Otito Ogbonnia, UCLA DT | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Can UCLA DT Otito Ogbonnia follow in Osa Odighizuwa's footsteps and use his scouting report to rise on the 2022 NFL Draft board in April?

UCLA DT Otito Ogbonnia’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report leaves him in an intriguing position heading into the draft. Let’s take a look at what Ogbonnia has to offer and whether or not he can follow in Osa Odighizuwa’s footsteps as a Day 2 pick this year.

Otito Ogbonnia NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • School: UCLA
  • Current Year: Senior
  • Height: 6’3 1/2″
  • Weight: 326 pounds
  • Wingspan: 84 3/8″
  • Length: 35 1/8″
  • Hand: 10″

Otito Ogbonnia Scouting Report

Odighizuwa was the primary playmaker on the Bruins’ defensive line in 2020. When he left for the NFL Draft, there was a big void to fill — both literally and figuratively. One could argue that void was never completely filled, but Ogbonnia did a solid job stepping up and elevating his game in his own way this season.

Now, like Odighizuwa before him, Ogbonnia is setting his eyes on the NFL Draft. He’s trending up with late-career production, and he has some intriguing traits on tape. But how does Ogbonnia project to the NFL, and can he make an early impact like Odighizuwa did? Let’s discuss.

Ogbonnia’s athletic profile

First off, it has to be noted that Ogbonnia is not the same type of defensive tackle that Odighizuwa is. Odighizuwa is around 6’2″, 280 pounds, and has the body type and athletic profile to be a 3-technique. Ogbonnia, however, is 6’4″, 320 pounds. He’s much better suited for the nose tackle role.

Ogbonnia’s role projection is very important when analyzing his athletic profile. He’s a high-cut athlete without much lateral agility or mobility on stunts. He also can’t change directions sharply in tight spaces and can let running backs blow by him. He’s primarily a linear athlete whose lateral stiffness and lack of range prevent him from consistently expanding beyond his role at 0-technique and 1-technique.

Nevertheless, at the nose, Ogbonnia has some intriguing traits. The UCLA DT has an extremely strong lower body. He can squat 685 pounds, and that strength shows up on film. His base makes him difficult to move on inside blocks with less runway, and he can stand his ground with his base and anchor strength — especially when one-gapping.

Beyond his base, Ogbonnia has above-average explosiveness for his size. He can gear up moderately quickly in short ranges, and he can load up solid initial momentum in his powerful lower body. His combination of explosiveness and power allows him to knife through gaps, but he also has the grip strength to latch onto opponents, then quickly disengage as ball carriers enter his reach.

Execution beyond the physical traits

Ogbonnia’s anchor is a vital part of his game. The UCLA DT has good proportional length, and with it, he can extend and get under his opponents’ pads. Although he can be more consistent here, Ogbonnia has shown he can lower his pads and shoot his hands off the snap. When he lowers his pads and fully extends, he can drive forward immense power, which he can use to blast linemen back and penetrate the backfield.

Expanding on Ogbonnia’s anchor, he’s shown he can anchor and run with blocks, then clog lanes with his wide frame. He can also rip down extensions with force using arm-over moves and tug linemen off-platform with his grip strength. Ogbonnia keeps his legs churning through contact, and he has the leg drive to move blockers backward upon using his power and burst. His initial push in run defense can disrupt the runner’s path and allow room for defenders to shut down the play.

Going further, Ogbonnia is a strong tackler at the contact point. He needs runners to come to him, to an extent — but his larger frame is tough to break free from. He does have some hustle in pursuit, too. Ogbonnia doesn’t give up on plays, even if he falls a bit behind. Additionally, while most of Ogbonnia’s utility comes in the running game, he has shown he can club down extended arms and surge into the pocket.

Areas for improvement

Ogbonnia’s mold brings noticeable limitations, but his inconsistencies within his realm are more concerning. Ogbonnia has a long windup that can delay his attack, allowing linemen to beat him to contact. His hand moves can be wide and looming and aren’t always fast or violent enough. The UCLA DT also comes off the line with his pad level too high at times. This impacts his balance and leverage. When Ogbonnia opens up his torso and keeps his hands too wide, he can be driven back fairly easily. His hands don’t always strike cleanly, and blockers can anchor first and get an early edge as a result.

