Philadelphia Eagles: 3 Senior Bowl defensive prospects to keep an eye on

Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /
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Philadelphia Eagles
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Defensive end/tackle. Bruins . Osa Odighizuwa. 4. player. 836.

What? Another UCLA Bruin? Jeez, someone is biased.

Yes, as a Bruins alumnus, I’ve probably watched more UCLA football than anyone else in the great state of Pennsylvania, so you can trust me when I say that Osa Odighizuwa has the potential to be a really good player for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Now sure, some will point to Wake Forrest’s Carlos Basham as the defensive lineman to get from the Senior Bowl if you’re a 4-3 team looking for pass-rushing help, and for good reason. He’s a big burly rusher who can attack a ball carrier at the point of contact, a speed-to-power edge who can block off the option on outside zones deployed out of a wide-9, or even an interior rusher who can lineup off the shoulder of a guard and do damage versus bigger interior offensive linemen.

In a lot of ways, Odighizuwa can do all of that too, only he’ll probably be available on Day 3, whereas the Eagles would likely have to trade back into the second round to guarantee Basham’s services.

Measuring in at 6-foot-2, 279 pounds, Odighizuwa was a three-down defensive lineman who routinely lined up over an opposing left guard’s outside shoulder next to nose tackle Otito Ogbonnia, where he was responsible for opening up holes for linebackers like Caleb Johnson to attack ball carriers and make plays versus the run and the pass. Though his sack totals at Westwood are a tad underwhelming at 11.5 over 37 career games, Chip Kelly’s defensive coordinator, ex-Eagles defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro, routinely used his defensive linemen as two-gappers, so that is to be expected.

If placed in an attacking front like the scheme Jim Schwartz used to run, there’s little reason to believe Odighizuwa couldn’t double his average sacks per season as soon as his rookie season – assuming, of course, he’s given enough snaps to get it done.

Next. 3 Senior Bowl offensive prospects to keep an eye on. dark

While some may question the decision to invest an early Day 3 draft pick on a defensive lineman who is a bit of a projection in a 4-3 scheme, Odighizuwa clearly shined in the role in the Senior Bowl and could likely parlay that success into a long run at the NFL level. If anything, buying low on the UCLA prospect may line the Philadelphia Eagles up for the rare draft-day steal, as they could still use a third-rusher behind Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave, assuming Malik Jackson is released and Vinny Curry isn’t retained.

Pro comp: Pac-12 Vinny Curry