Will B.J. Ojulari be the Arizona Cardinals next great edge rusher?

Mississippi State v LSU
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The Arizona Cardinals don’t have an elite pass rusher on the roster, but they have strength in numbers, though B.J. Ojulari can be more than that this season.

Whether you see the Arizona Cardinals run a 4-3, a 3-4, or a combination, they will have a more effective pass rush than many in NFL circles realize. With Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders heading into their second season after putting together solid sample sizes in Year 1, and with Zaven Collins potentially joining the crew, the Cards look more than set to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. 

So why is everyone counting them out four months before the season begins? Most likely, it’s because few have heard of, and therefore bother to conduct much research, on any of the above names. But if there is one name that stands out, it’s B.J. Ojulari, and he could become the best of the bunch, even as a rookie. 

B.J. Ojulari could be the Arizona Cardinals next great pass rusher

While Thomas and Sanders have looked good during their respective moments at outside linebacker last season, neither lit up the league. However, with a year of experience under their belts, they will be more effective in Year 2. Meanwhile Collins is a player opposing offenses already realize they must account for. 

This could leave the rookie in Ojulari to surprise a lot of people in Year 1, especially early. He already put together more than a solid college football campaign, with 16.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles behind the line. 

While teams will eventually account for Ojulari, with them focused on the experienced veterans like Thomas, Sanders, and Collins early on, it could give the Redbirds latest pass rusher an opportunity to get used to the speed of the game while establishing his presence at edge. Overall, it’s a winning situation that the LSU product could be walking into, assuming Thomas and Sanders grow, and that Collins also joins the group. 

Therefore, if Ojulari puts up big numbers early, don’t be surprised. And you also shouldn’t be surprised if he continues that trend, even when opponents realize they need to key on him. If his numbers decrease, then someone else along the line will reap the benefits. Either way, you’re looking at a potentially outstanding pass rusher for the Arizona Cardinals. 

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Source: Expect rookie BJ Ojulari to be a big part of the Arizona Cardinals' plans at pass rusher by Bob McManamon, AZCentral.com

(Statistics provided by Sports-Reference/CFB)