The Cincinnati Bengals need to add to their interior defensive line this week. The common line of thinking is that they’ll go for more of the athletic, pass-rushing type, but they may also want to add true bulk, given the physicality of the AFC North.
One of the biggest and strongest defensive players in this year’s class is UCLA defensive tackle, Otito Ogbonnia. There is a lot in Ogbonnia’s profile to like—particularly if we’re talking a mid-Day 3 pick, where he is projected to go.
Position: Defensive tackle (Nose/1-Tech)
Age: 21 (will be 22 years old in regular season)
Projected Round: Mid-third to mid-fifth
Ogbonnia was a multi-sport athlete with the Bruins, being a football standout and a track star in the shot put. While it took him a little while to make an impact in the former, flashes were seen from him in 2020 playing with Osa Odighizuwa (2021 third-round pick by Dallas) on the UCLA defensive line.
He took another step forward as a true senior this past season, notching two sacks, five tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble. He had some nice moments at the Senior Bowl, as well, posting some nice reps in drills.
D-lineman pancake. #UCLA DL Otito Ogbonnia gets a good push up front. #SeniorBowl #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/kdFFTOzPYz— PewterReport (@PewterReport) February 2, 2022
One guy who looked great throughout one-on-ones today at the Senior Bowl was UCLA NT Otito Ogbonnia. Flashed his power pass rush upside and some quicks on back-to-back reps. Sleeper. pic.twitter.com/qHSUqUO5cw— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) February 2, 2022
Additionally, in the above-embedded video, Ogbonnia had a couple of nice reps against Zion Johnson, who is likely going to be a first-round selection (Johnson held his own a couple of times against Ogbonnia, too).
His 29 repetitions (actually 31, but two were docked for improper technique), were the most by a defensive player
Using the term “strengths” is a little bit funny with Ogbonnia because “strength” is one of his biggest....strengths. He’s a huge guy that moves blockers with an effective bull rush.
Both scouting reports and film show that he can get penetration through an offensive line to create some messes for the opposition. He’s a big bodied guy who would work well as a rotational nose tackle in standard 3-4 fronts.
Additionally, Ogbonnia a bit younger and one of those potential “ascending players”, even if his NFL ceiling isn’t sky-high. We’re not talking about a guy like Devonte Wyatt (another good interior defensive line prospect), who just turned 24 years old—Ogbonnia will be just 22 during this NFL season. Being that young and already possessing ideal NFL size and strength profiles bodes well for him.
Finally, Ogbonnia is known to have high character and great work ethic. As we know, Zac Taylor and his staff highly covets those traits from players whom they draft.
Ogbonnia was a multi-sport athlete at the collegiate level, but questions on his lower body athleticism linger. He can bully and move people with his combination of size and strength, but what he does afterward remains a question.
There were some plays by Ogbonnia that elicit the “Nice! Then what?” type of response. What we mean by this is Ogbonnia shows good ability to create initial havoc, but a lack of bend/athleticism/agility limits him from making truly impactful plays on the regular.
Have a look at his RAS profile after his Pro Day:
Otito Ogbonnia is a DT prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 4.75 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 725 out of 1378 DT from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/zmOrP8brG1 #RAS pic.twitter.com/BeTrM5yQbi— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 25, 2022
Now, the vertical and broad jumps weren’t done, nor were the shuttle and three-cone, but that’s where the questions center with him. Is his able to actually move pretty well for his size, or did he just get by at the collegiate level by being stronger and bigger than most of defensive line colleagues?
Teams will like the size and strength of Ogbonnia, and he could carve a niche as a Pat Sims-like rotational player along a defensive line. While he may need time to get accustomed to NFL offensive line talent, his size and strength are already developed to give him a leg-up.
However, when it comes to the Bengals and their drafting of him, Ogbonnia doesn’t seem to necessarily be a guy they need right away. They just drafted big Tyler Shelvin last year, re-signed Josh Tupou this offseason and still have D.J. Reader in the fold.
Since he doesn’t have much positional versatility on the line (three-tech, anyone?), Ogbonnia would really only make sense as depth/competition, a replacement for someone in the rotation and/or if he falls farther than expected and is the best available player on the team’s board after previously meeting other roster needs.