Originally published April 6. On Saturday, the Ravens signed Ochi as an undrafted free agent.
When it comes to undrafted free agents and day 3 prospects, two types of players are intriguing:
1.) Supreme athletes who simply were not proven enough in college, thus prompting their availability in rounds four through seven; and
2.) Average athletes with above average college production – players who don’t have enough athletic upside for day one or day two.
One player who falls into the second category is Stony Brook outside linebacker Victor Ochi, a personal favorite of RSR’s Tony Lombardi.
As a day three prospect, there is plenty to like with Ochi. A dominant edge-setting linebacker at the FCS level, Ochi simply manhandled his lesser competition en route to 13 sacks during his senior year. That was enough to net him a CAA co-defensive player of the year honors.
But dominating the lesser competition of the FCS doesn’t make Ochi a sure thing. With a 6’1, 246-pound frame, Ochi will be overmatched in the size category on almost every NFL snap. He’ll have to rely on his strength and anticipation to become a legitimate edge player at the next level.
Likewise, Ochi’s overall athleticism is nothing of note:
With his lack of height and marginal athleticism, his college production isn’t enough to make him a top-100 pick.
Let’s take a look at how Ochi overcomes his size disadvantage to still make an impact.
Instincts and strength are essentially the two aspects Ochi will need to rely on in order to make an impact in the NFL.
As a run defender, Ochi keeps his eyes on the ball carrier in the backfield and sheds blocks well.
Ochi shows pure strength regularly in the run game. He often takes on one or two defenders and powers through them.
Granted, he’s facing lesser competition in the FCS, but plays like this highlight Ochi’s natural strength.
When it comes to rushing the passer off the edge, much of the same holds true.
His relentless pursuit, natural strength and balance on his bend around the edge allowed him to make an impact in the passing game at Stony Brook.
Lay-up sacks won’t come to Ochi in the NFL, but if he can win one-on-one on the edge, he can manage to get to the quarterback as a pro.
As noted, Ochi’s upside/athleticism is minimal, but he was worth a late-round selection. The Ravens get a steal with him as an undrafted free agent. We’ll see whether Ochi can produce against some better competition. If he can step in rotationally alongside Za’Darius Smith, Kamalei Correa, and Matt Judon to give Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil some rest, he could provide quality depth for the Ravens.