(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 30-May 2, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa).
Name: Owamagbe Odighizuwa
Honors:Odighizuwa's six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss earned him second-team All-Pac 12 honors for the 2014 season.
Key stat:Perhaps the biggest topic of conversation around Odighizuwa is that he was granted a medical redshirt in 2013 after having surgery on both of his hips. He had a successful, 2014 campaign however and his health checked out fine at the NFL Combine in February.
Where He's Projected: He's slated right into that sweet spot where the Cowboys will pick in the first round – from the mid-20s until the end of the first round. Odighizuwa isn't listed in the same breath as the surefire top-10 pass rushers, like Leonard Williams or Dante Fowler, but he's certainly top tier. That makes his draft position hard to predict, as he could last until pick No. 27, or he could be taken five-to-10 spots higher.
How He Helps the Cowboys: The free agency acquisition of Greg Hardy dominates the headlines, but it doesn't alleviate the team need for a defensive end. Hardy is bound to see some kind of suspension. On top of that, both he and Jeremy Mincey are not under contract beyond the 2015 season. The Cowboys need to establish the future of their pass rush, and Odighizuwa could make a promising tandem alongside 2014 draft pick DeMarcus Lawrence.
Scout's Take: Highly recruited player coming out of high school. Physically can't draw them up any better than this kid. Had his share of injury problems early in his career with his hips but has checked out fine since. Will line up as the strong side end, which makes him an ideal fit to play on the left side here for the Cowboys. There are snaps where you see him play with strength and power, but not nearly as consistent enough with it. Thought he needed to do a better job of shedding blockers quicker and not staying engaged. Thought there were times where he got stuck along the line. Scheme might limit what he is required to do here because there are snaps where you see him catch the block – then react almost like he was playing as a two gap defensive end in a 3-4. The reason I believe this is because there are snaps where the coaches line him up head up or inside eye of the offensive tackle. Is not as good of a player when he lines up this way. Feel that he needs to be a little wider in his alignment, which would allow him more access up the field. When he manages to get free he shows a nice closing burst and lateral quickness. Not a stiff-moving player. Plays with some bend and flexibility. Has the ability to get around the corner and be disruptive. When he knows it's a pass, he can explode up the field, extend his arms, dip his shoulder and beat the blocker. When he wants to get push on the pocket, he has the ability to do it. There were snaps where I thought he tackled well, then others where he didn't wrap up well enough. Could be far more consistent in this area. Fan of the player and the potential of what he could become but there are concerns where his overall play should have been better. – Bryan Broaddus