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Raiders Draft: Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA scouting report

A space-eating defensive tackle

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NCAA Football: UCLA at Arizona State
Otito Ogbonnia
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders' new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham likes his big bulky defensive tackles and UCLA’s Otito Ogbonnia fits that bill. Ogbonnia is a former powerlifter and nationally ranked shot-putter who made Bruce Feldman’s freaks list with a 685-pound squat and 440-pound bench while having an 82-inch wingspan.

DT | UCLA | 6’3 3/4” and 324 pounds | Houston, TX

Overview:

Otito Ogbonnia came to UCLA as a three-star recruit and the 49th-best defensive tackle in the country for the 2018 class, per 247 Sports. From his true freshman to junior year, he mixed in the starting rotation and played behind Osa Odighizuwa, who was a 2021 third-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys. With Odighizuwa in the pros, Ogbonnia took over as a leader and full-time starter on the Bruins’ defensive line, primarily lining up anywhere from a zero- to a 3-technique. The Houston native racked up 76 total tackles, 8.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks and 35 pressures in college.

Strengths:

  • His get-off gets better as the game goes on and he starts to time up the snap, typically around mid- to late-third quarter
  • When he lands with his hands and gets them to the offensive lineman’s chest, he has the strength to collapse the pocket with a bull rush
  • Solid rip move to beat and get pressure against smaller centers
  • Runs a tight hoop as a looper in line games to take an efficient path to the quarterback
  • Very impressive upper body strength and arm length — 34 3/8” — to lock out guards fairly easily, and he can get extension with a long arm to further take advantage of his long limbs
  • Takes on blocks with good hand placement on the offensive lineman’s chest and a wide base which helps him two-gap
  • He’s hard to move against one-on-one base blocks and can park himself in his gap
  • If slanting puts him in a good position versus zone runs, i.e. the slant is to the play side, he has the size and strength to absorb blocks, keep penetrating and make TFLs
  • Against down blocks, he gets his eyes and hands to the right spot to take on the offensive lineman coming down on him
  • With his extension and strength, shedding blocks isn’t much of an issue
  • He has no problems tackling in his gap or with offensive linemen hanging on him, and running backs have little to no chance of breaking his tackle when he brings his feet
  • Snap to whistle type of player who never quits on plays and can help on gang tackles down the field
  • When tackling in space, he’s better at bringing his feet with him compared to tackling in the gap/closer to the line of scrimmage

Areas of Improvement:

  • Below average get-off until he starts timing the snap later in the game and isn’t quick with his first three steps, making it difficult for him to put pressure on offensive linemen, especially as a pass rusher
  • A run-first player who has slow run-pass transition against play action
  • Lacks a plan when pass-rushing, rarely uses counter moves and doesn’t set up moves throughout the game
  • Needs to use his hands more frequently when bull rushing, his hands are typically down by his waist and he just tries to run into blockers
  • When using a swim move, he has too big of an arm over which exposes his ribs to the offensive lineman and is a little stiff in the hips to clear his lower half and get a clean win
  • As the looper in line games, he’s slow and lacks the change of direction skills to turn speed to power, so he has little to no momentum going into the offensive lineman
  • Late to react to screens, he often thinks he’s beaten the offensive lineman in pass rush when they release
  • He will get reached against reach blocks and scoops because he lacks the agility and overall movement skills to use his feet to help defeat blocks
  • Against base blocks, he’s late with his hands, plays with high pad level and has a habit of stopping his feet on contact which could be an issue at the next level when facing guards who play with leverage and can match his strength. He was pretty reliant on his size and strength advantages in college.
  • If slanting puts him out of position, his lack of knee bend makes it difficult to fight back against pressure, opening up cutback lanes on zone runs. Also, could afford to finish with an aggressive rip move when slanting to get offensive linemen off of him.
  • Against double teams, he lacks the peripheral vision to see and anticipate the second blocker coming and has balance issues that will lead to him ending up on the ground
  • Doesn’t have the agility to shed and make tackles in the adjacent gap as a one-gapper
  • Likes to dive and leave his feet when tackling in the box
  • As a spy against scrambling quarterbacks, he takes too shallow of an angle and his speed limitations make it difficult for him to rally and prevent first downs
USC Trojans defeated the UCLA Bruins 43-38 during a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bowl.
Otito Ogbonnia
Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

Injuries:

  • 2021: Minor lower-body injury (missed 0 games)
  • 2021: Injured right hamstring during the combine

Projection:

NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 163rd overall, 5th round

Ogbonnia had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl where he had more success as a pass rusher than what his game tape and stats showed. That boosted in ranking up from 230th to as high as 96th overall, however, his projections have settled down since then. To me, he’s a high-end Day 3 pick who can be a solid two-down defensive tackle in the NFL.

Schematically, I think the former Bruin be best as a two-gapping nose tackle and shouldn't align any wider than a 2-technique. That way his lack of a get-off, for two and half quarters, isn’t as big of a deal and the defense won’t be relying on him to put pressure on the quarterback. He has the size and strength to get the job done, it’s just a matter of getting his hands up faster and learning how to play double teams.

What do we need to know?

Are his issues taking on doubles fixable and/or how long will it take to fix them? To put it simply, if Ogbonnia is going to carve out a niche as a run-stuffer in the NFL, he has to get better at holding his ground against double teams. What worries me the most is that he constantly appeared to get caught off guard by the second blocker, suggesting he lacks the peripheral vision to see and anticipate the guard or tackle coming. That’s a lot more difficult to fix than say a strength issue or something else that can get better with more athletic training like his lack of balance.

Fit with the Raiders:

Ogbonnia reminds me a lot of the recently re-signed Johnathan Hankins. Coming out of Ohio State, Hankins was a shade under 6’3”, weighed 320 pounds and had 33” arms, so they’re fairly comparable in build and play style. With the veteran on a one-year deal, he could serve as a mentor for the soon-to-be rookie and that would give the Raiders another massive defensive tackle who can help stop the run. Plus, the team would have a successor for the 30-year-old.

Graham likes to have his defensive tackles two-gap, so Ogbonnia would be a good fit schematically as well. The UCLA product even fits the coach’s “type” for the position. It’s just a matter of if Las Vegas is looking for an interior defender who can consistently put pressure on the quarterback now that they have Hankins, Vernon Butler, Kyle Peko and Andrew Billings — who are all run defenders — under contract for the next season.