Broken Fibula (19)
2019 Vs: Georgia, Virginia 2018 Vs: Vanderbilt
Great pass rusher, with a relentless motor. Has a lot of speed rushing skills, with a mean single arm stab bull rush. Very versatile player, who can play multiple positions.
Can be a little over ambitious at times and over run a play. Also needs to improve vs the run, but that should come with time and bulking up a bit. Big physical lineman can eliminate him in the run game.
Okwara is a very talented pass rusher and with some fine tuning, can become a defensive force. He is very comparable to a Jerry Hughes type, with more of an upside than Hughes entering the league. He broke his fibula late in the season, so his health is going to play a big role in where he is drafted. He is best fit to be a 3/4 OLB, I think he would be a perfect fit for the Chiefs if still there.
A fantastic athlete that has all the traits you look for in an edge rusher. He is very quick with both his hands and feet and is able to use several different techniques to beat the offensive line. His natural talent can get him in trouble at times, because he gets over aggressive and takes himself out of plays. He is a speed rusher, so naturally has great flexibility. He is quick off the line and gets into an OTs space, then has a great shoulder dip that allows him to get under the block. It's clear Okwara knows exactly how to use his flexibility, because he is a very slippery guy to block. Okwara has a ton of explosiveness. He always fast off the line and uses his quickness to overwhelm offensive lineman. Notre Dame as a whole plays great team defense, where everyone is coached to get to the ball. Okwara has definitely understood the concept, because he never quits on a play. There are some runs though, where he gets beat right off the bat and is taken out of the play. Being a speed rusher, you need to be coordinated and Okwara is very coordinated. He is able dip under a lineman and never stop his rush, he is also very effective using his hands.
Pass Rush Ability:
Use of Hands
Pass Rush Moves
Big Play Ability
He is always fast off the ball and very decisive on what his first move will be. He always has a plan of what he wants to do and sticks to it, as long as the play allows him to. There are times that his initial plan doesn't work and he can be washed out of the play, but that is usually only against elite competition. Okwara has great hands. Whether it's hand fighting with a offensive lineman, or making a pass rush technique to blow past a lineman. Again the fact that he is a speed rusher, is a big factor to why active hands are a must. Okwara is smaller than your average DE, but has learned to use his speed and quickness to gain leverage on offensive lineman. He is very fast off the line, so is a lot of times in the lineman's body before the lineman can get his hands on Okwara and it causes them to become unbalanced. However, tackles with a lot of power can beat Okwara. Okwara has an extensive arsenal of pass rush moves. He is very efficient with his hands and has a great dip to get under his blocker. He doesn't have a lot power moves, but he does have a really effective single arm stab bull rush and it's a real problem to deal with. He has been a main piece of a very good ND defense the past few years and has put up a lot sacks, so clearly he has good finishing ability. The reason his grade goes down here is because he doesn't always have good form when trying to make a play and it allows the ball carrier to run through him.
Against The Run:
He uses a lot of the same techniques playing against the run, as he does when he rushes the passer. Though these moves are great for pass rushing, it gets him in trouble against the run and he can run himself out of a play. If he plays OLB at the next level, he shouldn't have to worry about that problem. Yes he can shed a blocker very well, but he doesn't know how to consistently stack the blocker. He is always trying to blow past his opponent and takes himself out of plays. That is why he needs to move to linebacker at the next level, because he can play in space and use his speed appropriately vs the run. Okwara is very good at shooting gaps. This goes back to his decision making, because he sticks to what he is supposed to do and doesn't hesitate. This allows him to clog the hole and prevent a positive play. He just needs to learn to sit in the hole and not run past it. Runs at him is where his over aggression can hurt him. When Okwara gets too deep here, he causes his team to lose the edge and it opens a huge hole for the runner. He also can be overpowered by a blocker when the play is coming to him and the lineman is coming directly to him. Okwara is much better playing the run, when the play is going away from him. This to me is the main reason he should move to OLB, it proves how much better he is playing in space. He is a solid tackler and isn't afraid to deliver a big hit. However his form isn't very strong, so runners with a lot of power can run through him. You see this a lot in the Georgia game, when he is not only playing one of the top O-Lines in the country, they also have a stable of RBs. He is a smart player though, so good coaching in the NFL should fix this.
Set the Edge
Stack and Shed
Gap Shooting Ability