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Scouting Jets defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo

Washington Commanders v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Between now and preseason, we’re breaking down the Jets’ undrafted rookies. However, we’re going to deviate from that for the next week or so, as we review some of the veteran additions the Jets have made since training camp began, continuing today with former Vikings and Colts defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo.

The 29-year old Odenigbo has been on seven different teams since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 draft and has started 15 games in his NFL career, all of which were in 2020. He has 90 tackles and 14 sacks in his career.


Odenigbo was a four-star recruit out of high school, where he also ran track. However, his college career at Northwestern got off to a rough start when he suffered a season ending injury in his first ever game.

Over the next two seasons, Odenigbo operated as a pass rush specialist on third downs. He only had 20 tackles, but 8.5 of them were sacks. He also tied a Big Ten record with three forced fumbles in one game.

His role increased in 2015 and he ended up with 19 tackles and five sacks, but his breakout year was in 2016 as he earned second-team all Big Ten honors with a 10-sack season. That included four in one game against Iowa.

After performing well at the scouting combine, Odenigbo was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. His career got off to a slow start though as he only saw action on seven defensive snaps in his first two seasons.

Having been released in final cuts by the Vikings as a rookie, they kept him on their practice squad all season and then signed him to a futures deal only to release him in final cuts again in 2018. After a brief spell with the Browns, he ended up with the Cardinals where he made his NFL debut but then was released and ended up back on Minnesota’s practice squad.

In 2019, Odenigbo made the Vikings’ roster after a solid preseason and he played a big role with them as he racked up seven sacks in a situational role and scored a touchdown on a fumble return.

He became a starter in 2020, and started 15 games. He ended up with a career-high 35 tackles and added another 3.5 sacks.

2021 proved to be a frustrating year for Odenigbo, though. He failed to make the Giants’ roster out of camp after having signed for them and, after initially spending time on their practice squad, he ended up playing a limited role with the Browns that saw him record just 13 tackles and three quarterback hits in nine games.

Last season, he didn’t find a team until June but he made the Colts roster and played a significant role with 3.5 sacks in 13 games. When he was released after a good performance against his former team, the Vikings, in December, this was widely seen as a surprise.

He ended up on Tampa Bay’s practice squad and was elevated to play in the season finale, in which he actually tied a career-high with six tackles. However, the Bucs opted not to retain him and he was without a team until the Jets signed him early on in camp.

Now let’s take a look at what Odenigbo brings to the table, divided into categories.


Odenigbo, who bulked up in his final season at Northwestern, lacks length but has big hands.

He impressed at the combine with a 4.72 in the 40-yard dash, 25 bench press reps and a 128-inch broad jump. His vertical was poor, though, and his agility numbers were only about average.


Odenigbo has primarily lined up as a conventional defensive end outside the tackle, but has also had some reps on the inside or standing up over the course of his career. In his one game with the Bucs, he actually played as a full-time outside linebacker.


Odenigbo is a player who clearly plays to the whistle, doesn’t give up on a rep and battles hard in the trenches. Here’s a play where he keeps working to eventually get to the quarterback.

He gives a good effort coming downhill and in pursuit again working hard when many players would have slowed down on a play.

While he’s been in situational roles for much of his career, Odenigbo did showcase the stamina to handle a starter’s workload in 2020 as he played over 700 snaps.

Pass rush

Odenigbo has been extremely productive at generating pressure in a situational role and has racked up plenty of sacks in his college and NFL careers.

The book on him coming out of Northwestern was that he’s a bit of a one-dimensional power rusher and he does display a good bull rush. However, some of his pressure comes from surprisingly effective speed rushes off the edge. He also seems to be developing some useful inside counters.

Over the course of his career, Odenigbo has had a few huge games where he seemed to grow in confidence once he started to figure out how to dominate a given matchup.

Run defense

Odenigbo is regarded as a bit of a liability as a run defender. Although he has good strength, he is routinely controlled by his blocker and struggles to set the edge. Teams have seemed to actively seek to exploit this at times, too.

While his production against the run has never been that good, Odenigbo is a player who can make some plays in the running game where he’s able to exploit a quickness advantage.

Interestingly, in that one game with the Bucs where he played as a linebacker, that might be the best he’s ever looked against the run. He showed a good ability to move laterally, stay home and clean up on the backside and avoid blockers.


As noted, Odenigbo entered the league as someone who was considered a one-dimensional rusher, but he’s figuring out how to use his hands and transition from one move to another. He shows an ability to dip and rip coming around the edge and is developing an impressive looking spin move.

Against the run, he often has issues getting off blocks but here’s a play where he shows he can get his man off balance and throw him off with good strength and hand usage. These are skills he needs to keep improving.

Special teams

Most of Odenigbo’s special teams work during his career has been just rushing kicks. He blocked a punt that was returned for a score last season.

In the past few years, he’s also covered kicks and blocked on return units. He had three tackles on kickoffs over the past two seasons and another one in preseason.


Odenigbo hasn’t been a very productive tackler over the course of his career but also hasn’t missed many tackles.

He had three forced fumbles in one game in college but otherwise only had two in his career and has one at the NFL level.


While Odenigbo immediately looked comfortable against the run as a linebacker, he doesn’t have a lot of experience of dropping into coverage so that could prevent him from making a full-time position change.

While this play was probably more down to poor defensive design than his own fault, it does show how easily Odenigbo could be exploited in coverage.

He doesn’t have a single pass defensed in his college or NFL career, so getting his hands up to contest passes could be an area he needs to improve at.


While Odenigbo is not particularly impressive in terms of his approach to setting up moves while rushing the passer, he shows some intelligence, high football IQ and play recognition abilities.

There was a controversial play in one game where he was called for delay of game after holding onto an opposing player with the clock winding down. The winning field goal was kicked on the next play. Odenigbo claimed after the game he had been told to do this in that situation.

He has had four plays in his career where he jumped offside.


Odenigbo’s surprising release from the Colts came after the game where he had the delay of game penalty mentioned above. There were some rumors that he had clashed with team officials and requested his release at the time.

He has otherwise been regarded as a player with a good work ethic and no documented off-field concerns, though.

Odenigbo’s on-field discipline has been good as he only has seven penalties in his NFL career, with one personal foul for roughing the passer.


Injuries haven’t had a major effect on Odenigbo’s career since 2012 when he missed basically the whole season with a shoulder injury.

His most recent injury issues were a quad issue in preseason and a neck injury during the regular season last year. He missed one game due to injury with the Colts.

Scheme Fit

Odenigbo having played inside from time to time and also experimenting with a linebacker role are interesting wrinkles, but the most likely role the Jets have earmarked for him is to compete for situational pass rush reps and not be expected to play running downs due to his struggles in setting the edge.

Were he to make the practice squad - something which probably seems like a best-case scenario for him given the Jets depth at defensive end - then perhaps they might look to focus further on developing one of these other roles for him.

He has been a teammate of current Jets Craig James, Greg Senat and Tyler Conklin at various points over the course of his career.


The Jets are strong, deep and healthy (other than a minor John Franklin-Myers groin injury) at the defensive end positions, so it seems extremely unlikely that a journeyman who struggled to find a team such as Odenigbo could crack that rotation.

Nevertheless, he’s a player who has had some legitimate NFL production and has often proven to be a handful when called upon to contribute. The Jets could consider him a useful option if injuries do affect this unit in 2023.