The Jacksonville Jaguars’ lack of pass rush played a role in their inability to stop opposing teams from scoring at ease last season. If they want to generate pressure upfront in 2021, they will need to bolster their defensive line this season and the 2021 NFL Draft will offer a few interesting prospects, including Texas defensive end Joseph Ossai.
A four-star recruit out of Oak Ridge High School, Ossai had a quiet freshman year with the Longhorns. However, he got significantly more playing time in his sophomore campaign and showed he could be a dominant pass rusher, logging 90 total tackles (13.5 for a loss), five sacks, and one forced fumble. His junior year was more of the same and registered 55 total tackles, two passes defensed and three forced fumbles.
Ossai’s ability to play different positions should intrigue NFL teams, as he played outside linebacker in his first two seasons at Texas and switched to defensive end in 2020. He has an explosive first step and enough bend to thrive on the edge. On the other hand, he will probably need to add weight if he’s going to play defensive end in the pros, as he’s rather light to hold the position on a full-time basis at 253 pounds.
The Jacksonville Jaguars should target Ossai late in the first round.
Although the Jaguars will most likely use the first overall pick in 2021’s draft on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawerence, they have an extra first-round selection, the 25th overall, after trading cornerback Jalen Ramsey in 2019. They could use that pick on Ossai but if they want to address other position groups such as left tackle or safety, they could wait a few spots and target the Texas standout with the first pick in the second round.
Ossai needs to work on his craft and add a few pass-rush moves to his arsenal, but he has the physical attributes to thrive in the NFL. Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen got the most out of his defensive players as the Baltimore Ravens defensive line and should be able to do the same with prospects like Ossai in Jacksonville.
It’s uncertain what positions the ‘Jags’ will prioritize in the draft but if they want to add a pass rusher late in the first round or early in the second, Ossai could be their choice.