Over the years, Sean Payton has become known as an offensive mastermind as he’s crafts one of the best offenses, and passing attacks, in the NFL each year. His offenses have become known because of their ability to dominate in all three levels of the passing attack led by Drew Brees.
However, over the years one position he’s had the best success at developing and deploying has been the runningback position. While this is the most transferable position in the NFL, Payton’s success has allowed him to continually run the committee system he’s preferred even as the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants.
Players like Khiry Robinson, Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas, Aaron Stecker and other undrafted runningbacks were able to come into New Orleans and contribute in Payton’s system. Could Devine Ozigbo be that next runningback? With the departure of Mark Ingram the Saints certainly have room for a young back with an imposing style. Bringing in Latavius Murray helps answer that question in the immediate, but New Orleans typically carries several backs on the 53 man roster.
Ozigbo comes into camp with the athletic profile of an explosive power runner after he put up very good scores in the vertical and broad jump, and his scores across the board were impressive as a whole. He scored above average in almost every metric while ranking in the elite area in the aforementioned tests that gauge a player’s explosion. Below is his full scouting report and RAS card.
Athletic Ability, Burst, Play Strength, Competitive Toughness, Balance, Footwork, Power to Finish
Patience, Low Usage/Experience, Long Speed, Pass Protection
Year 1 & Year 3 Projections:
Year 1: NFL Backup or member of committee system focusing on IZ/Power runs between the tackles.
Year 3: NFL Starter or member of a committee displaying the versatility to be used in either zone or power runs while also being a threat as a receiver.
Played in 39 games, but only 16 as the full time starter. Had a very good season his senior year for Nebraska averaging 7 yards per rush and amassing over 1,000 yards. Has good size for the position, and believed to have played larger (230) than his listed size at pro day. Compact torso and long leg build with strength underneath to sustain and power through on tough runs. Is a good athlete with nice burst when attacking the running lane. More quick than fast, but explosive burst allows him to capture the edge and reach the second level.
Shows a nice ability to stay under control and patient from the mesh points to the line of scrimmage showing a knack for allowing blocking to develop in front of him(between the tackles). Nice cut ability with good short area quickness. Has the ability to stop/start and change direction based on the flow of defenders. Lowers his center of gravity prior to contact to create leverage and move his momentum forward.
Maintains balance through contact and has smooth footwork to stay grounded. Preferred method contact is to lower shoulder and power through and is more of a heavy finisher than he is elusive, but will grind forward in piles constantly working his feet. Very good understanding of his location on the field and is quick to head north to prevent tackle for loss situations.
A willing blocker that still needs to refine technique. Good mental processing to read defense pre-snap and note potential blitzers/rushers in blocking assignments. Saw limited touches as a receiver, but was effective when asked to fill the role. Lined up in the backfield, in the slot and out wide on occasion. Route tree is simplistic (wheel/in/out/flat), but there’s definitely something to build on here.
Long strider, power size and strong running style can make him dangerous in the open field for smaller defensive backs. Is impatient at times when it comes to his outside runs/pulls and will cut up field before allowing blocks to develop. Would stutter step too much out wide and didn’t seem to have the same understanding/drive as he did when attacking inside.
A “see it and go” runner who doesn’t seem to have full field vision right now. Can be seen running loose with the football and has to be consistent with holding it high and tight to prevent fumbles. “Catches” defenders in passing lanes instead of creating an anchor and shooting hands to extend and lock out oncoming rushers. Inconsistent as a receiver with his hands. At times would extend to go get the football and other times would miss routine plays. Could be attributed to lack of experience in this area.
Ozigbo is a unique prospect who has limited tread on the tires as he only saw 284 rushing attempts over his junior and senior seasons. Likely a NFL backup as he still needs to improve on his pass blocking, become more consistent as a receiver and be more patient attacking the outside, but is a great fit in a committee system who can contribute early in his career.
Will Ozigbo make the roster alongside Murray and Alvin Kamara?
Will Devine Ozigbo make the 53 man roster?
This poll is closed