Oklahoma State All-American defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah has been taking a beating the last week or so on many of the NFL Draft sites on the internet. The rumor mill seems to be working against the 6-4, 273-pound high character and sincere pass rusher that has been among the nation's leading sack producers in college football and led the Big 12 in sacks last season with 13.0 and also had 17.5 tackles for loss.
So, why is Ogbah being thrown under the draft bus on it's way to the nation's heartland in Chicago for Thursday's first round? This is also known in draft circles as the season of misinformation. While reporters from ESPN to the NFL Network and every team website coast to coast eats up the nuggets of information coming from executives, coaches, and scouts, not all of it is true.
Some of it is designed to throw other teams off the scent and maybe even color their evaluation and value of a certain player. The reason I believe that Ogbah may be the center of some bad blogs is that at the same time his stock has been supposedly dropping his frequent flyer miles have been multiplying.
Last week, Ogbah told me that he was in Atlanta, Tennessee, Indianapolis, and Carolina. Let's take Carolina, for instance, because the NFC representative in the 50th Super Bowl doesn't select until the 30th pick in the first round. They need a pass rusher and reasonably would think that Joey Bosa, Shaq Lawson, Kevin Dodd, and one or two others could be gone. If I'm Carolina then I might be spreading some bad info on Emmanuel Ogbah. All it takes in the NFL world is one detrimental opinion to a Todd McShay or a Daniel Jeremiah and your stock can begin tumbling.
Now, Ogbah has some strikes against him. It has been discussed from the outset that he doesn't play hard every play. My contention is that when you play too many plays in a game where an offense snaps it 100, 90, even 85 snaps and you play 80 percent or more of those then there is more opportunity for you to look tired in a game because you are. His production is consistent with a sack in every game last season but two – TCU, and he still forced a turnover that started the rout, and Ole Miss. The Ole Miss game was not a good one for Ogbah or anybody else in an orange and black uniform.
The combine should have proved that Ogbah is explosive. The only physical test that might not look as good as you would like would be the 20 reps on the bench press. However, the 4.63 forty, 4.5 in the 5-10-5 drill, the 7.26 on the three-cone drill, the 35.5-inch vertical, and the 10'1" broad jump are strong. His letter to The Players Journal on his background and the work ethic he learned from his father when the family moved from Nigeria and he was 9 years old may have been over the top, but it is still sincere. That is who Emmanuel Ogbah is.
It seems like Carolina likes who Ogbah is, and a lot of teams seemingly would. He shows production, he shows if not supreme athletic ability then above average athleticism for his size. He has shown in drills that he can play the 3-4 outside linebacker.
Detroit likely won't take him in the first round but the Lions were very interested and came to Stillwater to hold a private workout for Ogbah and Jimmy Bean. Look for Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Atlanta as other possibilities, but I will agree some of those could be second round. I think Carolina knows what they are doing and they are hoping he is there for pick number 30.
Curtis Conway of The NFL Network has him going to Carolina in his mock draft and so does the Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo. Others have Ogbah going in the second round and ESPN's Mel Kiper now has him ranked as the sixth best edge pass rusher, while Mike Mayock of The NFL Network has him at number four.
As for other Cowboys, I haven't seen them show up in any of the seven-round mock drafts, but cornerbacks Kevin Peterson and Michael Hunter deserve to go. I promise whatever team takes the risk and drafts or signs defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker Jimmy Bean coming off his ACL injury from last season is going to be elated. Bean will play in the NFL and play well.