, Trysten Hill, Antwaun Woods, and Brent Urban. However, there’s still room for improvement, and an underrated prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft could fall to the Cowboys on Day 2 in the form of UCLA’S Osa Odighizuwa.
Odighizuwa didn’t see any action his first year with the Bruins in 2016. A year later, he registered 15 tackles (5.5 tackles for loss), a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a defensive score in a reserves role. He moved into a starting role his sophomore season and tallied 29 tackles (6 tackles for loss), three sacks, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble. As a junior, he upped his game to 46 tackles (10 tackles for loss), 3.5 sacks, and a pass breakup. He would close out his collegiate career with 30 tackles (6 tackles for loss), four sacks, and a pass breakup while garnering First-Team All-Pac-12 honors.
Osa Odighizuwa is a good athlete with good agility and balance. He plays with good natural leverage and is tough against the run. He plays with good effort and hustle to locate the football. In the passing game, he offers value on the edge or reduced down inside. He penetrates gaps and uses his good natural leverage as a bull rusher. He has some explosion in his hips and has shown flashes of upside as a rusher. He lacks ideal size, which may hinder him as an every-down player in the NFL unless he’s used as a defensive end.
Ideal Role: Subpackage rusher.
Scheme Fit: In a single gap or even front scheme. Either as a defensive end or tackle.
Odighizuma showed improvement every year he took the field at UCLA. He’s been one of the best in the Pac-12 since 2019 at getting pressure on the quarterback and was a standout at the Senior Bowl as the highest-graded defensive player.
Pro Day Numbers
40-yard dash: 4.8
Vertical Jump: 31.5 inches
Broad Jump: 10 feet
Odighizuwa was good against the run in college and amassed 27.5 tackles for loss, showing great ability to keep offenses behind the chains. He can play on the edge and the interior, and you can’t beat position flex.
The Cowboys should strongly consider the former Bruin in round 2 or 3 to add to a front seven that wasn’t all that great in 2020.