You know the old saying, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression"? It isn't like Oklahoma State All-American defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah hasn't made a first impression, he has over the last three seasons with his play at OSU.
However, he is at his first and only NFL Combine. You only do that once and if you do it right then you can make a lot of money for yourself. Ogbah did just that. Despite some inconsistent reviews going into his group (second of the defensive line) from NFL Network commentators, primarily Mike Mayock and our good friend Charles Davis, Ogbah blew his opportunity out and by the end of the day had Mayock saying, "I'm going to have to go back and watch more tape because I want to like Ogbah."
The NFL teams will want to like him too because besides the physical attributes shown in the combine workout and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year performance with 17.5 tackles for losses and 13 sacks last season, and 40 tackles for losses and 28 sacks in his career you also get really strong character and consistent and determined effort.
"I get so frustrated with those guys (NFL) and some of the people that they take," Cowboys defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer told me the other day. "Why do you tell me that is important in what you perform and what you do (off the field)? Emmanuel is going to give you performance but he will give you character, leadership, heart. This is a player that... he is a great representation of this school and program and what we are all about."
In the testing, Ogbah; who measured 6-4 1/4, 273 pounds, 35 1/2 arm, and 10-inch hands, was tied for second in the vertical jump with a 35.5-inch leap. He also was strong in the broad jump, another measurement of lower body explosion with a 10 foot, 1 inch jump, better than a foot off the average of last year's combine. His bench press was solid, but outside the top 10, at 20 reps of 225 pounds.
The 40-yard dash was huge for Ogbah as he blew away all the stars in Ohio State's Joey Bosa, Clemson's Shaq Lawson, Eastern Kentucky and former Ohio State standout Noah Spence, and Ole Miss question mark character-wise in Robert Nkemdiche. Ogbah was second officially in the 40 with a time of 4.63 and a 10-yard split of 1.59, which tied for first.
Ironically, it was OU's Charles Tapper that tied Ogbah for the 10-yard split and had a 4.59 official to top the defensive line in the forty. Ogbah's unofficial times were 4.65 and 4.62, both very smooth and his athleticism showed all day in the drills.
In the change of direction drill, he was smooth, didn't guess, and never took a bad or false step. In the bag drill he was perfect and smooth in his steps over the bags and then shuttled in and out again, without touching a bag. He did look down three times but never slowed his speed and momentum. His hip turn and hip movement was smooth, little stiffness and that was noticed. He was good in the double-edge pass rush dummy drill, but could have been more violent with his hand slaps. The best thing was he never lost his feet and was smooth throughout.
Ogbah, as would be expected, was chosen for the hybrid drills that defensive linemen were asked to do that could be considered as prospects for outside linebacker duty in a 3-4 defense. Ogbah did some zone drops at OSU and was solid at it. It showed he had practiced as he was very good in the short curls drop, very good in the multiple direction and deep drop, and then solid in the deep middle drop and then comeback drill.
He caught the ball on the first two hybrid drills he did. Ogbah has the 10-inch hands and he is good with his hands.
Overall, Ogbah did really well and improved his standing with the NFL and could very well move into the first round with the performance. There will be no need for him to do anything other than show up at the Oklahoma State Pro Day on Tuesday, March 8.
Fellow defensive end Jimmy Bean only did the bench press test following ACL knee surgery after an injury at Texas Tech last November. Bean, like Ogbah, did 20 reps. Bean will work out late in the Pro Day season coming up. Cornerback Kevin Peterson will be on tomorrow in the last day of the field testing in the NFL Combine.