David Ojabo, Edge Rusher, Michigan: 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report

2022 NFL Mock Draft, David Ojabo. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
2022 NFL Mock Draft, David Ojabo. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

David Ojabo had an incredible rise this past fall, and could be a very early pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s go under the microscope for a scouting report.


Name: David Ojabo

School: Michigan

Position: Edge Rusher

DOB: May 17, 2000 (21 years old)

Height*: 6’5”

Weight*: 250 pounds



David Ojabo has a story made for Hollywood. Ojabo was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria before moving to Aberdeen, Scotland as a seven year old in 2007. He spent the rest of his childhood and most of his adolescence there.

In that time, Ojabo became a prolific soccer player across the pond. He was clearly a different type of athlete than his peers, leading his coach to suggest a move to the states in an effort to earn scholarship opportunities. After initially shrugging it off, Ojabo decided that he would create some highlight reels and send them off to prospective colleges to see if he could rustle up any interest.

Much to his surprise, a number of teams reached out and let Ojabo know that they had legitimate interest in him. Ojabo then made the decision to see it through by moving to America at age 15 and enrolling at Blair Academy in New Jersey.

He did not have much interest in football upon arrival, instead opting to play basketball and become a member of the track team. While he never found success on the hardwood, the same cannot be said with track. Ojabo went on to win a state championship in the 100-meter dash by recording a time of 10.93 seconds.

To say this turned some heads would be the understatement of the century. The football coach at Blair Academy persuaded Ojabo to give football a chance. After initially rebuffing his overtures, Ojabo received his first phone call from a college football coach. Without playing a single snap of football in his life, Ojabo was nudged by a Rutgers assistant coach to give it a shot.

This woke up Ojabo to the possibilities that laid in front of him. He left his futbol aspirations behind and suited up to see how he fared in American football. This is when his path crossed with eventual first-round pick Odafe Oweh. Oweh and Ojabo followed very similar paths, both in their personal life and athletic careers. In fact, Ojabo gives all the credit to Oweh for blazing a trail that he and many others in the future will follow.

"And then I give big credit to Jason Oweh who’s at Penn State. He actually pretty much he paved the way, if I’m being honest, like he paved the way for everybody who went to Blair (Academy) because he started the whole movement with football. I did the same thing he did, a little basketball, this and that, and then he did football, he blew up. From there, I was like, ‘Yo, you could do it, I could do it.’ And then, of course, I’m competitive, so I told him I’m gonna get more offers than you, I think he had like 28, I ended up getting 35, so it was just, I was just blessed. I had the right people around me, I was mature enough to handle it. Coach (Jim) Saylor, you know, Coach (Mike) Coyle, like just everybody, everybody around me in my corner, it was easy for me, you know, because I wasn’t alone.-David Ojabo via The Michigan Insider"

Despite never putting on a helmet until high school, David Ojabo racked up a total of 35 college offers. Ojabo was made to feel like a celebrity on his visits to the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, Texas A&M, and Penn State. When all was said and done, Jim Harbaugh won him over and Ojabo committed to be a Wolverine.

Ojabo spent his true freshman season on the scout team, gaining valuable reps and experience. He improved week in and week out, leading to being named Michigan’s Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. The following season in 2020 allowed Ojabo to see the field, predominantly as a special teams player, but also seeing action in three games at linebacker.

At long last, Ojabo began seeing the fruits of his labor in 2021. In 13 games — starring opposite of Aidan Hutchinson — Ojabo wreaked havoc on backfields. He recorded 35 total tackles (12 for loss) and 11 sacks. Ojabo also forced a remarkable five fumbles, showing his innate ability to swipe at the ball while pursuing a tackle, and quickly got on the 2022 NFL Draft radar.

He is just scratching the surface of the type of player he can eventually be. After a breakout junior season, Ojabo is firmly in discussions to be a top-ten pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

2022 NFL Draft Profile

Best Traits

Athleticism: The 2022 NFL Draft is loaded with incredible athletes, especially at the pass rushing position. Arguably the best of those athletes is Michigan’s David Ojabo. With a soccer and track background, this shouldn’t come as a major surprise. Ojabo uses this supreme athleticism to get a quick burst off the line of scrimmage. His first step is on par with even the best in the NFL today. Using this natural foot speed, he flies by heavy-footed tackles and consistently puts himself in position to bring down ball carriers and quarterbacks alike.

