Position: Edge defender
Weight: 242 pounds
School: Oklahoma Sooners
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.77 seconds
Bench Press: 27 reps
Vertical Jump: 38 inches (third among defensive linemen)
Broad Jump: 10 feet, 1 inch
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo 2018 NFL Draft Profile
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo came into this world a football player. At birth, he tipped the scales at over 12 pounds. To date, he is still the largest baby ever born at North Florida Regional Medical Center. Upon seeing the baby behemoth, the nurses declared he was born to be a Florida Gator. His Nigerian born parents, Benson and Augusta, disagreed. Mom and dad hoped that Obo, as he’s often called, would grow up to be a doctor, lawyer, or perhaps a pharmacist like his father. That was before they saw him on a football field.
For most of his high school years, Okoronkwo kept his football involvement at Alief Taylor High School a secret from his parents. They held him to high academic and behavioral standards and although he always met their requirements, he knew they would disapprove. His mother learned of his gridiron pastime in his junior year, but his father didn’t find out until the following season.
When Benson Okoronkwo saw what his boy was capable of, he explained to Obo he had been given a gift from above. “You have to use it to better mankind”, he said. “You have to remember your purpose and always know that you are your family’s ambassador wherever you go.”
After a senior year with 13 of his 50 tackles coming for a loss and 11 sacks, the offers rolled in for the three-star recruit. Okoronkwo had a dozen offers from schools like Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and others. Eventually, Obo made up his mind. He would play for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Okoronkwo redshirted in 2013 and made his college debut the next year. He played 11 games in 2014 putting up relatively pedestrian statistics. The next year, he played in just nine games, registering a sack here and there. Overall, Obo’s first two seasons at Oklahoma were unremarkable.
The young edge defender really hit his stride in 2016. His nine sacks that year tied Eric Striker for the most in a single season at Oklahoma. He had some big games as a junior as well. Okoronkwo broke out for nine tackles, two sacks with an additional hurry, and a forced fumble versus Oklahoma State.
Against Texas, he made a career-high 11 tackles and forced another fumble. Obo also broke up his first career pass in that game. All told he made 67 tackles, 12 for a loss, nine sacks, three pass breakups, and two forced fumbles in 2016. His play as a junior made him second-team All-Big 12 according to coaches and the Associated Press.
Sensational Senior Season
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo didn’t slow down a bit after his breakout season. This time, he made Second Team All-American. He finished the year ranked second in the Big 12 with 17.5 tackles for loss, and his eight sacks ranked him third in the conference. A five-tackle effort in the Rose Bowl put a period on his days as a Sooner. Okoronkwo graduated from Oklahoma with a degree in African and African-American studies.
- plays low, gets great bend and leverage when turning the corner;
- quicker than he is fast, has the explosiveness to get in the backfield;
- sets the edge and can shut down stretch plays;
- great first step and impressive spin move;
- natural pass rusher instincts;
- able to shed blocks quickly and make a play on the ball;
- skilled at setting up offensive linemen to catch them off guard later on.
- run defense needs some work;
- bites on run-pass options and draw plays;
- doesn’t possess the size most NFL teams are looking for in an edge defender;
- gets lost in coverage at times;
- plays too tall at times, dominant NFL blockers will swallow him up when he does.
NFL Comparison: Vic Beasley
Teams With Need at Position: New York Giants, New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs
Projection: Late third to fifth round
Okoronkwo is tough for evaluators to pin down. He flashes at times, but it’s unclear whether his talents will translate well at the next level. His long arms and quickness could make him an effective linebacker, but lack of size will keep him off the defensive line. He plays aggressively, sometimes to a fault. His film is quite impressive at times and his spin counters are phenomenal. If he lands with a coach who knows how to harness his aggression, Okoronkwo can be all boom and no bust.