So You've Drafted Michael Ojemudia: A New Owner’s Guide

By RossWB on April 24, 2020 at 11:08 pm
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© Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
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Congratulations! You've just made the wonderful decision to draft Michael Ojemudia! Like most new Michael Ojemudia owners, you're no doubt filled with questions about your new family member. We here at GIA will try our best to answer any questions you might have.

HELLO DENVER BRONCOS!

WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT MICHAEL OJEMUDIA?

Michael Ojemudia wasn't supposed to be here. He arrived at Iowa as a lightly-recruited prospect; he was a 2* recruit and Iowa was one of his only major conference offers. It took him a while to blossom at Iowa, too -- he played sparingly his first few seasons and was even benched a few times. As recently as the 2018 season Ojemudia wasn't a locked-in starter yet. But Ojemudia kept battling and he had an ace in the hole: Phil Parker, Iowa's defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, was his position coach. Phil Parker's Midas touch in the secondary has become legendary over the last 20 years and it came paid off once again with Ojemudia. 

Ojemudia kept putting in the work and things finally seemed to click for him about halfway through the 2018 campaign; he returned to the starting lineup -- and never left. He entered 2019 as a starter and quickly established himself as Iowa's best and most consistent starter and a key leader on defense. Ojemudia didn't produce big stats or flashy highlights very often, but he did quietly produce consistently strong performances in the secondary week after week. That steady play earned him increased appreciation among Iowa fans -- and ultimately some well-earned second team All-Big Ten honors at the end of the season. Ojemudia is a testament to the idea that if you put in the work in Phil Parker's Finishing School, you're going to wind up being a good defensive back. 

WHAT DID HE DO THAT'S SO GREAT?

One of the things that stands out about Ojemudia is his intelligence. Off the field, he completed a grueling electrical engineering degree; balancing the challenging academic requirements for that with the intense physical and mental commitments of college football is no easy feat, but Ojemudia pulled it off in impressive fashion. His intelligence translates well to the football field, too -- he's able to understand schemes quickly and read plays and formations well. While he played exclusively as a cornerback at Iowa, he practiced at several positions in the secondary and understands those roles well. Ojemudia also has above-average speed and long arms that allow him to be disruptive in coverage. He has solid ball skills as well, as evidenced by his six interceptions and 21 total passes defended over the last two seasons. And he's a willing and capable tackler who isn't afraid to get physical and attack the run. 

STATS

YEAR TACKLES TFL INT PASS DEF
2016 5 0 0 1
2017 29 0 0 1
2018 39 0.5 3 9
2019 52 1.0 3 12
TOTAL 125 1.5 6 23

HOW ARE HIS PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES? 

40 YD DASH BENCH PRESS VERT JUMP BROAD JUMP 3 CONE DRILL 20 YD SHUTTLE
4.45 sec n/a 36.0 in 122.0 in 6.87 sec 4.21 sec

Ojemudia's performance at the Combine is what took him from being a guy who would probably get drafted, albeit in the later rounds, to a guy who was definitely going to get drafted -- and likely a few rounds earlier than anticipated. And, well, here we are in the third round. Ojemudia's speed and quickness particularly impressive at the Combine (he ranked in the Top 10 among cornerbacks at the 40 yard dash, 3 cone drill, and 20 yard shuttle) and his lanky arms (sixth-best wingspan among cornerbacks) turned a lot of heads.  

HIGHLIGHTS

WHAT ABOUT THE BAD?

As a cornerback, Ojemudia is more likely to prevent big plays than he is to create a big play himself. His ball skills are solid, but not elite, and he doesn't have high-end anticipation and the ability to jump routes. He sometimes struggles to shed blocks and his closing burst is sometimes lacking. 

WAS THIS A GOOD PICK? 

It probably depends on what the expectations are for Ojemudia. If he's being expected to come in and compete for a starting job straight out of the gate, he's probably not going to meet that expectation -- he's going to need some time to acclimate to the NFL and continue to improve before he's ready for a big role in the secondary. But if he's being brought in to develop, then this pick could be a very nice bit of business. Ojemudia has improved tremendously over the last season and a half and become more confident; if he can continue to improve and refine his skills at the next level, he's definitely got the ability to carve out a role as a reliable member of the defensive backfield for the Broncos. Ojemudia became a fan favorite at Iowa by the end of his tenure here and if you give him time, we think he's got a good shot to grown on you, too. Enjoy him, Denver. 

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