When I highlight a new mock draft, I’m usually using another publication’s latest work. But today, we’re looking at a mock from SB Nation’s very own JP Acosta.
JP updated his first-round projections after yesterday’s Super Bowl now that the order of the first round is officially complete and he’s got the Chargers dipping into the large talent pool of the SEC with their first pick.
With the 21st-overall selection, the Bolts were paired with LSU edge rusher BJ Ojulari, the younger brother of current Giants pass rusher, Azeez Ojulari.
Here is what Acosta had to say about the selection:
“I like the fit of LSUs BJ Ojulari to the Chargers a lot. LA is in an interesting spot cap wise, and with both star EDGEs Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack missing time this season, Ojulari gives them another young pass rusher with great traits. He’s bendy and is great at using his speed around the edge, and while he’s not the best in run defense, he can develop there while being a designated pass rusher to start.”
The Chargers need help on the edge and I don’t think they can expect Chris Rumph to take a big enough step in 2023 to keep them from addressing the need in this year’s draft. While I don’t necessarily believe it should be addressed in the first round, a pick on day two or early on day three sounds like the right range.
At 6’3 and 345 pounds, Ojulari is built like your traditional standup edge in today’s NFL. He’s got the ideal bend and flexibility to sneak around tackles and his first step explosion is one of the best in the draft class. As a run defender, he’s better working off the backside of runs and chasing down ball carriers than he is setting the edge on the front side.
In three seasons with the Tigers, Ojulari recorded 16.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss. His best season came in 2021 when he notched 12 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
Following his final season in Baton Rouge, Ojulari was named a First-Team All-SEC selection after recording 5.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss with a career-high 58 total tackles. He also finished the season second in pressures per game among SEC defenders with 4.75.
SEC leaders in pressures/game in 2022:— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 12, 2022
1. Byron Young, Tennessee (4.80)
2. BJ Ojulari, LSU (4.75)
t3. Will Anderson, Alabama (4.33)
t3. Derick Hall, Auburn (4.33)
With his athletic twitch and motor, Young continues to rise. pic.twitter.com/avPY3np5Ze
Depending on which publication you read, you can find Ojulari being projected as a late first-round pick or even as low as the fourth round, although the latter end of the spectrum is much harder to come across than the former.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein believes Ojulari has the potential to be a good pro, but he just needs a bit more polish to his overall game. Specifically, Zierlein wants to see Ojulari play with more consistent effort in the run game and for him to add another tool or two to his pass rush repertoire.
BJ Ojulari with the mean long arm pic.twitter.com/MwKfEM3skY— EJHolt_NFLDraft (@EJunkie215) October 27, 2022
What do you all think of this selection? Would you be content with Ojulari in the first? Let me know all your thoughts below.