Big Play Longhorns Edge Rusher

April 11th, 2021

Texas edge rusher Joseph Ossai.

There is something about defenders who seem to have a nose for the football that you just cannot teach.

And that is what comes to mind for Joe watching clips of Texas edge rusher Joseph Ossai. The guy is always around the ball, whether it is sacking quarterbacks, making tackles or blocking field goals.

This Ossai sort of reminds Joe of a taller version of Devin White.

Ossai also seems to make big plays at the right time. He sealed wins over Oklahoma State and Iowa State with sacks. And given how the Big XII is a no-defense league (though Oklahoma is getting better), if you have a stud on defense, teams will key on him. Yet Ossai still made plays.

Dane Brugler of The Athletic has this breakdown on Ossai.

STRENGTHS: Relentless pursuit player and competes with a maniacal motor…quick out of the gate with terrific acceleration…stays balanced through contact to grind the outside shoulder of blockers…powerful hands and uses a quick stab to soften the edge…stays low through gaps and when attacking blocks, allowing him to fork lift his man … much of his production comes from his secondary rush effort … large tackle radius and able to make fingertip tackles…flips a switch on the field and never takes a play off, which frustrates opponents and allows him to consistently be around the football…the Texas coaches call his effort “not good, not great, but phenomenal”…a lead-by-example type and his teammates feed off his energy…experienced as a rusher and off-ball player…excellent tackle production the last two seasons as a starter.

SUMMARY: A two-year starter at Texas, Ossai played the JACK pass rush position in former defensive coordinator Chris Ash’s hybrid 4-2-5 scheme, standing up on the edge. After playing the “B backer” position as a freshman and sophomore, he moved to more of a pass rush role in 2020, but he was productive regardless, combining for 29.5 tackles for loss and 145 tackles over 22 starts the last two seasons. An impressive pursuit player, Ossai is consistently around the football and makes plays that he has no business making due to his play speed and hustle. While he plays quick, he wins more with effort and his body stiffness hinders his ability to win at the top of his rush. Overall, Ossai is a linear athlete who lacks fluidity in his rush or redirect, but his foot is always on the gas with the compete skills and locked-in effort that helps mask some of his issues. He projects as a physical 3-4 edge defender.

Brugler expects Ossai to be drafted in the middle of the second round. Joe believes this would be a nice pickup for depth and for Bucs defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers to take that effort of Ossai’s and turn it into sack production.

How about the Bucs trading back from No. 32 for this Ossai?

16 Responses to “Big Play Longhorns Edge Rusher”

  1. SB~LV Says:

    On the inside Marvin Wilson from FSU could be a 2 or 3 round option … lots of NCAAF talent was lost in the China virus shuffle, it has been a long time since I really didn’t want a particular player for the Bucs to draft.

  2. Mitch Says:

    Azeez Ojulari is the most polished edge rusher of the bunch this year. I hope that he falls to the bucs at 32. He didn’t play a lot last year (400 snaps), but earned 8.5 sacks in big moments and was great against the run. He is the ideal football player for Todd Bowles system.

    Second to him, Patrick Jones II in the second would be amazing.

  3. JimmyJack Says:

    Reading his little bio there he sounds like a guy fit for Bowles. The versatility is big but even bigger is that he sounds like a guy that loves the game.

  4. Jeffbuc Says:

    The play where he caught the sooner runningback was really impressive. He looked like a man playing with 12 year olds. He ran 15 yards in 1 second. Was out running everyone. Love that hussle. His pass rushing looked very similar to shaq. I would draft him with the 32nd. He looks ready to produce from day one. And get 5 years at a cheap rookie contract. The highlites look like he could get 8 sacks as a part time pass rusher.

  5. Cobraboy Says:

    “his body stiffness hinders his ability to win at the top of his rush.”

    That translates into getting stoned by decent OT’s in the NFL. “Top of the rush” is where most edges win or lose.

  6. RioDeJaneiroBucsFan Says:

    I think that the Bucs will trade back a few spots if there isn´t a real prime prospect at No. 32 (except for RBs, my guess is that Licht´s choice will be a third-down back at the bottom of the 3rd round or trading up in the 4th round).

    The Dolphins have a lot of draft capital and they´re just four spots behind. If Etienne or Harris are still available, the Bucs might get an extra 2nd round pick. Maybe it´s too much for just four spots, maybe not.

    But no matter where the Bucs will have their first pick, I´m confident that Licht will do the right thing and get the best player available.

    In case of doubt, the major priority is OLB depth. DT depth would be nice too, but this draft is very thin at this position.

  7. Stanglassman Says:

    In January he was ranked 22nd BPA currently 40. If Todd B. wants him at 32 so do I.

    I think one of those top 4 cbs are going to be the BPA and therefore the pick at 32. A. Samuel might or might not be included in that group.

  8. Buczilla Says:

    This guy didn’t have huge sack production last year with only 5.5, but I’ll take that any over Jason Oweh and his 0 sacks in 2020.

  9. SB~LV Says:

    I don’t want the Miami DE Rea something, he looked lumbering in short distance start and stop in his Pro day

  10. ncbucsfan Says:

    Marvin Wilson is trash! Bad work ethic and doesn’t love football. Ossai sounds like Carl Nassib. I’ll pass unless he’s a 2nd rd pick. I’d take Oweh on upside due to his oberwhelming athleticism. We have a staff that has been producing in the area of player development. I’m hoping Caleb Farley falls to No. 32….that would be ideal

  11. SB~LV Says:

    You might be right about Wilson, all I know about the program is that it had lots of talent but poor leadership

  12. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Cobraboy: Yes, an edge rusher needs to be able to bend. Ossai could still make it in the NFL if he doesn’t have the requisite bend, as an ILB.

  13. stpetebucsfan Says:

    @Cobra and Joe In Michigan

    I take both of your points. The kid does have some great closing speed and he’s certainly big enough to go to inside LB if needed.

    I just think seeing Shaq, Devin, and Ossai on the field would give blitz loving Bowles lots of options. And it’s not like LVD can’t get sacks when given the opportunity.

    I like Joe’s concept however. If we could get a guy like this AND another draft pick from trading down it could be a sweet deal.

  14. DoooshLaRue Says:


    He looked like a man playing with 12 year olds.

    Is that really the type of guy we want on our team?

    But seriously, I’d be very happy with that pick.

  15. Joe in Michigan Says:

    If the Bucs decide that Ossai (or another edge rusher) is their guy, with his value being in the mid-2nd Round, I’d rather see them trade up from the 2nd Round than trade down from the 1st. That way, they know their guy will be there when they pick. Maybe give up a pick next year in that trade.

  16. alaskabuc Says:

    I’m good with a trade back that lands this guy