With defensive tackle being a position that could use an infusion of talent on a longer-term horizon, there is a good bet the Bucs could target the position in the 2023 NFL Draft later this month.
In order to try and narrow down which players might be more of a priority for the team, I took a look at the physical profile and athletic testing scores of other defensive tackles Bucs head coach Todd Bowles has been involved in drafting previously to try and find trends and minimum thresholds the team may use to narrow their search. After comparing those thresholds to the current crop of draft-eligible prospects, I identified four potential fits for Tampa Bay. After profiling Mazi Smith, Zacch Pickens and Dante Stills, today I finish up with Texas defensive tackle Moro Ojomo.
Originally a four-star prospect out of Katy, TX, in 2018, Ojomo opted to stay in state and committed to the University of Texas after receiving offers from 24 schools including Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Oregon. The redshirt senior proceeded to log 42 games over his career with the Longhorns, including 12 games in each of his final two seasons.
Totaling 95 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, two passes defensed and a fumble recovery, Ojomo’s production doesn’t leap off the page. But he did save his best season for his last, as he set career highs in tackles (32), tackles for loss (5.5) and sacks (three) in his senior season in 2022.
Ojomo’s down-to-down play was at its best this past season as well. His Pro Football Focus grade was easily the best of his college career, coming in at 90.6, with matching career highs in run defense (91.4) and pass rush (84.1), while also notching a career high in pressures (26) on just 206 pass rushing snaps.
One thing that will surely act as a knock on Ojomo’s evaluation by teams — including the Bucs — is a lack of play time. Despite playing four seasons, Ojomo only logged 1,594 total snaps, averaging just under 38 snaps per game in his career. And during his final year in Austin, that average fell to 31 snaps per game as the Longhorns used a regular rotation on the defensive line.
At 6’2 and 1/2 inches and 292 pounds, Ojomo is definitively on the smaller side for an interior defensive lineman. His height is in the 34th percentile and his weight is in the 17th percentile for the position, per mockdraftable.com.
Despite the small stature, the majority of the rest of his physical and athletic profile is quite impressive. His arm length, hand size, vertical and broad jump all ranked in the 80th percentile or above. And his athletic testing is capped off with a 40-yard dash time and bench press that both ranked above the 60th percentile. As a matter of fact, the only number besides his height and weight that ranked below the 50th percentile was his 10-yard split. All of this shows a player whose athleticism overcomes his stature.
Moro Ojomo is a DT prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.10 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 134 out of 1478 DT from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/RATPIfhjrr #RAS pic.twitter.com/1hLiWTRsjH
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 16, 2023
All told, Ojomo cleared the parameters I identified in nine of the 11 areas tracked. Those were height, arm length, 40-yard dash time, 10-yard split, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone time and short shuttle. The only two areas that he missed the cut were in weight (three pounds off of the cutoff) and bench press, where his 29 reps were one shy of the 30 mark I identified.
Ojomo’s College Tape
Despite the lack of statistical production, there is a lot to like with Ojomo’s game. In stark contrast to his underwhelming 10-yard split, Ojomo consistently flashed a quick first step that is the basis for his exceptional play. This ability to fire off the line with a speed that opposing offensive linemen had trouble matching gave Ojomo the opportunity to shoot gaps quickly and wreak havoc in the backfield.
Here, you can see an example of this as Ojomo (#98) is lined up over the right guard in the following clip.
Ojomo’s burst off the line allowed him to penetrate through the outside zone movement of Alabama’s offensive line as he powered through the center to knock the running back down.
Building off of this solid initial trait, Ojomo showed an intelligence in layering in his long arms to get into blocker’s chests and control the point of attack in the run game.
This use of his arm length to create separation between himself and the offensive lineman allows Ojomo to keep his eyes in the backfield so he can follow the ball carrier and quickly readjust to any cuts he might make.
The Bucs should like the motor and quickness Ojomo brings to the table as a pass rusher. Once again, it is that quick first step that is his calling card allowing him to penetrate through the inside shoulder of guards most often. He couples that with an arm over as a counter that looks to me to be his only real pass rush move at this time.
This ability helped Ojomo record 26 pressures on just 206 pass rush snaps last season, per PFF. That 12.6% pressure rate was 1.4% higher than likely 1st/2nd round pick Adetomiwa Adebawore.
How Moro Ojomo Could Fit In With The Bucs
While Ojomo is far from a perfect prospect, he brings a lot of projectable attributes to the table that could help bolster the Bucs’ defensive line room. He is big enough (with some room to grow) with a powerful lower half to operate as a 4i in base sets.
On nickel/pass rush sets, Ojomo can kick in to the interior more as a 3t, complementing nose tackle Vita Vea by using his long arms and quick burst to become a gap-penetrating pass rusher who should help give some juice to a Bucs front four that was lacking last season.
The post Bucs 2023 Draft Profile: DT Moro Ojomo appeared first on Pewter Report.
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