He has inconsistent strength that helps him drive tackles and guards back towards the QB with a bull rush. However, he will need to bulk up and incorporate more moves to be a more effective pass rusher.
He lacks a large arsenal of finesse moves but can utilize his length, agility, and acceleration to free himself from blockers occasionally.
When he gets ahead of steam, Okwara is nearly impossible to stop, especially off the edge.
Okwara struggles to fend off blocks on a consistent basis and sometimes fails to shed tight end blocks.
He struggles to bring down ball carriers, especially in the run game. He also has a tendency to whiff on sacks because he tackles high.
Okwara is always seeking to get the ball but is often pushed away from the ball when blocked on run plays.
Okwara has one of the highest motors in college, he will never stop churning his feet until the play is over.
Julian Okwara has tremendous speed for a defensive end and well above average speed for an outside linebacker
fractured his fibula and injured his ankle several times
His height and length are adequate but his weight is underwhelming
Julian needs to refine his tackling but his hand techniques are solid.
Okwara’s awareness is very troubling because he is often fooled on play-action, read options, and pass coverage.
inconsistent as a pass rusher because he struggles to fend off blockers
The first thing you notice when watching Okwara is that his length is certainly his best attribute. Okwara is able to use his length to gain leverage, and rip through offensive linemen on any given play and get to the quarterback. Speaking of Okwara on the edge, he has the speed and quickness necessary to brush past blockers on the outside. When Okwara tackles a ball carrier, he knows how to rip or punch the ball out of their hands because of his insane wingspan.
Okwara doesn’t have the biggest arsenal of pass rush moves, but his bull rush is arguably one of his best moves. When Okwara times a snap perfectly, he has the quickness necessary to push OTs and OGs back towards the quarterback. If Okwara can bulk up more in the off-season, his bull rush will be too much for linemen to deal with.
In addition to his pass rush skills, Okwara has an incredibly high motor that always makes him a threat for a big play to bolster the rest of his teammates. Even though Julian Okwara doesn’t have the best awareness in coverage, he has great lateral movement that helps him stay with running backs out of the backfield.
Despite having the length and height necessary to be a quality defensive-lineman, Okwara is very inconsistent as a pass rusher because he lacks ideal strength. When Okwara is asked to go one on one against a blocker, he struggles to hold his ground and often gets driven back significantly. In fact, Okwara sometimes gets pushed back by tight ends like Georgia's Isaac Nauta. Okwara’s lack of strength is especially evident on run plays where guards, tackles and tight ends often drive him back to create giant holes/lanes for RBs to run through. As a result, Okwara consistently fails to keep contain on the outside.
Along with Okwara’s lack of strength, he lacks an arsenal of finesse moves to get off blockers. Aside from a bull-rush move, Okwara has difficulty ripping through OL when he is not on the edge and will need to get finesse moves in order to maximize his quickness and length. Until he incorporates these moves, he will be a liability as a run defender and fail to shed blockers at the next level.
Even though Okwara has a high motor, his football awareness causes him to miss assignments and get fooled in coverage and on read-option plays. Along with his awareness, he will need to become a more disciplined DL because he has a tendency to over pursue when he is is pass rushing. Moreover, he frequently over pursues on run plays, which causes him to allow runners to get to the outside. If Okwara can work on his awareness and bolster his football IQ, then he could be a versatile edge rusher who has the physical tools necessary to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme as a DE or OLB. Also, Okwawa’s injury history is troubling because he has suffered fibula and severe ankle injuries.
Throughout his tenure at Notre Dame, Julian Okwara has been one of the Fighting Irish’s star pass rushers. When he is coming off the edge, Okwara’s combination of quickness and length can be too much for offensive linemen to handle. Despite being currently listed as a defensive linemen, Okwara has been viewed as a possible OLB in 3-4 schemes due to his lateral movement and potential coverage skills.
As the 2020 NFL Draft draws closer, there are some NFL executives who believe that Okwara could wind up as a first-round pick and for good reason. Okwara has the physical tools and potential necessary to be a versatile defender in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Although it is important to note that he is still a raw talent that needs to work with a seasoned defensive staff who will teach him a plethora of moves to shed blocks in both the pass and run games. Moreover, he will need to get stronger in order to fend off blocks from offensive linemen and even some tight ends.
Julian Okwara is most comparable to Dante Fowler Jr. because of his length and quickness. Both Okwara and Fowler excel off the edge as a pass rusher because they each have the physical tools necessary to brush past offensive tackles. However, they both struggle with run defense and lack a bevy of pass rush moves to fend off blockers. Plus, they are known more for beating offensive linemen with their speed rather than strength. The New England Patriots would be a perfect team for Okwara because Bill Belichick specializes in helping developing players who have a high motor like Julian. Belichick is probably the best person to teach Okwara finesse moves to help him shed blockers and become a more skilled run defender.
Dante Fowler Jr.