Esezi Otomewo Scouting Report

How will one half of the “Nigerian Nightmares” transition to the next level?

Minnesota defensive end Esezi Otomewo doesn’t receive the same type of media attention as teammate Boye Mafe, but he’s absolutely a next-level player in his own right. A Reese’s Senior Bowl invitee (DNP), Otomewo is an ascending player who has asserted himself as one of the most intriguing scheme-versatile defensive linemen in the 2022 class. Let’s get into the Esezi Otomewo scouting report.

Measurables:

Height: 6’5 ¼”

Weight: 286 pounds

Arm Length: 34”

Background

Otomewo hails from Indianapolis, Indiana, and powerhouse Ben Davis High School. He has Nigerian roots, making up one-half of one of the best nicknames in college football, the “Nigerian Nightmares,” with the aforementioned Mafe. 

Otomewo, who totaled 69 tackles and eight sacks as a senior, was a three-star recruit per 247sports. Originally committed to Western Michigan, Otomewo flipped to Minnesota, following head coach P.J. Fleck to the Twin Cities.

Due to being raw both physically and instinctually, Otomewo redshirted as a true freshman in 2017. While sitting out, he won the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. Following his redshirt season, Otomewo closed his career by playing in all 46 possible games, starting 20. From 2018-2020, he racked up a combined 51 tackles, including eight for loss and 4.5 sacks

Otomewo made massive strides in 2021, compiling 30 total tackles with 4.5 for loss, and three sacks. Not only did his numbers improve, but his film became substantially better, as well. He was voted as an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention by both the league’s coaches and the media, and seemed primed for a big week at the Senior Bowl before withdrawing due to an injury suffered in Minnesota’s bowl game.

Esezi Otomewo Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Impressive mover for his size with adequate change of direction and suddenness.
  • Standout run defender with above-average stack/shed and edge-setting ability, and he’s stout at the point of attack.
  • Has inside/outside versatility, and despite mixed results as a pass rusher from the interior, his size, athleticism, and arsenal create a promising mix of traits to work with.
  • Substantially improved intellect throughout his career; NFL-caliber run/pass recognition, screen identification, and understanding of body positioning.
  • Motor runs hot, and he plays with active hands and feet.
  • Adequate toolbox that consists of a swim, chop, swipe, rip, spin, and club; he also incorporates hesitations and euro steps on occasion.
  • Can succinctly snatch in the run game and is fluent at dislodging OL’s hands from his body in his rush.
  • While not an elite accelerator, Otomewo really covers ground in pursuit, and he has an impressive amount of closing burst.
  • Plus-body control with solid sync between feet and upper body, and his jersey is largely clean.
  • Described as having tremendous practice habits, character, and work ethic.
  • Noteworthy frame with plenty of room for growth if needed.

Weaknesses

  • Down-to-down impact rushing the passer isn’t consistently there – he struggles stringing moves together and doesn’t always rush with a plan.
  • Likely not an early impact pass rusher and may be relegated to an early-down role at the next level.
  • Hands lack exceptional power, and his overall punch timing and connectivity aren’t where they need to be.
  • Doesn’t have the burst needed to threaten around the arc as a pass rusher
  • Ankle flexion is adequate for his size, but he’s not highly adept when it comes to pinching the corner at the apex.
  • Inconsistent finisher as a result of a relatively poor strike zone, though there is upside here with his length, closing twitch, and grit.

Summary

The soon-to-be 23-year-old Esezi Otomewo is a ready-made NFL run defender with an impressive frame that provides scheme versatility. Relatively under-recruited coming out of high school, Otomewo has done nothing but improve while at Minnesota, inspiring confidence that he’s still on an upward trajectory upon entering the league. 

While still a bit raw with his plan of attack and blending of moves, the expanded arsenal Otomewo displayed in 2021 offers an exciting look at what he could become with further refinement as a pro. Otomewo largely played 5-technique from a 3- or 4-point stance, and he projects to remain there as an easy projection into a 3-4 defense. That being said, Otomewo’s frame should enable him to kick inside on passing downs, and he has the growth potential in his body to adopt a more permanent role inside should a team choose to do so.

In conclusion, the Esezi Otomewo scouting report reveals an extremely talented athlete whose pre-snap processing, lateral range, and hand usage as a run defender should give him a shot to see the field early at the next level. Otomewo also has significant upside as a pass rusher as he continues refining his instincts and technique as a pass rusher, and his added versatility should only help his stock.

Grade: 80.4 (Third Round)

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