Moving on, Ogbonnia’s tendency to be somewhat upright out of his stance can sap at his momentum and open up surface area for blockers. He too often loses the momentum battle and runs parallel to the line with an unstable base. When rushing in space, Ogbonnia can easily lose control and balance. He also doesn’t have great stamina as a pass rusher. He carries energy early on, but he can fade quickly.

Ogbonnia sometimes over-extends while upright, losing balance. His inconsistent balance can knock him off his spot when in two-gap responsibility. Furthermore, the UCLA DT doesn’t have the torso flexibility to compound his strength and free himself from blocks. Overall, Ogbonnia’s windup, upright style, and open torso can be severely limiting on the interior.

Among other things, Ogbonnia struggles to recover when he gets directed away from the play by moving blocks. He also lacks a consistent pass-rushing plan, rarely stacking moves or sustaining rushes. Overall, his upside in that phase is questionable.

Ogbonnia’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview

Ogbonnia will draw parallels to Odighizuwa based on school similarity alone, but they are very different players with very different projections. With his skill set, Ogbonnia translates best as a 0-technique or 1-technique in odd fronts. But even then, he might not be ready to start right away. There are things he needs to clean up before he reaches that point.

As a run defender, Ogbonnia has the lower body density, anchor, and initial burst to be an effective player. And he has the capacity to lower his pads and surge into his opponent’s torso. But right now, Ogbonnia comes off the line too high too often. He gives up too much surface area, and he gets moved too easily to be relied upon as a two-gap DT on Day 1.

As a pass rusher, there are more questions with Ogbonnia. He’s not very spry laterally or flexible in contact situations. He also doesn’t have a fully fleshed-out arsenal of pass-rush moves. With his above-average explosiveness and straight-line power, he has some upside, but he’s not an incredibly versatile or dynamic player. He can be the fulcrum of a line, but he can’t move far out beyond that.

There are enough tools to bank on Ogbonnia as a developmental nose tackle on Day 3. But before he can be counted on as an early-down starter, he needs to find more consistency with his balance, pad level, and hand placement.

Ogbonnia’s Player Profile

There’s a reason offensive and defensive linemen eventually find their way to the trenches. Some people are just built bigger, and there’s no question that Ogbonnia is a part of that group. The UCLA DT was 6’3″, 280 pounds out of high school, and was a virtual brick wall in his senior season. He put up a whopping 24 tackles for loss in his final year at Taylor High, stuffing the inside week in and week out.

Ogbonnia’s success amounted to a three-star recruit rating in the 2018 class. And it also earned him interest from a number of Power Five programs, among them Notre Dame, Nebraska, Tennessee, Missouri, and Texas Tech. Nearly all of Ogbonnia’s options led him out of state, but the Texas high school standout was particularly drawn to UCLA. And so, he made the trip to Pasadena in 2018.

Ogbonnia’s career at UCLA

Ogbonnia has undoubtedly distinguished himself in other areas besides football. He was a phenomenal shot-putter and discus thrower both in high school and his early college years. He famously squatted 685 pounds, earning a spot on the 2021 Feldman’s Freaks list. And on top of all that, he was a stellar academic performer who consistently made the honor roll.

Ogbonnia is an impressive young man, but to scouts, many of his most impressive moments came on the field. Of course, the UCLA DT didn’t become a full-time starter until 2021. Playing alongside Odighizuwa was a fruitful experience in 2020, allowing Ogbonnia to notch 16 tackles and 1.5 sacks in a growing role. But 2021 was his true college breakout.

As a true senior, Ogbonnia finally broke out as an impact player on UCLA’s defense. Playing and starting in 12 games, he amassed 27 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass deflections, and a forced fumble.

Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Otito Ogbonnia

Positives: Powerful gap-occupying defensive tackle who takes up a lot of room and holds his ground. Fires off the snap with a quick first step, bends his knees, and consistently gets leverage on opponents. Explosive, impossible to move off the point, and bull rushes opponents up the field. Possesses a thick build and barrels through blocks to get to the action. Strong in his overall game.

Negatives: Doesn’t get down the line of scrimmage or outside the box in pursuit. More of a gap occupier than a playmaker. Must develop more moves to get off blocks.

Analysis: Ogbonnia is a space-eating defensive lineman with a nose-tackle mentality. He’s a prototypical gap-occupying lineman in style and substance. Though he’s not flashy, Ogbonnia could have a long career at the next level.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @IC_Draft.

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