ESPN’s Clay projects Cardinals rookie pass rusher BJ Ojulari’s sack total

May 28, 2023, 7:45 PM

The Arizona Cardinals added another pass rusher to the mix with the second-round selection of LSU outside linebacker BJ Ojulari this past NFL Draft.

Where he fits in on the depth chart remains to be seen, but that didn’t stop ESPN’s Mike Clay from including Ojulari among the top sack getters from the 2023 draft class.

Ranking nine of the top rookie pass rushers in his overarching projections for numerous positions, Clay has Ojulari coming in tied for fifth with five sacks in 2023.

For a Cardinals squad in search of pass-rushing options following the departures of J.J. Watt (retirement) and Zach Allen (free agency), that should be music to their ears.

If Clay’s projection for Ojulari holds up, he would have landed third on the team behind Watt (12.5) and Allen (5.5). Dropping him down to four sacks would have put him tied with linebacker Isaiah Simmons at four apiece.

Ojulari figures to see playing time right out the gate given where he was taken in the draft and the high praise he is already receiving from head coach Jonathan Gannon and Defensive coordinator Nick Rallis.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be an uphill climb for the rookie, who will compete with second-year pros Cam Thomas and Myjai Sanders in addition to veterans Dennis Gardeck and Victor Dimukeje. Zaven Collins is another option to rush the passer after beginning his career on the inside. Jesse Luketa is another player that could vie for playing time in the room.

A look at Clay’s rookie sack projection:

– Will Anderson, Houston Texans: 9
– Lukas Van Ness, Green Bay Packers: 7
– Tyree Wilson, Las Vegas Raiders: 7
– Myles Murphy, Cincinnati Bengals: 6
– Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas City Chiefs: 5
– BJ Ojulari, Arizona Cardinals: 5
– Byron Young, Los Angeles Rams: 5
– Will McDonald IV, New York Jets: 5
– Isaiah Foskey, New Orleans Saint: 5

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