Bend: Bend is something that isn’t super coachable, it’s just natural, and it makes Ojabo a very good 2022 NFL Draft prospect. Ojabo is not simply an elite athlete, he also is quite technical. He is extremely flexible and uses it to out leverage opposing offensive linemen by repeatedly keeping his pads at a low level, and flashing elite bend around the edge. This comes natural to Ojabo. He remains low while keeping his legs churning, making it nearly impossible for a blocker to latch onto him or to impede his path to the quarterback. With NFL coaching, it is scary to think about where Ojabo could be by the end of his rookie deal.

Frame: It is like David Ojabo was made in a factory that mass produces pass rushers. He has the prototypical frame in which scouts look for when labeling a player a “franchise cornerstone”. He stands at 6’5 and approximately 250 pounds and when you look at Ojabo, it is clear that he can continue to put on another 10-20 pounds without jeopardizing his elite athleticism. Look for Ojabo to become even more of a physical freak after spending time in an NFL strength program.

Finesse Rushing Moves: Ojabo has a full repertoire of finesse moves on the outside. He sinks his hips well and stays incredibly balanced when in pursuit. Ojabo executes both the swim and swipe move very well and has flashed a nasty spin move at times. His quick first step and sturdy frame — coupled with his natural ability to allude blockers — makes for a tough assignment, even for the best of offensive tackles in the NFL.

Potential: David Ojabo is only a fraction of what he could be. He has had some great coaching along the way, at Blair Academy and Michigan both. A lot of what Ojabo learned was on the fly until he landed in Ann Arbor. There he refined his skills and morphed himself into a football player. With how good his coaching was, there is still a gap between coaching at the amateur level and coaching professionals. Ojabo will have a defensive line specialist that should be able to mold him even more and help finish polishing off this diamond. That potential makes for a high 2022 NFL Draft pick.

Needs Improvement

Experience: As successful as Ojabo was in his final season as a Wolverine, it remains the only evidence that scouts have to use for projecting his future. It is easy to say that he should continue improving, but until it actually happens there is a legitimate concern about his lack of experience. Some of the finer details of the game still need ironed out and his general understanding of defensive concepts has a long way to go.

Strength: Ojabo is pretty strong with his frame on the outside. The worry is when he tries to get off blocks and finds himself overpowered by NFL-sized linemen. When he’s out in the open and moving forward, he is able to generate useful momentum. However, when he is in pursuit of the ball carrier on runs between the tackles, he can be eaten up by maulers in the run game. His legs cannot produce enough torque from a standstill position, meaning that when blockers beat him off the line, he is oftentimes stuck in the mud and effectively taken out of the play entirely.

Technique: Ojabo is still learning the sport. He excels at most of the basics but will need to continue refining all facets of his game. Whether it be getting off blocks in the run game or improving in coverage, there is still a raw quality to his game. If Ojabo is going to play OLB in a 3-4, coverage is the main skill he will need to enhance. He will not be able to simply “out-athlete” opponents as easily as he could at the collegiate level.

Power Rushing Moves: As great as Ojabo is with the swim, swipe, and spin moves… he’s equally as frail in the power rush department. He has strong hands and a solid frame but his bull rush is non-existent on tape. It is worrisome that he was unable to overwhelm lower level talent at any point in his college career. It makes it hard to imagine that he will all the sudden start becoming more physically dominant early in his professional career. Ojabo will have to improve his lower body strength a bit more and modify his timing when executing a power rush. He needs to be able to keep tackles from planting their anchors in the turf.

Final Thoughts

David Ojabo has quite possibly the most unique story in the entire 2022 NFL Draft. He grew up in Nigeria and Scotland, a pairing that does not happen often. This granted Ojabo a perspective that so few people have the luxury of being able to see. He is more well traveled than a vast majority of humans, with the bulk of it coming before he could legally drive a vehicle. Showing steady improvement throughout his time as a practice squad and special teams player at Michigan, there is reason to believe that his best days of football are ahead of him. He is a lock for the first round and I cannot wait to see where the next phase of Ojabo’s story takes him.