Azeez Ojulari one of NY Giants’ few bright spots, future building blocks

New York Giants outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Rookie edge rusher Azeez Ojulari leads the NY Giants with eight sacks, entering Sunday’s season finale against the Washington Football Team

The night the NY Giants made Azeez Ojulari the team’s second-round pick in last spring’s NFL Draft, the pick was heralded by executives and those inside the league as one of the steals of the entire draft.

“I like him quite a bit,” a rival NFC personnel executive told FanSided on draft night, on the condition of anonymity to be able to speak freely about the Giants’ incoming rookie. “Good production against the quarterback in college, has a good motor, and he’s a damn good athlete.”

Part of a Giants draft class that has largely disappointed — and made a minimal impact — Ojulari has been the standout.

As Ojulari’s rookie campaign comes to an end Sunday afternoon against the Washington Football Team, the Georgia alum has lived up to those expectations and been one of the few consistent bright spots of the latest forgettable Giants season.

Ojulari enters the season finale with a team-high eight sacks.

Additionally, Ojulari has produced 39 quarterback pressures in 417 pass-rush snaps, and his 57.4 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus is 11th among the NY Giants’ front-seven defenders.

When Ojulari was chosen by the NY Giants, the organization hoped that he would be a building block for a pass-rush that has struggled to produce consistent playmakers in recent seasons. Ojulari has delivered, with a 2.5 sack lead over Leonard Williams for the team-high.

The NY Giants’ defense will face myriad questions this offseason, including fellow Bulldog Lorenzo Carter’s future, and edge rusher will likely once again be atop the team’s target board as the NFL Draft approaches this spring.

But, Ojulari has shown through his rookie season that he’s plenty capable of an expanded role and anchoring the NY Giants’ pass-rush presence for years to come.