One of the more athletically gifted players in April's draft, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah lit up the scouting combine last month, posting a 4.63 40-yard dash and excellent jumps while weighing in at 273 pounds with 35 1/2-inch arms. It seems the strong performance has drawn some attention.
Former Chicago Bears director of college scouting Greg Gabriel is hearing from "high-level league execs" that Ogbah "could possibly go in [the] top 15" picks next month. That would qualify as a bit of a surprise, as Ogbah has generally been considered a fringe first-round prospect.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay each have Ogbah late in Round 1 of their most recent mocks, and that's the highest the Oklahoma State product has landed in any of their mocks so far. Kiper sent the pass-rusher to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 29, but that was before the team acquired Chandler Jones from the New England Patriots. McShay slotted him a pick later to the Carolina Panthers, but even that would be a reach based on his rankings, where he graded Ogbah as the 44th-best player in the draft, worthy of a mid-second-round selection.
Athleticism like Ogbah's often helps players get drafted higher despite lackluster production, but the latter wasn't a problem for the defensive end in college -- he had 22.5 sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss in the last two seasons. However, McShay noted in his most recent mock that Ogbah's motor runs hot and cold, which seems to be a big reason for his depressed grade.
And yet, based on Gabriel's tweets, it appears a team (or teams) is considering pulling the trigger on Ogbah in the top half of Round 1. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 9) and Chicago Bears (11) have been linked to pass-rushers in recent mocks, while the New Orleans Saints (12) could use help at almost any defensive position. Likewise, the Oakland Raiders (14) could use a secondary option to complement Khalil Mack, as Aldon Smith is a free agent and will be suspended for 10 games to start the season.
As a 4-3 end in college, Ogbah would probably fit best with the Bucs or Raiders among that group, but we wouldn't rule out a team taking him to play as a 3-4 outside linebacker.