Alex Okafor – Defensive End
Height: 6’5 | Weight: 265 pounds | Texas | Senior
Strengths: Okafor is a strong defensive end who has the ability to consistently play with leverage and use hands well against blockers to hold up and stack at the point of attack against runs coming at him. He can take on and shed blocks well to make the tackle. He gets off the ball and into his rush consistently fast to threaten the corner. He has good flexibility to bend knees for a tall defensive end which helps his leverage against running plays. He excels at the power rush with his very good strength when he uses his hands aggressively. He has good foot quickness and instincts he uses well to consistently read and react fast to the play. He does a very good job of coming down the line of scrimmage to make plays in backside pursuit. He is a solid wrap up tackler when he gets close to the ball or quarterback. When lining up as a wide nine defensive end in the 4-3 defense he has the foot quickness to get around the tackle and can sink his hips to get under him then close on the quarterback quickly.
Weaknesses: He lacks the explosive playing speed to chase down ball carriers from behind. He does not tackle with force or big knock down hits often enough. He lacks the explosiveness to blow by the offensive tackle around the corner consistently. When he gets a little upright rushing the quarterback he struggles to get a push and cannot shed fast enough. He needs to develop some secondary pass rush moves once his initial move is stopped. He needs to protect legs from low/cut blocks better.
Final Thoughts: Okafor is a good athlete with very good foot quickness. His long arms help him to play strong when he uses them aggressively. He can jolt offensive linemen and drive them into the quarterback’s lap when he bull rushes. He has the size and playing strength to set the edge as a 4-3 defensive end, but may need to add a little more bulk. It is his most natural position. I don’t believe he would transition well as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He does not react well out in space if asked to drop in coverage. He does have the playing speed and flexibility to threaten the corner as a rusher when standing up, but lacks secondary pass rush moves if the offensive lineman stops his initial move. He would be ideal as a 3-4 defensive end with 20-25 pounds of added bulk because he is very solid against the run. His ability to get through gaps quickly and into the back field would be an asset at the position. He reminds me of Miami Dolphins’ defensive end Randy Starks with the ability to be stout against the run and to also rush the quarterback. Overall, Okafor seems to be a mid first to early second round talent and would give an NFL team a lot of scheme versatility.