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New Orleans Saints Draft Prospects: UCLA Bruins DE/OLB Owamagbe Odighizuwa

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Nov 8, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa (94) stands with his teammates before a game against the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

While his name may be tough to pronounce, UCLA DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa‘s impressive talents at the NFL Scouting Combine were certainly not difficult to admire.

2014 was likely just an off year for Cam Jordan, Akiem Hicks and the rest of the defense, but the New Orleans Saints could without question use an additional pass rusher to get after opposing quarterbacks.  Many experts believe the Black and Gold will go that route when the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft kicks off April 30 in Chicago.

Odighizuwa is a man defined by potential.  He’s a fascinating specimen with a freakishly shredded body, long arms, disruptive instincts and a football IQ that could suite him well as a pro player.

While his prime task was sealing the edge and stopping the run for the Bruins, Odighizuwa’s physical characteristics and abilities, especially his blazing speed, could help him mold into a solid pass-rushing outside linebacker in Rob Ryan‘s 3-4 scheme.

From UCLABruins.com:

"2010 – Saw action in 10 games and made six starts … Named to Rivals.com Pac-10 All-Freshman team … Made 4.0 sacks on the year to rank No. 5 on the team in that category … Made his first appearance in the Stanford contest and recorded one tackle … Did not see action versus Houston … Came off the bench at Texas and against WSU … Made his first career start at Cal and collected two tackles – both sacks … Had one tackle assist in a start at Oregon … Also started against Arizona and Oregon State … Made four tackles, one for loss, at Washington … Against USC, he was credited with one sack … Defensive tri-winner of UCLA’s John Boncheff, Jr. Memorial Award for Rookie of the Year.2011 – Appeared in all 14 games and made one start … Named to the honorable mention Pac-12 All-Academic team … Had three stops at Houston … One tackle vs. San Jose State … Recorded four stops vs. Texas … Had a tackle for loss at Oregon State … One tackle at Stanford … Blocked an extra point against Washington State … Had three tackles at Arizona and two vs. Colorado … Made his first start of the season at Oregon and made one stop … Credited with four tackles, two for loss, in the bowl game vs. Illinois.2012 – Saw action in all 14 games with one start (Baylor) … Ranked tied for ninth on the team with 44 tackles … Recorded four tackles, with a sack, in the opener at Rice … Tackle for loss vs. Nebraska … 0.5 tackle for loss vs. Oregon State … Made three stops, including a sack, at Cal … Three tackles vs. Utah … Credited with four tackles vs. Arizona … Registered six stops at Arizona State … Fumble recovery and deflected two passes vs. USC … Three tackles, one for loss vs. Stanford … Seven tackles, 0.5 sack, in P12 Championship Game at Stanford … Six tackles, one sack, a fumble recovery in the Holiday Bowl … UCLA’s Maggie Gilbert Academic Achievement Award winner.2013 – Did not see game action2014 – Starter in all 13 games … Team co-captain … Tied for the team with 11.5 tackles for loss … Credited with a career-best 61 tackles which ranked fourth on the team … Second-team All-Pac-12 selection by the coaches … Had a career-best eight tackles vs. Utah, including a career best 4.0 tackles for loss … Also recorded eight tackles at Washington … Made six tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack in bowl win over Kansas State … Named to the Academic All-Conference – honorable mention – team …Presented the Paul I. Wellman Award for All-Around Excellence and the Bobby Field UCLA Captains Award at the team’s annual banquet."

In 2013, Owamagbe Odighizuwa had two surgeries on his hip, which is why he sat out that year.  He will require thorough medical monitoring during his beginning years in the NFL.

His sack numbers at UCLA are nothing to brag about — he has trouble winning around the edge due to a deficiency in explosive burst.  However, again, this is a man defined by potential with some serious upside under the right scheme.  Odighizuwa’s future is very bright as a 3-4 OLB — the speed is real.

Scouting Combine Measurements:

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 267 LBS

Arm length: 33 3/4 inches

Hands: 11 inches

40-yard dash: 4.62 secs (2nd among DL)

Bench press (225 LBS): 25 reps

Vertical jump: 39.0 inches (1st among DL)

Broad Jump: 127 inches (1st among DL)

3-cone drill: 7.36 secs

20-yard shuffle: 4.19 secs (2nd among DL)

60-yard shuffle: 11.75 secs (3rd among DL)

Odighizuwa is a raw talent that possesses the speed, athleticism and intelligence to eventually become a household name under the right system.  The New Orleans Saints are that system.

After a disappointing draft in 2014, it will be interesting to see how Sean Payton and company execute during this year’s selection process come April and May.  Until then, Owamagbe Odighizuwa remains a compelling candidate.

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