Skip to main content

Role Call: How Odighizuwa Lands A Starting Spot


(Editor's Note: With the offseason program in the rearview mirror, it's time to look ahead. As part of the preparation for training camp, this series will introduce 25 key players who are new to the Cowboys' roster, rookies and veterans alike. We'll continue the series with defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa.)

How He Got Here: The Cowboys drafted Odighizuwa in the third round of last April's draft. He was a three-year starter at UCLA and an All-Pac 12 player last season when he recorded four sacks from the defensive tackle position. He looked potentially dominant in the Senior Bowl against the country's best players. He had 27.5 tackles for loss in his career as an interior lineman. Odighizuwa has played every position along the defensive line at some point in his college career, but at 6-1 and 280 pounds he has the size to survive on the interior in the NFL. He was the third straight defensive player the Cowboys drafted to kick off the 2021 NFL Draft while hoping to find immediate help to improve their defense.

What's Next: Every time a new defensive coordinator is hired to a team there's speculation over whether they will implement a 4-3 defense or a 3-4 defense, but the truth is that Dan Quinn will likely incorporate aspects of both, and that shouldn't bother Odighizuwa, who isn't necessarily huge for an interior linemen but brings an element of speed to the position that should find him on the field. That quickness should allow him to fill in anywhere along the defensive line, even on the outside. Odighizuwa looked terrific in OTAs and minicamp, where he looked every bit able to sniff out the ball with athleticism and relentlessness. The safe bet would be that he comes into Week 1 as a rotational player, but he's certainly a candidate to earn a starting job at some point in his rookie season.

Bet You Didn't Know: Odighizuwa was drafted with the No. 75 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Unfortunately for his chances at bragging rights at the family reunions, his brother, Owa, beat him by one pick a handful of years back. Owa was drafted with the No. 74 overall pick by the New York Giants in 2015. He played with the Giants and the Buffalo Bills before his younger brother's NFL dream came true.

Quotable: "[Wrestling in high school] helped me a lot in terms of leverage and awareness, because you need a good understanding of body weight and pressure. You have to fight pressure with pressure. And it just gave me a tough mentality." - Osa Odighizuwa

Related Content