Despite signing a pair of young, up-and-coming defensive tackles this offseason, the Chargers shouldn’t feel content just yet about where their defensive interior currently stands.
In next week’s draft, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if they used their first-round pick on another defensive lineman, even after adding Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day. However, we know it’s not the team’s biggest need and with positions like offensive tackle and cornerback looking a bit more fragile, they’d be smart to look for more help along the interior in the later rounds.
Enter UCLA lineman Otito Ogbonnia, a 6’4, 324-pound tackle that reportedly met with the Chargers this past week, according to Pro Football Network insider Tony Pauline. At the moment, Ogbonnia is currently being viewed as a fourth-round prospect.
Based on his career numbers alone, it’s probably a surprise to even see him held that highly in draft circles. In four years with the Bruins, Ogbonnia has recorded 76 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and just 4.5 sacks. Those are the type of statistics you’d like to see in a span half that size, not an entire collegiate career.
His final year at UCLA, one in which he totaled five tackles for loss and a pair of sacks, was still notable enough to get him invited to this year’s Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.
Per his draft profile at NFL.com, Ogbonnia is being viewed as a one-technique or nose with an ideal build and play strength. He pushed out 29 reps on the bench press in Indianapolis which checks out when you view his powerful initial punch against opponents. NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein likes the way he can elude blockers in the A gaps, but it’s his lack of agility from there on that limits his ceiling as a pass rusher. Unless a quarterback runs into his lap, he’s probably not going to find the quarterback in the pocket.
As it stands, Ogbonnia seems to be a project at the position due to his lack of notable athleticism and his having just one season of experience starting for the Bruins. However, his brute strength will help him win more than he may deserves if opponent’s don’t respect his bull rush from the jump.
If UCLA DT Otito Ogbonnia wins the leverage battle, the advantage is going to go in his favor far often than not.— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) February 1, 2022
Former champion shot putter and you can see how it translates in how he strikes.pic.twitter.com/D2Yo6gpesY
As always, let me know what you all think of Ogbonnia as a prospect and where you’d ideally like to see him come off the board should the Chargers believe he’s the guy for them.