Scouting the 2013 NFL Draft: Alex Okafor, DE

Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE

We continue to preview some of the players that will be available in the 2013 NFL draft.

Introduction

I originally began looking at Alex Okafor after Connie Carberg, the former scout for the New York Jets, suggested to me that he'd be a great fit on Rex Ryan's defense. I trust Mrs. Carberg's opinion tremendously, so I decided he was worth a look. Okafor was born on February 8, 1991, so he is 22 years old. He graduated with a degree in Corporate Communication, and is nicknamed "Big Oak."

Okafor was a 2011 All-American, and the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the 2012 Team Captain and 2012 Alamo Bowl Defensive-MVP. After two quiet seasons, Okafor stepped up his game for his two last years at the University of Texas. Okafor seems to be a high-character player, as indicated by his selection as team captain. The only negative against his character that I could find was that he was once arrested in May of 2012 for "failure to obey," however the charges were later dropped.

Measurables

Height: 6'5"

Weight: 264 pounds

Arm Length: 33 7/8 inches

40-Yard Dash: 4.78 seconds

Statistics


Tackles
Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
2009 Texas Big 12 FR DL 9 9 18 1.5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2010 Texas Big 12 SO DL 13 15 28 3.5 3.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2011 Texas Big 12 JR DL 25 25 50 12.5 7.0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 2
2012 Texas Big 12 SR DL 41 13 54 16.5 12.5 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4
Career Texas 88 62 150 34.0 23.0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 7

Using a measuring statistic known as the Production Ratio (SACKS + TACKLES FOR LOSS/NUMBER OF GAMES PLAYED = PRODUCTION RATIO), we can determine how productive Okafor was in making plays behind the line of scrimmage. A ratio above one (1) is extremely good. In this case, Okafor scored a 1.27, which is a great score.

Positives

Has excellent hand usage, including a good swim move. One of the best arsenals of pass rushing moves in the draft.

Can speed or bull rush.

Has an extremely high motor.

Very powerful, can set the edge as a run defender.

Good balance.

Quick first step.

Negatives

Has stiff hips, which indicate he isn't ideal in coverage.

Doesn't look great when changing directions.

It's not clear what position he'd play, although he looks best as a strong-side 4-3 defensive end.

Conclusion

Okafor will likely be drafted either at the end of the first round or early in the second round. If he's available at the Jets' second round pick, I would have no issue with selecting him. Combined with Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, Okafor would be a dynamic pass rusher and would help complete a formidable 4-3 front (with Kenrick Ellis as well). Okafor has been compared most often to Ray Edwards of the Atlanta Falcons.

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