When one talks about premier NFL defensive linemen, names such as Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Geno Atkins, Gerald McCoy and Fletcher Cox are the first to usually be mentioned. One name that is under the radar now, but will surely become known is Cleveland Browns defensive tackle, Larry Ogunjobi.
Ogunjobi, one of the few remnants of the Sashi Brown era, was taken 65th overall in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft our of Charlotte. The son of Nigerian parents, the 6’3, 305-pound native of Livingston, New Jersey has helped transform one of the NFL’s worst defenses from last year into a borderline top-ten overall defense that currently ranks 12th overall that allows 338.3 total yards per game, 19.7 points per game (11th), 10th against the pass in allowing (229.0), 16th against the run (109.3) and No.1 in takeaways.
Ogunjobi is also a big reason why Cleveland is currently tied for seventh overall in team total sacks with seven, second in forced fumbles (6) and tops in fumble recoveries (6).
After cutting local product—and Parma Heights native, in defensive lineman—Jamie Meder and shipping former first round pick, Danny Shelton to the New England Patriots, someone needed to step up in their place, and so far it looks like Ogunjobi has answered the bell in being the Browns unsung hero on defense.
While DE Myles Garrett, SS Jabrill Peppers, MLB Joe Schobert, CB Denzel Ward and OLB Jamie Collins may get the headlines, it is Ogunjobi who is doing the dirty work in stuffing opposing runners and getting to the quarterback from the inside.
In three games this season, Ogunjobi has three sacks—tied for seventh in the NFL, and second on the team behind the fore-mentioned Garrett to go along with 18 total tackles. With the Browns set to face a suspect Oakland Raiders offensive line and getting edge-rusher Emmanuel Ogbah back from injury, look for Ogunjobi to continue to wreak havoc on the inside and making his name known to both unsuspecting QB’s and offensive lines throughout the league.