Can Cleveland tap into the potential of Michigan Edge David Ojabo?

2022 NFL Draft Cleveland Browns

Raw but incredibly fast. Athletic and with long arms and a relentless motor.

Those were among the traits used to describe former Atlanta Falcons edge Takkarist McKinley.

But McKinley never quite put it all together and was eventually waived, briefly signed by Las Vegas and is now an unrestricted free agent for Cleveland.

Meanwhile, the Browns are still looking for a permanent solution on the opposite side of defensive end Myles Garrett, as free agent Jadeveon Clowney is set to become an UFA after signing with Cleveland in the offseason to a one-year deal.

Can Michigan edge David Ojabo serve as “Robin” to Garrett’s “Batman”? Or will he suffer a fate similar to McKinley?

McKinley was under-the-radar his first two seasons for UCLA, racking up 38 tackles, 10 TFLs and 6 sacks. He went on to have a breakout junior season, finishing with 61 tackles, 18 TFLs, 10 sacks and 10 passes defended before becoming the No. 26 overall pick in the 2017 draft.

As much as McKinley was a “one-hit wonder,” though, he still had far more experience than Ojabo does entering this draft. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound pass rusher barely saw the field his first two seasons at Michigan before his breakout junior season in when he finished with 35 tackles, 12 TFLs, 11 sacks and 3 PDs. He also recovered a fumble and forced five.

Still, it’s hard not to compare Ojabo to McKinley.

Like McKinley, Ojabo is also an explosive athlete with decent length. And, like McKinley, Ojabo is among the fastest edge players in his draft class. McKinley ran 10.58 100-meters in his first year on his high school track team. Ojabo, meanwhile won the 2018 prep state title in the 100-meter dash with a personal-best time of 10.93 seconds.

However, the better comparison might be to Ojabo’s former high school teammate, Odafe Oweh, who is also from Nigeria. Baltimore drafted Oweh in the first round this past season with the No. 31 overall pick. He finished the season with 5 sacks and 33 tackles.

The Bleacher Report, meanwhile, compares Ojabo to former Florida defensive end Brian Burns. From the B/R report: “Ojabo is a high-ceiling speed-rusher who is more comfortable from a stand-up position right now. He may need a year as a designated pass-rusher while he tries to add some strength and hone his run defense skills, but he has the raw speed and bend to generate pressure on the outside sooner rather than later.”

Cleveland hasn’t drafted a pass rusher since taking Chad Thomas in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, one year after making Garrett the No. 1 overall pick in 2017.

Ojabo is the No. 12 prospect in the latest Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board.


Click here to see what Cleveland might do with the rest of their picks in the upcoming draft

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