David Ojabo has signed with the Baltimore Ravens, a team that is looking for an edge rusher. The former Michigan standout was a consensus top-15 pick heading into the NFL Draft 2022, but his Pro Day injury kept him out. ESPN’s Mel Kiper believes Ojabo will be an excellent NFL player. The Ravens are getting a first-round talent in the second round, but the question remains, is he worth it?
Ojabo played under Jim Harbaugh while at Michigan, and he led the Wolverines to the Big Ten title. He recorded 11 sacks and five forced fumbles last season, but tore his left Achilles tendon during his pro day workout. Baltimore is also getting a new defensive coordinator, Mike MacDonald, and Ojabo will be working under him.
Despite his injury, the Ravens made pass rush a priority in the draft. After all, the Ravens finished 24th in pressure and sack rates last season. And with starting inside linebackers Tyus Bowser and Oweh recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, their interior pass rush is still a work in progress. A second-round pick like Ojabo could make a difference.
The Ravens were in a position to make a move, and Ojabo’s injury shook the Ravens’ confidence in him. Ojabo, a native of Nigeria, had a pro day where he was considered a top-20 pick. However, he tore his Achilles during the process, slipping to Round two. In a way, he became an excellent value in the draft, and the Ravens chose him with the 45th overall pick. While he’s still only 21 years old, he flashed top-tier potential last year and flashed impressive numbers.
Ojabo played for Michigan under Jim Harbaugh, and he was a force on Michigan’s offensive line last year. In addition to sacks, he recorded 12 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles. His size and speed made him an appealing prospect to scouts. His forty-time at the NFL Combine was 4.55. His background in soccer has helped him improve his quickness and footwork.
Ojabo will likely be a pass-rush specialist, but his strengths are more in the run game. He can play the role of a pass-rusher, but he lacks vision and anchor. As a result, his first few years of playing run defense may be volatile. While he has great raw speed and bend, he may need a year as a pass-rusher before he reaches his potential.