Prospect: Alex Okafor, DE, TexasAlex Okafor

Height: 6’4½”

Weight: 264 lb.

Athleticism:

  • Footwork is very deliberate, struggles with short-area quickness and changing directions
  • Prototypical 4-3 defensive end size including long arms which he uses effectively
  • Frame appears to be mostly maxed out, meaning he won’t get much bigger without limiting athleticism
  • Little burst to close on the ball or off the snap, hips are a bit stiff as well
  • Lack of foot quickness shows in space, heavy legs

Intelligence/Effort:

  • High motor as pass rusher and in pursuit, maximum effort player
  • Shows pre-snap anticipation which aids a quicker read and react process
  • Very schematically discipline with understanding of responsibilities, not a freelancer
  • High stamina player, made some of his biggest plays in the fourth quarter of games

Pass Rush:

  • Strong bullrush generated from lower half, drops pad level and places hands well
  • Variety of pass rush moves generally limited, they all hinge on the bullrush initially
  • Not a speedy or dynamic pass rusher, unable to run past the slowest of offensive tackles
  • Needs to win control of tackles with long arms and dictate hand usage
  • Nose for the ball as a pass rusher, frequently showed ability to force fumbles from disadvantageous positions
  • Prone to taking a false step when rushing from two point stance, will need to have his hand on the ground
  • Drops into coverage occasionally, drastically improved footwork to backpeddle from junior to senior seasons
  • Not a batter of passes, rarely gets his arms up and into passing lanes, struggles to play the ball in coverage with mediocre ball skills

Run Support:

  • Struggles to disengage due to lazy hands, locked up by blocker far too often
  • Tackle numbers generally low to due average range in the open field
  • Can stack and redirect running backs as well as anyone at the point of attack
  • Impressive upper body strength aids ability to split gaps and get into the backfield
  • Consistently shows ability to force tackles upfield and set a definite edge

Technique:

  • Flashes ability to bat pass blockers’ hands as a pass rusher to keep his chest clean
  • Footwork doesn’t match his work with his hands, stops his feet too often and generally slow with them
  • Hand usage very polished, has some technician-like qualities as a pass-rusher

Overall:

Alex Okafor won’t be the high impact pass rusher in the NFL that he was in college football.  His game simply doesn’t translate right away.  Okafor’s biggest games in college were when he was able to take advantage of offensive tackles with limited ability to anchor against his bullrush.  He’s going to see higher quality pass blockers week in and week out in the league.  That’s not to say I think he’s going to end up a major bust.  He’s too developed and technical for that.  He will not be a dynamic pass rusher who can put up high sack totals though.  Okafor recorded 12.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles as a senior.  He recorded 7 sacks as a junior and 2.5 sacks as a sophomore.  His production in the college game is undeniable.  I just worry the transition to the next level is going to be a tougher one than most expect.  That’s not to say Okafor doesn’t have any value.  Most teams would be happy to plug a reliable defensive end who shows up in big moments at the left end spot.  He shouldn’t be a first round pick though.

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