The Bills continued to add free agent pieces by signing defensive end Owa Odighizuwa. The Giants made Odighizuwa, a physical specimen weighing in at around 270 pounds on a 6’3″ frame, a third round pick out of UCLA in the 2015 NFL Draft. He has incredibly long arms at 33 and 3/4 inches and even ran a 4.62 forty at the combine. But all of that athleticism hasn’t had a chance to develop. Odighizuwa took time away from the game prior to last season, then after his return he was suspended four games for testing positive for performance enhancing substances. In total, he has played 299 snaps and registered two sacks, two QB hits, eight pressures, and three stops, per Pro Football Focus.
After watching all of his snaps over the last few seasons, Odighizuwa appears very raw. He uses his length really well, typically winning the hand placement battle on runs, and he has the feet to stack and move laterally on outside runs to hold contain. But he struggles to disengage consistently on inside runs and at the point of attack. Aside from his obvious athleticism, his consistent pass rush move was the straight arm to the chest of opposing tackles. If that move was matched, he had no counters. In fact, he showed very little in terms of any sort of pass rush plan. During one of the games at the end of 2016, the Washington Redskins were content with having their tight ends, Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, block Odighizuwa 1-on-1. But I did like what I saw from him as a pass dropper in zone blitz situations. He didn’t just drop to a landmark; he found threats and eliminated them as receiving options.
In New York, Odighizuwa aligned at both defensive end positions in two- and three-point stances. He even played defensive tackle on passing situations and was able to win on stunts and games due to his blend of size and athleticism. Odighizuwa has been training at New Athlete Fitness Center in Vancouver, Washington over the last 2-3 months. According to trainers there, Odighizuwa is squatting 620 pounds, benching 425 pounds, and is not experiencing anymore pain in his knee, wrist, or back. He’s cleaned up the personal issues off the field and is now ready to prove that he belongs back in the league.
On the NFL Draft front, I have heard from two sources this week that, while the Bills are going to do their due diligence on all of the quarterbacks, their front runner is Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Allen is far and away the biggest boom or bust prospect in this draft. He struggled to perform against top competition, and he struggles with anticipation and accuracy. Allen is 6’4 7/8″, 237 pounds and a pretty good athlete, but his best trait is his arm strength, something that may come in handy in the elements in Orchard Park. I do recall super agent Tom Condon (CAA), the agent of both Josh Allen and Sam Darnold, shooting the breeze for over half an hour at the Senior Bowl with Bills GM Brandon Beane and assistant GM Joe Schoen. It was during that conversation that Allen air mailed a pass into the first row. This story is something that we will continue to monitor as the offseason progresses.