The 2020 season was quite successful for the New York Giants defensively. Their free-agent class in the winter of 2020 allowed them to construct a solid defensive unit. It was arguably the best defense that the Giants had had in years. While last season was certainly a bright spot for the Giants, there is always room for improvement. For one, they have built the best secondary in the NFC entering the 2021 campaign. To complement this, they have built upon last year’s strong front seven, primarily through the draft. One key pickup that the Giants made this offseason was the selection of Georgia OLB Azeez Ojulari in the second round of the draft. Ojulari, who was a projected first-round pick, tumbled down big boards on draft day. This is primarily a result of his medical history and somewhat diminutive stature. Despite these factors, Ojulari was still a steal by the Giants in the second round and should look to make a big impact on defense this season.
How Big of an Impact can Ojulari Make?
While it is rare for a second-round pick to make a major impact defensively in their first year, there is still lots of hope for Ojulari this season. After all, the Giants have had great luck with second-round defensive picks. Take Landon Collins or Xavier McKinney as an example.
With this being said, what kind of role will Azeez Ojulari play for the Giants this season? Well, Ojulari was a boom or bust selection, so it is hard to say for sure. The NFL gave him a 6.39 draft grade during the draft process, which indicates that he will become a starter in his first two seasons. Therefore, there is no real guarantee that he even starts this year. On top of that, Ojulari has a history of injuries. If old wounds flare up again, Ojulari could spend some time off the field.
Despite these, if Ojulari beats the odds, he could be an enormous difference-maker for the Giants. If he sees significant playing time this year, he could be a force of nature in the trenches and rack up plenty of sacks. Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report even went as far as to say that he could be a candidate to register double-digit sacks.
Moton’s comment is high praise for almost any player, especially an unproven rookie. Hopefully, for Giants fans, Ojulari is able to fulfill these lofty expectations. However, fans should also not get their hopes up, as there are lots of uncertainties surrounding him. Ultimately, it is impossible to know what to expect for Ojulari this season. He has a high ceiling and a low floor, so he could either make an enormous impact or none at all. Only time will tell.