Cleveland Browns: 5 questions on Emmanuel Ogbah with Saturday Blitz
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns have been searching for a pass rusher for years. Can second-round draft pick Emmanuel Ogbah be part of the solution?
The Cleveland Browns have been looking for a disruptive pass rusher almost as long as they have been searching for a franchise quarterback.
The team tried Courtney Brown (No. 1 overall in the 2000 NFL Draft), but injuries limited him to just 17 sacks in five years with the team. They tried Chaun Thompson in 2003, but he only contributed 10.5 sacks in five years. Kamerion Wimbley (26.5 sacks in four seasons) and Barkevious Mingo (seven sacks in three seasons) were supposed to terrorize quarterbacks after making the switch from college defensive end to outside linebacker.
All, for a variety of reasons, were not able to be the difference-makers the Browns were looking for.
The Browns have now turned to Emmanuel Ogbah, the team’s second-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State.
Related: Where will Emmanuel Ogbah line up?
Ogbah had 26.5 sacks in three seasons with the Cowboys, including 12.5 in 2015 when he was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
While Ogbah was a defensive end at Oklahoma State, the Browns will be looking at him to transition to a stand-up edge rusher in defensive coordinator Ray Horton‘s defense.
“I think the defense we’ll play here will be a little bit different for him, we’ll ask him to do a little bit of different things,” executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. “But we’re confident in the things Oklahoma State asked him to do that he’ll be able to do under Ray … we absolutely anticipate that he’ll be able to meet all our expectations.”
To learn a little bit more about the Browns latest hope for a dominant pass rusher, we reached out to Patrick Schmidt at Saturday Blitz for a virtual Q&A on Ogbah.
Q: What kind of player are the Browns getting in Ogbah?
Patrick: The Browns are getting a highly productive player who can sack the quarterback. Ogbah tested better at the NFL Scouting Combine than many thought he would. He tested as one of the best defensive ends, even though he didn’t always play like that type of athlete on the edge.
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Q: What is the one aspect of his game that sets Ogbah apart?
Patrick: He ran in the high 4.5s at the scouting combine, so that type of speed suggests he will be able to set the edge and create a lot of disruption on passing downs.
Q: The Browns are planning to have Ogbah play as an outside linebacker as his primary position. Is that the best spot for him or should they keep him as a defensive end?
Patrick: I think he can make the transition to a rush linebacker. I think it could be a slow process as he learns to play standing up instead of having his hand in the dirt like he was used to in college. He has the frame and speed to play in space, but he’s better attacking the quarterback and shouldn’t be asked to drop in coverage much.
Q: What aspect of his game does Ogbah need to work on?
Patrick: I think technique and how he’ll use his hands is something he and all young pass rushers need to work on the most when they come into the NFL. He has the traits and ability to be a good player, but if he has flawless technique he can be an eight to 12 sack type of player in his prime.
Q: What’s the one thing about Ogbah that Browns fans are going to love?
Patrick: If he can get to the quarterback and sack the quarterback on critical third downs, he’s going to have the fans falling in love with him. I think six to seven sacks should be the goal for him as a rookie. But I’d just want him to consistently get better as the season progresses and get comfortable in his new position.