Hidden Gems: Baltimore Ravens’ UDFA Sleeper

The Baltimore Ravens just can’t get enough pass rushers. After a draft that saw them add Kamalei Correa out of Boise State in the second round and Grand Valley State’s Matt Judon in the fifth, they signed potentially the best undrafted pass rusher: Victor Ochi from Stony Brook. Even though his path to the roster is steep behind the aforementioned Correa and Judon, not to mention Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil and Za’Darius Smith, Ochi has the talent to get there.

Ochi started making noise in the pre-draft process when he started making the most of an invite to the East-West Shrine Game. There, Ochi started dominating the competition, making NFL writers everywhere look up just where Stony Brook actually is. (For the record, it’s a small FCS school in New York that to date has just one NFL alum, current Giants TE Will Tye.)

As journalists looked back, they realized this guy was legit. His production in school was off the charts. As a senior, he led the FCS with 16.5 TFL and 13 sacks. That’s impressive by itself, but even more so when you factor in his junior (16.5 TFL, 11 sacks) and sophomore (10 TFL, 5.5 sacks) campaigns.

Even though he consistently dominated the FCS ranks and Shrine Game tackles, Ochi failed to really improve on that at the combine. For 6’1″ and 246 lbs, you’d expect a better 3 cone drill than 7.24, and his timed runs were also disappointingly slow and less explosive than the tape shows. However, he benched 22 reps at his pro day, and his 33 3/4″ arms are a major plus.

Tape on Ochi is limited online, consisting of one game against New Hampshire on Draft Breakdown. It’s not hard to tell which the NFL prospect was on that defensive line, as Ochi’s high motor and pass rush skills pop out time and again en route to 3.5 sacks. He has a push-pull, a swim, a rip, a spin, a bend: you name it, he can rush it. However, as a full-time defensive end, Ochi will need to improve his movement skills as he’ll be asked to cover in space. His hand usage and placement is also not NFL ready yet, which he’ll need to develop over the summer.

Ochi’s greatest trait is his suddenness. He’s explosive off the line, and although he’s top heavy with long-arms, he can really pressure an offensive tackle quickly. His first move tended to be good enough to beat his competition, but he’ll also need to learn to set players up and develop counter moves. He’s athletic enough to beat them once, but NFL tackles have long memories and they’ll know what to do to neutralize him if he doesn’t vary his attacks.

Ultimately, roster numbers might just end up working against the highly-talented Ochi in Baltimore. The small school status hurt him, and despite a week in St. Petersburg where he basically blew up every offensive lineman across from him, he slipped to undrafted free agency. He was among my highest-rated players available there, with a fifth-round grade from me on him. Don’t count him out just yet to make an impact for the Ravens pass rush corps.

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