Alex Okafor DE Texas #80
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Size/Athleticism: Definitely looks the part. He’s tall and well built, but lacks the elite athleticism to put him at the top of this draft class. His straight-line speed is adequate in short burst (much better than his 40 time indicates) but he isn’t quick. Easily slowed down by traffic and struggles to work his way around offensive linemen even when he isn’t engaged.
Run Defense: Does an adequate job holding up at the point of attack. He struggles to shed blocks at times, but he holds his ground. Doesn’t make a ton of plays in pursuit unless he has a free path to the ballcarrier. He isn’t very quick in tight spaces, and struggles to maneuver through traffic. Even when he’s not engaged, just working his way through the bodies on the field slows him down considerablly.
Pass Rush: Sort of a ‘tweener in terms of his pass-rush skill set. He’s not explosive enough to be a speed edge-rusher, but he’s not strong or physical enough to excel as a bull rusher. He gets the job done with a combination of both, but he’ll need to refine his technique in order to excel in the NFL.
Versatility: Played a nice mix of linebacker/end depending on the defensive formation. Should have no problem playing in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Some experience dropping in coverage, but he gets lost easily. Struggles to move fluidly while keeping track of receivers in his zone and his eyes on the quarterback.
Intangibles: Voted 2012 team captain.
Durability: Slowed by an ankle injury in 2012. Didn’t work out at combine due to a hip injury suffered at Senior Bowl.
Comments: Okafor isn’t an elite pass-rusher, but he has the skill set to develop into a well-rounded lineman. How good he becomes will depend on how dedicated he is to refining his technique, because he lacks the elite raw tools to guarantee him a starting job at the next level. I wouldn’t count him out as a potential future Pro Bowler, but it will take some time to develop him. He reminds me a little bit of Justin Tuck, and could become that type of player with work.