New York Giants: Will Owamagbe Odighizuwa Step Up?
By Michael Stewart
In the 2015 NFL draft, the Giants selected, Defensive End, in the 3rd round out of UCLA. During his 4 year career at UCLA, Odighizuwa compiled a total 134 tackles (49 of those were assists), 24.5 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks. Not an overwhelming career stat’s to say the less, however; the Giants are banking heavily on Odighizuwa to contribute entering his 2nd season in the NFL.
During his rookie campaign, Odighizuwa was placed on short-term IR with a variety of injuries (foot and hamstring) and never was able to showcase his abilities on the field. Fast forward to 2016, Owa Odighizuwa will have plenty of opportunity to show the Giants that he can at least be that third viable pass-rusher who, if Pierre-Paul moves on after this year, can ultimately move into the starting lineup.
The biggest obstacle I see with Odighizuwa is the fact that he is not a pure pass rusher and more of a run defender 1st and foremost. He will need to learn and grow into a reliable pass rusher at the NFL level and hopefully he can learn quickly. All the ingredients are in place for Odighizuwa as he has the strength, speed and athletic ability to develop into a solid two way defender on the defensive line.
Final Thoughts: The key for Odighizuwa now is to stay on the field (health wise) and be a reliable commodity along the Giants defensive line rotation. If he can do that and if Pierre-Paul and Vernon come as advertised, the Giants will have three solid pass-rushers they can unleash at any given time.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will have many more options to explore with his personnel packages in 2016. The Giants won the last 2 Super Bowls because they had a deep and tenacious DL that put constant pressure on the QB. This formula should not be ignored and it looks as if GM Jerry Reese is trying to duplicate the Giants past success into the current Giants team.