Cleveland Browns Draft Profile: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
How would Joseph Ossai fit with the Cleveland Browns?
First up in this series of Cleveland Browns 2021 NFL Draft profiles is Texas pass-rusher Joseph Ossai, who stands nearly 6-4 and 256 pounds. Is he the type of player that Cleveland should want to pair with Myles Garrett?
Ossai logged 15.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in nine games as a junior. This was his first season as a full-time EDGE, having played off-ball linebacker prior. This position switch shows up often in his tape, as there are plenty of snaps where looks like a linebacker blitzing off the edge as opposed to a defensive end with a rush plan.
Still, the fact that Ossai was able to produce well despite his lack of seasoning is encouraging for his NFL future.
Ossai doesn’t appear to be an elite athlete on tape, but that’s exactly what he is. At the Texas pro day, he jumped out of the gym, putting up jumps of 41.5 inches in the vertical and 132 inches in the broad, both of which rank in the 99th percentile of EDGEs.
He also ran a great 4.65-second 40-yard dash, putting him in the 80th percentile there. He didn’t participate in the agility drills, but his tape shows a player with enough bend to get to the quarterback around the edge, although his bend would not be classified as elite.
There is the question of why his in-game getoff doesn’t match his truly exceptional athletic testing, but that could be a matter of him not being totally comfortable with his stance, whether two or three-point. Ossai is a raw and extremely athletic ball of clay who is already productive. That’s a good combination.
Ossai gives fantastic effort on the field and there are many instances of him chasing down plays from the opposite side of the field or 20-plus yards from the line of scrimmage. He ended the game against Oklahoma State by beating Teven Jenkins around the edge and then chasing down quarterback Spencer Sanders in a full-on sprint. He has the speed to make an impact on plays like that in the NFL, and against players like Lamar Jackson, the Browns would need him to.
Ossai just doesn’t have a lot of time as an EDGE, which is a concern for teams who need immediate starters like the Browns do currently. If they were to sign Jadeveon Clowney or Melvin Ingram, then Ossai makes a lot more sense depending on where he’d need to be taken.
Ossai often reverts back to his linebacker training of shedding blocks instead of beating them before they occur. He needs to improve his hand usage and develop a repertoire of moves; his hands are strong and violent enough to be devastating weapons in addition to his elite athleticism; it’s just going to take some time and coaching for this to happen because he’s behind the curve.
This issue is also apparent when taking on blocks in the run game, although there are plenty of flashes where Ossai sets his edge and disrupts the play very well. Converting speed to power is something that he needs to get better at as well. It’s a matter of consistency in both areas with him, and in-game consistency won’t come until he’s had many practice reps.
PFF mock draft simulator average draft position: 72.3
NFL Mock Draft Database average: 38
It seems like Ossai will end up going somewhere in between these two numbers. Falling to the Browns at 59 seems a bit generous, but it isn’t ridiculous. Ossai is most likely a top 5 EDGE in this class, and the Browns would be a great landing spot for him. Assuming they sign a starter, Ossai could play a rotational role along with Takk McKinley, coming onto the field in passing situations
Joseph Ossai is just one of many EDGE prospects that make sense for the Cleveland Browns this year. Given his off-the-charts athletic testing, he also has one of the highest ceilings in the draft, and this front office is certainly well aware of that.