2019 NFL Draft Prospect – Devine Ozigbo, RB Nebraska

Noah Ballweg

Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Devine Ozigbo, RB of Nebraska. You can also check out all of our NFL Draft Prospect articles here. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!

Few players were able to boost their draft stock in their senior season like the way Devine Ozibgo did in 2018. A true one-speed tailback, Ozigbo has the experience and power to land a backup role right out of the gate in 2019.

While he may not be an immediate fantasy threat on your roster, Ozigbo’s stock has risen significantly, and he seems to be trending in the right direction. A few lucky breaks and a handful of opportunities could put Ozigbo in the driver’s seat of the depth chart which is why you definitely should take a shot on him late in your rookie drafts.

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The Stats

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Statistics table from sports-reference.com.

It is no surprise to hear of Ozigbo’s rise up NFL general managers draft boards when you look at the tell-tale statistics of this “one-hit wonder” of a season that he produced in 2018.

Prior to his breakout season, Ozigbo had only a career rushing average of 4.5 yards per carry on just 264 total attempts in three seasons. With just nine total touchdowns in his three seasons, he saved his best for last, scoring 12 touchdowns in 2018 to go along with 23 receptions for 203 yards.

The statistics tell a story of a running back on the rise who is finally stepping into his potential and seizing every opportunity he gets. Opportunity does not always mean production in the fantasy world, but it is something we look at which generally gives us a picture of how much production a player can output given those opportunities.

Ozigbo averaged 7.0 yards per carry in 2018 on just 155 carries. He surpassed the 1,000-yard mark (1,082 rushing yards) while setting career highs in almost every statistical rushing and receiving category. After struggling with ankle injuries in his first two seasons, he seems to have turned the corner and now is primed to be an effective back in the NFL.

The Film

The film itself is pretty self-explanatory. Ozigbo is a bruiser of a back with a decent burst of speed that can move him through to the next level of defenses. While you won’t find him burning past the secondary, he covers that weakness with tremendous power and vision, allowing him to run over defenders for extra yardage while also having the ability to make the first man miss.

His quick burst of speed allows him to make efficient cuts in the gaps, while also creating separation out of the backfield when running routes. What he lacks in true speed he makes up with great footwork in the trenches. This allows Ozigbo to be patient in the gaps until he can maneuver through the line on to the next level.

One thing to note is Ozibgo’s ability to push the pile and fall forward on almost every run. It is very rare to watch his film and not see him fighting for extra yardage or using his lower body strength to push the pile. Because he lacks true breakaway speed, his strength will be his weapon at the NFL level as he will likely thrive in short yardage situations.

Lastly, watch for Ozigbo’s single-cut elusiveness in this film. He doesn’t dance in the backfield, but rather makes one solid cut, primarily up the field and then uses his vision to navigate blocks and defenders. Rarely do I see a player who lacks breakaway speed combine such great vision and patience to still be effective at this level of play.

The Measurables

At 5’11”, 233 pounds, Ozigbo reminds me of a less explosive Mark Ingram, who combines power with elusiveness while also providing hands out of the backfield. His traits and measurables should prove to make him an effective running back in the NFL and he is only going to continue to rise up the draft boards of dynasty owners.

During Nebraska’s pro day, Ozigbo showed up, putting up a 37-inch vertical, benching (225 lbs) 19 times and running a 4.54-second 40-yard dash. Putting him above the 50th percentile in each category. From reports, many NFL scouts were impressed by his performances considering the strong frame that he carries. While he may not be in the top ten of most dynasty running back rankings, he should be a late round steal that you will not want to miss out on.

Dynasty Value

Ozigbo currently holds an ADP of 230.17 in DLF’s April rankings, but his data should continue to climb considering the buzz around him that is growing within NFL franchises. Luckily, most dynasty owners will pass on him until late in startups and rookie drafts which by then you will have already picked him up considering you read this article.

He is DLF’s 16th-ranked running back among rookies and is typically being selected near the middle of the fourth round of rookie drafts. If you can grab Ozigbo that late in your drafts he is certainly worth the late round flier pick that he is. He may not yield immediate dividends from a fantasy perspective but his experience and power should give him more than enough opportunity to make a name for himself throughout the 2019 season.