UGA's Azeez Ojulari wasn't taken in NFL Draft's first round. 'Somebody will make a smart move'

Marc Weiszer
Athens Banner-Herald
View Comments
Georgia outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari (13) during Georgia’s 2021 NFL Pro Day inside the William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

UGA pass rusher Azeez Ojulari showed up in most NFL first-round mocks drafts but the first 32 picks came and went leaving him to wait until Friday night to hear his name called.

The SEC’s sack leader from 2020 could go early in the second round when the draft resumes at 7 p.m.

Ojulari was with his family at a gathering in Fayetteville on the first night of the draft but was not among the five edge rushers drafted.

“It was confusing a little bit because I think he’s a great player, a great talent” said Richard Morgan, who coached Ojulari at Marietta High and was with him Friday night. “I’m not quite sure what happened last night but I’m sure he’ll get picked today and somebody will make a really smart move when they pick him today and he’ll be fine. I just felt bad for him because he’s worked so hard and I felt like he was deserving of a first round pick.”

More:UGA's Azeez Ojulari's journey to NFL draft pick. 'His ceiling is really high'

Veteran NFL reporter Peter King wrote prior to the draft that the 6-foot-2, 249-pound Ojulari could slip because of concern about knee issues.

Ojulari underwent surgery after tearing an ACL in the high school playoffs as a senior, but played extensively in the Sugar Bowl in his redshirt year in the 2018 season and then started the last two seasons.

Ojulai’s agent with Roc Nation Sports, John Thornton, said in a text message to the Athens Banner-Herald Friday morning that renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews saw Ojulari in January and “saw no problem with his knee.”

More:NFL Draft: UGA cornerback Eric Stokes goes from 3-star recruit to first round pick

Ojulari was among approximately 150 NFL draft prospects to go for a medical check in Indianapolis earlier this month.

Rob Rang, NFL draft analyst for Fox Sports, listed Ojulari as the No. 2 prospect available Friday after Notre Dame outside linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah.

“Already a gifted pass-rusher, despite entering the draft as a redshirt sophomore, Ojulari offers an explosive first step, the core flexibility to dip around the edge and impressive strength and length (34.5-inch arms) to rip down ball carriers,” Rang wrote.

Cornerback Tyson Campbell, who also was considered a possible first round pick, is Rang’s No. 35 player available.

Other Georgia players who could go on Friday include offensive guard Ben Cleveland, inside linebacker Monty Rice and safety Richard LeCounte.

Ojulari and his family plan to watch the draft Friday night back home in Marietta this time.

“Hopefully tonight, he’ll know within 15 or 20 minutes,” Morgan said. “He’ll sit in the living room, be comfortable, get it all done and move on to his NFL career soon.”

View Comments