Chief Osi the total DE Package

Last week you gave us a report on Eli Manning. Can you please do the same for Osi Umenyiora?

Osi may never record six sacks in a game again, but his career night against the Eagles has become part of Giants history. We studied the tape and there were two other times he had Donovan McNabb in his grip, but the QB managed to get away. Can you imagine that he could have had eight sacks in one game? Truly amazing.

While most of his work came against second-year tackle Winston Justice, he was deployed at other spots in addition to his normal right DE spot. It would be possible to make a training video of his night. He showed the bull rush, the outside speed rush, and the arm-over inside move. He went inside, outside and over poor Justice.

When we scout a 4-3 defensive end, there are established scouting points we look at and grade. Let's run Osi through the points. We'll use a 1 to 10 rating with 10 being the highest.

Initial quickness – There is a relatively new scouting term that applies here and it is "quick twitch." That's another way of saying initial quickness. Osi has it. He has suddenness. He gets off the snap very quickly. The first step is very important in pass rushing and Osi has a great first step, which allows him to get on the tackle before he sets. Grade: 8.5

Instincts/Recognition – Osi is aware. He is quick to find and track the ball. This reaction time must be instantaneous if he is to be successful. We've seen great DE athletes who are clueless when they have to locate the ball or quickly diagnose the play. He reads the pressure from the block well. The less a DE thinks the better off he is. Thinking slows a player down. He must be instinctive. That's one thing that separates the great ones from the average ones. Grade: 8

Run defense – Osi has a great model to pattern his game after and that is Michael Strahan. What sets Strahan apart from the crowd is that not only is he a great pass rusher, but he is stout against the run as well. That was Strahan in his prime. He has lost some of that ability with age. Osi needs to improve here. Teams will find out the best way to slow him down is to run right at him. Teams do it to the Colts' Dwight Freeney because he is a one-dimensional DE. Osi can defend the run, but he needs to get better before he is at a Strahan level. A positive is that he can shed blocks quickly, but he needs more strength at the point of attack. Even though he doesn't have great mass or bulk, he can still stop or, at the very least, help against the run. He has enough speed to get down the line and contribute in pursuit. Grade: 5

Neutralize/double-team – What was so amazing about his six-sack performance against the Eagles is that Philly gave that poor, young tackle very little help with Osi; that coaching decision killed them. They helped Jon Runyan with Strahan, but they didn't help Justice with Osi. A chip by a back or TE can knock a DE off his rush. What Osi does well is he keeps his feet. He is rarely on the ground. He shows that he is improving at taking on double-teams and holding his ground at the point of attack. We've seen him split double-teams, but sometimes he just needs to anchor against them a little better. Grade: 5

Defeat the block – Osi can do this well especially when he is pass rushing. He has enough moves to get it done. Where he needs more work is defeating the block on running plays. He must use a combination of quickness and strength. He has the quickness he needs to improve his strength. He needs to shed the block better on running plays. Grade: 6

Lateral pursuit/Effort – We believe Osi grades out well here. He is a high energy guy, which is very important. Lazy players never do well in pursuit. He almost always gives good effort and he usually takes good angles. Most times good lateral movement skills are more important in stopping the run than straight-ahead up-field quickness. Osi moves laterally very well. He is loose, which is good. Looseness helps him getting around blocks when he needs to. He doesn't seem to struggle when moving through traffic. Too many times a player will have problems with traffic, and will get caught up in it. Not Osi. Finally, he has the necessary speed to be strong in pursuit. Grade: 8

Tackling – Osi shows decent strength in tackling. Usually he is able to get the man down. He can pop the runner on contact. Like most big players the toughest thing for them to do is break down and tackle out in space. Osi does this very well. This is because of his athletic ability. We seen him bend, roll his hips and drive to make a physical tackle. Grade: 7

Pass rush – Osi has it and basically has always had it. What has slowed him down are injuries. When he is healthy he can be very productive. He is technically sound. All his moves are done well. As we said earlier he could be the subject of a coaching video. He has worked hard to perfect his moves. While there are several variations of pass rush moves, there are only three basic ways to rush and they are inside, outside and over the tackle. The key is good footwork. He has the quick twitch we talked about earlier. When he speed rushes outside he has the burst to get around the tackle and close on the QB. When he rushes inside it's important to get his outside arm over the blocker. At that point he can get by the tackle. Change of direction is vital to a great pass rush. Osi's change of direction is excellent. When he bull rushes he uses his leverage well. He gets under the blocker and he then can push him back. It takes very good form and technique by the offensive tackle to deal with a great technician like Osi. The better tackles in the league will be able to neutralize him most of the time, but he is still a menace even for the elite tackles. Remember the great game he had against Walter Jones in Seattle? Grade: 9

Use of hands – Hands are nearly as important to a pass rusher as good quick feet are. Osi looks active with his hands. He can control a blocker. Good hand placement is very important. He is able to push, pull or rip as the situation requires. Grade: 7.5

Close on the QB – Osi also excels here. Beating a block is one thing, but closing on the QB to get the sack or disrupt him is the key to a strong pass rush. This is where speed and quickness come in and Osi has them both. Every QB will move in the pocket or move outside the pocket. Closing on him is how a rusher finishes. Osi is great at this because he has the necessary acceleration and burst. Grade: 9

Those are the main scouting points for a defensive end. There are finer points that fit in with all the main points above. Personal character, football character, athletic ability, competitiveness, mental alertness and strength, and explosion are all important too. Osi passes all these underlying points. With all that he has going for him, if he stays healthy and keeps improving, he will become an elite defensive end.


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