Indianapolis Colts: Making the Case for Owamagbe Odighizuwa


In this “Making the case for…” series I analyzed a number of potential targets for the Indianapolis Colts but I still haven’t touched upon edge defenders. Is there a pass rusher worth a late first round pick? Even if this doesn’t seem to be a pressing need I believe the Indianapolis Colts need to evaluate every option with their 29th overall pick. UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa is a name to keep an eye on at the end of the first round.

More from Indianapolis Colts

As recently reported by Mike Wells of Robert Mathis suffered a “slight setback” while recovering from a torn Achilles and it’s not clear yet when he’ll be back on the field. Even if he does recover fast enough to join the team mid-season, how well can he play? Achilles injuries are tough blows and Mathis will likely need some time to regain his explosiveness.

Indianapolis could look for Mathis’ potential replacement early this year and edge rusher Owamagbe Odighizuwa would be a very good candidate for that spot in my opinion.

The 6’3″, 267 prospect from UCLA finished the 2014 season with 61 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks after missing the 2013 season due to a hip surgery. He played 38 games with the Bruins from 2010-2012 and was named team co-captain last year.

Odighizuwa is a physical specimen that can adapt to both a 3-4 and a 4-3 defensive scheme and be an effective edge setter. His burst at the snap of the ball is very good and his long arms (33 3/4″) and big hands (11″) are always active during a play but he needs to be more consistent overall. As far as pass-rushing skill set he flashed a nice spin move and an effective bull rush but will need to add more moves to win against NFL tackles.

Odighizuwa’s play speed is good but not great as he often can’t bend the edge and fails to pressure the quarterback. He’s effective against the run thanks to a good tackling technique and relentless effort. analyst Charles Davis believes that Odighizuwa is the kind of player who will have a better career among the pros than in college:

Odighizuwa is similar to [Bud] Dupree in that he’ll flash on tape but then won’t pop up again for a while. Can he be a force and string together a series of good games? We don’t know yet. He sure looks the part, though. […] He missed the entire 2013 season after undergoing surgery on both hips, so injuries have certainly been a factor in his career. If he can stay healthy and put it all together, he should be a better pro than college player.

Health is definitely a concern but the talent is there and Odighizuwa’s potential is huge as he could turn into a beast edge rusher with the right coaching and mentors and with the Colts he would have both. Learning from such a talented player like Robert Mathis could be exactly what a player like Odighizuwa needs to become an excellent football player.

Next: First round mock - Colts select OL

More from NFL Spin Zone