After an injury ended Ogbah’s 2017 season prematurely, the defensive end is in position to have a breakout season.
When the Cleveland Browns drafted Emmanuel Ogbah in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, they were betting big on his upside. In ten games last season, Ogbah was showing the potential that made him such a high draft pick with four sacks.
Paired with Myles Garrett, who had missed four of the games that Ogbah played in, the two were showing the havoc they could cause. In the six games that the duo of defensive ends played in, they had a total of eight sacks.
Unfortunately, because of an awful passing defense, the pair could not register the amount of sacks they could have had based on their pressure. Due to the lack of press-man coverage, opposing quarterbacks were able to deliver quick, short throws before any pressure could get to them. Then Ogbah missed the last six games of the season because of a foot injury.
But with a revamped secondary and a healthy Ogbah and Garrett, the defense is setup to have a great year. And Ogbah is the player that could pay huge dividends in 2018.
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When on a defensive line with Garrett, Ogbah has the opportunity to get plenty of single-man blocks. With most of the attention being drawn towards Garrett, Ogbah will not receive the same amount of attention.
Even if Garrett is not always able to get to the quarterback, Ogbah has shown he has the explosiveness to get there. In only ten games last season, Ogbah was 1.5 sacks away from matching his rookie season total of 5.5 sacks, which took him all 16 games in 2016 to compile. Just looking at those numbers will show the development in Ogbah’s game.
But with a secondary that is likely going to see an uptick of press coverage, quarterbacks will not be able to get rid of the ball as quickly as they did in 2017. That just gives more time to Ogbah and Garrett to finish off the quarterback. And with Gregg Williams’ knack for exoctic blitzes with safeties and linebackers, Ogbah will have great chances to get home and hit the quarterback.
And all this talk of his pass rushing should not downplay his run defense. Cleveland had a much improved run defense in 2017, and Ogbah’s presence on the edge was a big reason. Because of his speed, running backs were not able to get around the edge as easily and would get stuck running to the sidelines instead of upfield.
Another reason why Ogbah can have a breakout year in 2018 is because of the depth on the defensive line. With the additions of Chris Smith and Chad Thomas, and then roster holdovers Carl Nassib and Nate Orchard, there is solid depth behind Ogbah and Garrett.
As shown with the Eagles in 2017, having a rotation of defensive linemen keeps everybody fresh. Without having to play entire drives, Ogbah will have fresh legs at the end of games. Going up against tired offensive linemen, Ogbah can beat blockers much more easily to get in the backfield. It will also help him avoid injuries, which stopped what would have been a breakout season for Ogbah last year.
The Cleveland Browns front office showed their faith in Ogbah when they passed on Bradley Chubb in the 2018 NFL Draft. And with how the offseason played out for Cleveland, their faith could pay off with a big year from the 24-year-old defensive end.