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Offseason | 2021

Odighizuwa Followed Brother's Path To NFL 


Third-round pick Osa Odighizuwa's brother, Owa, has been through what Osa went through Friday night. Actually, he went through almost exactly what his brother went through. In 2015 Owa was the 74th overall pick by the New York Giants.

Friday, six years later, the Cowboys drafted Osa with the 75th overall pick, so the older brother barely gets to maintain bragging rights.

"He might bring it up a little," Odighizuwa said. "But there are things I have done that he

hasn't done and there are things that he's done that I haven't done."

On Tuesday before the draft, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones spoke about the "osmosis" that occurs from players who grew up or spent time around NFL players.

Essentially, they pick up knowledge of the game more naturally. Jones likes players with a certain pedigree, and the defensive tackle that he drafted in the third round certainly has pedigree and he told the media after being drafted that his brother has been a huge advantage in his football life.

"That's someone I have leaned on a lot since UCLA and high school," said Odighizuwa, who actually had two brother who played defensive line at UCLA. "I'm so grateful for him. It's such a blessing to have someone to lean on every step and I look around me and don't see a lot of players who have that."

His brother, Owa, explained to him how to take care of his body and not to wait until he got to the NFL to develop those habits. "Even the agent process and interviewing agents," he said. "He helped me through that."

But Odighizuwa brings pedigree to the table beyond who he's related to. He was a three-time state champion wrestler in Oregon in high school. He was dominant on the wrestling mat before he was dominant on the football field, and he claims that there's a lot of crossover talents between the two.

"[Wrestling] helped me a lot in terms of leverage and awareness, because you need a good understanding of body weight and pressure [playing defensive tackle]," Odighizuwa explained. "You have to fight pressure with pressure. And it just gave me a tough mentality."

Odighizuwa will be joining a defense that lost Tyrone Crawford to retirement and was already inconsistent defending the run and pressuring the quarterback. Perhaps as a result of their draft selection, the Cowboys also released fellow veteran Antwaun Woods on Wednesday, making an already young position that much younger.

Odighizua can likely help with that. He says he has played every position on the defensive line, and he's ready to step into whatever role the coaching staff asks of him. He claims that he takes the same approach no matter where he is on the field.

"It's the same approach no matter where I'm at, as far as striking my man, getting my hand in his chest and winning that battle no matter where you're lined up at," Odighizuwa said.

It's impossible to say who is going to excel on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, but Odighizuwa has the vibe of a professional already. He says that this "in-between time" when he is waiting to find out where he's going to play is difficult for him. Friday's events just meant the wait is almost over.

"I love to be at the facility where I'm going to be playing at," Odighizuwa said. "I'm excited to get started."

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