Notre Dame football: Predicting Julian Okwara’s NFL Draft outcome

With the 2020 NFL Draft fast approaching, we give our prediction on where former Notre Dame edge rusher Julian Okwara might be selected.

Notre Dame football edge rusher Julian Okwara has been a popular pick to be selected early on in the 2020 NFL Draft, with many experts predicting he may be selected as early as the first round of the draft.

While Okwara is certainly a first-round caliber player, there is a better chance that he slips in the draft through no fault of his own. Afterall, Okwara was unable to fully participate in the NFL Combine, as he continues to recover from a broken leg that he sustained in the November 10, 2019 game against Duke University.

Okwara had anticipated he would be a full participant in Notre Dame University’s Pro Day which was initially scheduled to be hosted this month. However, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Notre Dame was forced to cancel it’s Pro Day.

As a result, there is a good chance that Okwara slips to the second round of the draft. He was unable to put his speed and athleticism on display in the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill, vertical leap or broad jump. He only participated in the bench press, where he did 27 repetitions, which was only six short of the most put up this year by an edge rusher.

The fact that Okwara is a pure speed rusher, rather than a power bull rusher is important to note when considering he was unable to put his speed and agility on full display for NFL teams. As a result, they will have to rely only on game film, which was not necessarily indicative of Okwara’s ability.

Due to these facts, it is less likely that Okwara is selected in the first round of the draft. My prediction is that he ends up being selected by the Detroit Lions in the second round with the 35th overall selection.

The Lions recently signed former New England Patriot Jamie Collins to a three-year $30 million contract but they could use additional pass-rushing options on the team.

If Detroit opts to select Julian Okwara, he would be a likely candidate to be put in a rotation along with Trey Flowers and his older brother and former Irish standout Romeo Okwara. The idea of the two Okwara brothers wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks while serving on the same defensive line has to be appealing to both Lions fans and the Okwara family.

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It will be worth monitoring how the lack of a Notre Dame Pro Day performance impacts Julian Okwara’s draft status. If he does indeed slip in the upcoming NFL Draft, he could end up being an absolute steal for the team the ultimately selects him.

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