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What Owa Odighizuwa needs to do to earn playing time for the Giants this season


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The Giants consider defensive end a "premium position." They said as much after selecting Owa Odighizuwa in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft.

But premium players at that premium position have a common trait. They rush the passer effectively.

The Giants gambled on Odighizuwa developing into that kind of player, with that kind of premium skill. With a little work, they envision him as their next Justin Tuck, who was also selected in the third round with the 74th-overall selection.

"We're hoping to hit on [Odighizuwa] as a pass-rusher," general manager Jerry Reese said after the Day 2 pick.

They all agree it's going to take some work. In order for Odighizuwa to earn significant playing time at a crowded position (the Giants already had Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers, George Selvie and Damontre Moore at defensive end), his pass-rushing ability must improve.

After six sacks his senior season at UCLA, it's admittedly an unrefined part of Odighizuwa's game.

"Even when I use athleticism, my moves aren't that precise and I miss on some certain ... like a club or one-armed hammer, I miss my aiming point," he said after rookie minicamp practice over the weekend. "That is what [defensive line] Coach [Robert] Nunn was teaching me [Friday]. Different hand placement is key, and where you hit them on the hand is critical. That is definitely what I see I need to work on."

Odighizuwa has four months. How quickly he develops will determine how much he sees the field on defense his rookie season.

Ayers, Selvie and Moore are all likely ahead of him on the depth chart at left defensive end to start opposite Pierre-Paul. Odighizuwa's going to need an impressive summer to seriously work into the mix.

It can be done.

"Really [need to work on] technique and repetition," Odighizuwa said. "I think I'll get it down. Definitely need to rep it, rep it, rep it until it becomes automatic muscle memory. That is pretty much it."

His strengths right now are using his power to stop the run and rush on the edge. He also has some quickness that makes him an attractive inside rusher to the Giants coaching staff. It part of why coach Tom Coughlin was especially high on him in the draft.

If Odighizuwa is able to quickly take his pass-rush ability to the next level, the Giants may have more than what Reese expects, at a minimum this season ‐ a core special teams player who is learning to adjust to the pro game.

They may have a difference-maker to play opposite (or replace) Pierre-Paul, who is expected to play on a one-year deal this season.

"His pass rush will be the key," a scout said of Odighizuwa before the draft. "If he shows he can get to the quarterback, he's really going to be a good player.''

The Giants are banking on it. They see big thinks in his future. And you can see why.

Odighizuwa is 6-3, 267 pounds with incredible "gymnastics," as the Giants like to call it. He plays physical and with power. He can play and rush inside and out. That's quite a skill set if he can do it all well.

But, as Odighizuwa fully admits, it will take some refinement of his technique and pass-rushing ability.

 

http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2015/05/what_owa_odighizuwa_needs_to_do_to_earn_playing_ti.html

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I think like Tuck, he will just be used on specials and a little spot duty his first year.

 

If he's any good, Spags will get him in there, just like he did with Tuck. We'll see.

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