Buffalo Bills: The curious signing of Owa Odighizuwa

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills announced another signing after agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with Owa Odighizuwa.

The Buffalo Bills continue to make moves before free agency beings.

The latest move adds some depth on defense in the form of Owa Odighizuwa.

The 25-year-old defensive lineman last played for the New York Giants in 2016. Odighizuwa reportedly pondered retirement last offseason but opted to keep playing. That was until he was slapped with a four-game ban for PEDs and was subsequently released by the Giants the following day.

Odighizuwa made an attempt to resume his playing career in Dallas when they hosted him for a workout last October, but the team elected not to sign him.

Standing at 6-foot-4, 270-pounds, Odighizuwa has the prototypical size for a 4-3 defensive end. He was a third-round pick in 2015 out of UCLA after an impressive Senior season with the Bruins. Odighizuwa made 59 tackles, 11.5 of them for a loss, and posted a career-high six sacks.

Unfortunately, the former Bruin hasn’t been able to translate the college production to the pros.

With Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon as bookends along the defensive line in New York, the former UCLA Bruin was never able to crack the rotation for the Giants. Odighizuwa dressed in just 18 games in his first two seasons in the league. But the lack of production in those games (six tackles) was concerning. After being suspended for PEDs the Giants felt a headache wasn’t worth the productivity— or lack thereof.

With the PED ban looming, Odighizuwa was not an attractive option to teams who were prowling the waiver wire last August, costing him the entire season.

Now that we know a little bit about the newest Buffalo Bill, here are my thoughts on the signing.

Why now?

This seems like a very precarious signing so early into free agency.

He has the size and build of a professional football player, but struggles to process the game at the NFL level. Odighizuwa was out of football all of last season and hasn’t shown he can be productive at the pro-level yet. A guy of his ilk seems more like a late signing just ahead of free agency as opposed to before the league year begins.

When looking deeper into this signing it’s apparent that he fits the scheme, but most likely as a rotational piece.

The Bills used a three-man rotation last season at defensive end for most of 2017. A rotation that included Jerry Hughes, Shaq Lawson, and Eddie Yarbrough. However, all of these players are still under contract and plan to return to Buffalo. Thus making Odighizuwa the fourth D-end on the depth chart.

His scouting report suggests he’s more of a run defender than a pass rusher. And if he’s going to make this team he will need to prove he’s capable of playing special teams. His combination of strength and speed would argue he is. But is his mental makeup going to allow him to perform?

Or perhaps the plan is to deploy him as situational lineman against the run. This could allow Sean McDermott to keep Lawson or Hughes fresh for pass rushing scenarios.

Either way, Odighizuwa is not guaranteed a spot on the 53-man roster. He’ll need to compete.

Next: 2018 full first-round mock draft

But competition brings out the best in people. Buffalo’s track record of signing players to short-term “prove it” deals has been successful lately (Lorenzo Alexander and Jordan Poyer), and the Bills hope to add Odighizuwa to that list.