Chris Varughese

The Bears Brawl Writer, Jr. Editor and Draft Expert

Devine Ozigbo did not receive an invitation for the NFL Scouting Combine. Instead he had to wait until the Nebraska pro day to show off his skills, and he may have made the NFL regret not give him an invite to the combine. His build and athleticism give him a dynamic play making ability that was seen throughout the college season. He was a big reason why Nebraska’s RPO offense was so successful. Defenders loaded the box against him and he took up a lot of attention. Even though he has some aspects of his game that he can work on, he can definitely take that play making and make a name for himself in the NFL.

Source: David Banks/Getty Images North America

Positives:

  • Vision: This is kind of a two-part evaluation. Vision is the second part, and patience is the first part. Ozigbo displays both of these. He allows holes to form and shows exceptional patience behind the line. Even in the open field, Ozigbo follows his outside blockers very well. He always seems to gain yardage every time he touches the ball and that comes from his ability to patiently wait for an opening before exploding through it. He is also a very good receiving back, and uses his vision in that aspect as well. He does a fantastic job of keeping his eyes up to read the field in front of him.
  • Size: Devine Ozigbo measured in at 5’11, 222 lbs at his pro day. At that size he’s hard to bring down especially due to his strong and physical running style. His thick lower body makes it hard for defenders to bring him down. He is great in short yardage situations, especially because he runs angry. He also has a of power from his lower body which allows him to lean into tacklers for extra yardage after contact.
  • Balance: One of the more impressive aspects of Ozigbo’s game is his balance. For someone so big, he is a master of getting low to the ground before making a cut. He also runs very low in the open field. This gives him a great center of gravity that makes him very difficult to tackle and bring down. This also helps Ozigbo avoid arm tackles and helps him fall forward after contact to get more yards. He also does a great job of running on his toes for someone so big, which allows him to not only accelerate faster but to change direction faster.
  • Explosiveness: Ozigbo’s great vision would not be complete without a great burst. Ozigbo’s ability to find the hole, paired with his balance allows him to explode through the hole. He’s got great acceleration and can reach top speed very fast. His vertical jump was 37′ inches. That is a measure of how much power he can produce through his legs. His ability to get low on cuts paired with that power gives him the explosive ability to change direction. It also adds to his natural elusiveness because it makes him hard to bring down when he’s accelerating with so much size and balance. He needs to be brought down by multiple defenders on almost every run.
Source: Adam Bettcher/Getty Images North America

Negatives:

  • Speed: Ozigbo may have great acceleration, but his long speed is lacking. He usually gets away with it because his burst and athleticism are so great that he can cover a lot of ground fast. However he is definitely not going to run away from a defender in the secondary if they are both at top speed.
  • Wasted motion: Ozigbo is naturally elusive and he does a great job of freezing the defender, but sometimes he gets caught doing too much laterally which allows defenders to converge on him easier. For someone who accelerates so fast, it’s important that he minimizes the motion to get past the defender because it’ll allow him to get even more yardage without slowing down. He tries to get low and square his shoulders to his defender when he should be getting low to explode off of a one leg stab or lowering his shoulder.
  • Pass-protection: For a bigger back Ozigbo needs to get better at pass-blocking. He often gets to his spot too late, or tries to engage with the oncoming blitz too early resulting in him getting beat. He needs to improve on setting his feet and needs to take the patience he displays when running the ball and utilize it here.
Source: Eric Francis/Getty Images North America

Summary:

Devine Ozigbo may not have great long speed, but his explosiveness and acceleration more than make up for it. He gets down the field very quickly and is very hard to bring down. He has the strength, patience and balance that can make him a very successful running back in the NFL. He has time to improve on his negatives as well, especially since a lot of young backs struggle in pass-protection anyway. There is always some concern with physical runners, but if he can stay healthy and work on his game Ozigbo has the potential to be a great number one running back.

2018 Season Stats: 155 attempts, 1,082 yards, 12 TDs, 7.0 YPA

Projected Round: 3

Floor: Goal-line, rotational back

Ceiling: Pro-Bowl caliber running back

 

Here are some videos of Devine Ozigbo versus Colorado and Northwestern:

Colorado:

 

 

Northwestern: