Previously, we suggested that the New York Giants might use Owa Odighizuwa in a Von Miller-type role. Now, it seems Owa could be moved around the defensive line like Justin Tuck.
According to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, the Giants appear to have big plans for the third round draft pick from 2015. The former UCLA product plans on talking to Tuck to get tips as Spagnuolo plans to use the versatile defensive end in ways similar to Tuck, particularly as a pass-rushing defensive tackle.
Raanan notes that when the Giants practiced during the spring, Odighizuwa often lined up on the interior alongside defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins in nickel and pass-rushing defenses, confirming that Damon Harrison might indeed be the two-down player that many feared Big Blue paid too much for.
Owa recapped how he’s been utilized so far in camp:
"“I’m moving around, doing different things. Sometimes I’m dropping at our ‘Joker’ position. Sometimes I’m rushing from that position [as a linebacker]. Sometimes I’m at defensive end. Sometimes I’m rushing from tackle.”"
Raanan made a great point: Odighizuwa’s role may be similar to that of defensive end/linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka. Regardless, Owa has the same physical stature as Kiwanuka and Tuck (6 feet 5 inches, 260 pounds), and Giants fans would be ecstatic to have Owa put up numbers like Kiwi’s.
Over nine seasons, Mathias played in 120 games, starting 82. He had 13 forced fumbles, 38.5 sacks and 412 tackles in that span. His career approximate value of 43 puts him among the ranks of Chris Calloway, Jim Burt, and Jason Sehorn. While Kiwi wasn’t an All-Pro or Pro Bowler like Tuck, he was dependable and effective.
As for Owa’s road to becoming Justin Tuck 2.0, it’s been reported he’ll be working out at UCLA with Pro Bowl Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker, first round draft pick from 2014, Anthony Barr and Vikings middle linebacker, 2015 second round pick, Eric Kendricks. Odighizuwa said he feels it helped to watch veteran defensive end Robert Ayers have success as an interior rusher last season.
If Owa has a year like Tuck did in 2007, the Giants could be in store for another Super Bowl run.