Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is versatile, as he can play both linebacker and defensive end, which makes him an intriguing prospect.
The Oklahoma Sooners are known mostly for their high-powered offense, led by Heisman-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield.
However, Mayfield was not the only player to win awards on the Sooners’ roster. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, an electric defensive end, shared Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors with Texas’ Malik Jefferson.
His combination of skill and experience, as the redshirt senior is quite the disruptor, will pay dividends in the eyes of scouts.
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Position: Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
High School: Alief Taylor High School
Weight: 240 lbs
Okoronkwo has elite speed and explosiveness when getting to the backfield. Once he gets his motor going around the edge, there is no way to stop him, plain and simple.
He has the perfect size to be an outside linebacker. Okoronkwo’s skill set is reminiscent of Ravens linebacker Tim Williams, who moved from edge rusher to linebacker as a rookie last year, although Williams is a bit larger.
Okoronkwo is always aware of where the ball is. Having a nose for the football pays off, as he had 17.5 tackles for loss, two passes batted down and forced three fumbles this past season.
He is not the best run defender by any stretch. The Houston native can be fooled by the option and gets stood up by linemen on draw plays. However, he is good at shutting down stretch runs and pitches to the outside.
Okoronkwo’s weight is problematic when he faces bigger and larger offensive linemen. In the NFL, most offensive linemen, if not all, exceed 300 pounds, something that Okoronkwo must be able to combat and overcome.
His length pales in comparison to the linemen that would block him. As a result, it will often be difficult for him to get the edge at the next level.
Okoronkwo is a very skilled pass rusher with the size of an outside linebacker. He belongs in a 3-4 defense where he can fit in on the outside and also have some opportunities to get after the quarterback.
However, he doesn’t regularly belong on the defensive line in the NFL. He can be taken out of plays all too easily by bigger offensive tackles that combat his explosiveness with overpowering strength and length.
Okoronkwo will have a few more opportunities to showcase his skills in the College Football Playoff and in the Senior Bowl. As of now, it is wise to expect Okoronkwo to end up going somewhere in the fourth round if not early on in the fifth.