In his third season out of Oklahoma State, Cleveland Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah still has not lived up to the potential of his number 32 overall draft status. Three games into the 2018 season, Ogbah has only played in one game, that being the season opener against the Steelers. The “Nigerian Nightmare” only registered one assisted tackle in an underwhelming debut to start his third season in the NFL. The last two weeks, Ogbah has been sidelined with an ankle injury.
“Oh yeah, I am back this week,” Ogbah told Browns reporters on Wednesday.
Ogbah’s presence has perhaps been forgotten with the production of the second year defensive linemen Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi. Garrett’s four sacks on the season have him tied at the top of the NFL for most sacks so far this season, and Ogunjobi is just behind him with three sacks. Chris Smith, the fifth year defensive end that filled in for Ogbah and did a solid job against the New York Jets, finishing the night with three tackles for loss. So where has the production been from Ogbah?
Ogbah’s 2017 campaign ended six weeks early, as he injured his foot against the Jaguars which placed him on injured reserve for the remainder of the 2017 season. In 11 weeks, Ogbah only had four sacks. Two of those sacks came against the Detroit Lions in week 10, as it was his best performance of the 2017 season.
In his rookie season, Ogbah finished with 5.5 sacks, a fair total for a rookie defensive end that had hardly any help elsewhere from the rest of his unit in Cleveland. Against the Bengals, Ogbah had the best game of his career finishing with five total tackles and two sacks. Other than the two games that Ogbah has compiled two sacks (has 9.5 sacks in 28 career games), he has essentially only compiled 5.5 sacks in 26 career games.
There should be a bit more expectations for a player that was picked 32nd overall in his draft class. Maybe that is being too hard on Ogbah, as the production of pass rushers around the NFL is so slim that if you can even find a guy such as Ogbah, you are in pretty good shape. For example, Buccaneers Noah Spence and former Raiders and now Colts defensive end Jihad Ward have had lackluster starts to their NFL careers and they were both drafted within a dozen picks of Ogbah. Between Spence and Ward, the two have combined for 8.5 sacks in 64 games. That is brutal.
Of course, there are more variables than sacks when grading a defensive end’s production but for edge rushers, sacks are the most important variable. Let’s now take a look at what Pro Football Focus has to say about all of this.
In Ogbah’s first three seasons he has been graded with 58.8 (2016), 64 (2017), and 65.2 (2018) grades thus far through his career. The overall grades Ogbah finished out with represent “average” and his performance backs it up. Ogbah only generates a pressure once out of every 11 pass rushing snaps throughout his career, according to PFF. In 2017 Ogbah finished ranked 138th in the NFL in pass rushing productivity, not so good.
Things are brighter for Ogbah with his run stop percentage. Ogbah finished the 2017 season ranked 26th overall in the NFL in run stop percentage with a percentage of 9.6 percent, better than Joey Bosa, Jadeveon Clowney, and Chandler Jones to name a few. However, even though Bosa (33), Clowney (38), and Jones (T-70) all have a lower run-stop percentage than Ogbah, they are three of the 10 or so premier pass rushers in the NFL.
So what exactly can we expect from Ogbah for the rest of the 2018 season? With the production from Garrett and Ogunjobi, it is likely opposing offensive coordinators will be mostly game planning for those two up-front. Realistically, it would be nice to see Ogbah reach eight sacks through 13 games.
When asked on Sept. 26 if he plans on chasing Garrett and Ogunjobi’s sack totals, Ogbah answered, “Yeah, I told them that I am coming for them.” The Browns can only hope for more production out of their third-year pass rusher compared to what they received out of him in 27 snaps against the Steelers.
Week 4 opponent of the Browns, the Oakland Raiders’ offensive line has fared pretty well with protecting their quarterback Derek Carr in the pocket. Carr is ranked 5th best in the NFL out of quarterbacks that have started a game this season in pressures, as the Raiders have only allowed 29 pressures through three games. For comparison’s sake, Tyrod Taylor/Baker Mayfield has been pressured a total of 50 times, which is the third worst in the NFL.
Even though the Raiders offensive line has fared well in preventing their quarterback from being pressured, the same cannot be said for his time to throw. Carr, on average, has only had 2.25 seconds to throw which is 2nd worst for quarterbacks that have started two games or more this season. Only Ryan Tannehill is worse, as the Dolphins have only allowed 2.22 seconds for him to throw.
Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn, Ogbah’s matchup for this Sunday’s game against the Raiders, has allowed eight pressures this season which is tied for 19th-worst out of 105 players ranked. A perfect opportunity for Ogbah to reboot his 2018 season.