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Mailbag: Reasons for Odighizuwa improvement?


That was a huge fourth-down stop by Osa Odighizuwa in the Washington game. Can we talk about the step forward he has taken this year? Is Osa simply benefiting from playing alongside Micah Parsons? Or is it that third-year development mark? He seems to have grown into a very solid defensive lineman with some position flex. – Frank Biehn/Chandler, AZ

Nick Harris: Over the offseason, Osa Odighizuwa put a lot of work into his hand placement training and his initial punch off the line, and it's paid huge dividends for him. You can see his extra step, his extra strength and his growing comfortability in rushing the passer, and it's translated into improvement in the run game as well. I said earlier in the season that Odighizuwa has the traits and skillset to be this team's second-best pass-rusher behind Micah Parsons, and I continue to believe that with every strong performance he puts on the field.

Patrik: Funny you should ask, and I'm glad you did. Earlier this season, I did a profile piece on Odighizuwa that was very eye-opening. It talked about not just how insanely focused he's been, which isn't much different from his previous seasons, but his regimen for putting his body in top form is as unique as it is effective. There's a lot at play here and, as you pointed out, that includes the fact that most defensive linemen don't pop until Year 3 (which is why they shouldn't be graded before then, folks), though he popped last year as well, along with who Odighizuwa lines up with. He's got DeMarcus Lawrence and Johnathan Hankins on one side and Micah Parsons on the other — most times — and that frees him up for one-on-ones but, be not mistaken, he does more than his fair share of commanding … and beating … double teams. For my money, he's one of the best interior defensive linemen in the league, and I'm comfortable placing him in the top three.

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