The six weeks between Michigan football’s pro day and the beginning of the 2022 NFL draft were laced with uncertainty for edge rusher David Ojabo, who tore his left Achilles while auditioning for scouts and executives. But in the end, his dream of playing at the highest level was realized sooner than later.
What might have been a precipitous drop for a player once projected as a top-15 pick came to a halt when the Baltimore Ravens selected Ojabo with the No. 45 overall pick, in Round 2 of the 2022 NFL draft. The Ravens were plenty familiar with Ojabo: U-M coach Jim Harbaugh’s brother, John, is the head coach in Baltimore, and hired Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald for that same position with the Ravens this offseason.
Ojabo’s impending move to Maryland will mark the next chapter in a journey fit for Hollywood production. His path to the NFL began in Nigeria, continued in Scotland, jumped across the pond to New Jersey and crescendoed during a three-year stint in Ann Arbor.
Two years of relative anonymity in Jim Harbaugh’s program were forgotten when Ojabo ascended to the upper echelon of collegiate pass rushers while playing opposite Aidan Hutchinson in 2021. He finished tied for 10th nationally with 11 sacks and tied for fourth with five forced fumbles, which set a new U-M record. He joined Hutchinson as a unanimous All-Big Ten selection and was named second-team All-America by the Associated Press.
Ojabo enters the NFL as a hyper-athletic pass rusher who impressed scouts when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds at the combine. The remainder of his game remains a work in progress given Ojabo’s recent introduction to football relative to most of his peers. He will need to add strength and improve as a run defender to become a three-down player at the next level.