Robert Okereke Jersey

One of the big questions facing the Broncos in the 2019 Draft is where they’ll address the needs on the roster if they go for a quarterback on Day 1. At Tight End this isn’t as concerning as the class looks deep enough to provide talent as late as Day 3. Things are a bit scarier at linebacker where there seems to be significant fall off after Devin White and Devin Bush.

I’m here to let you know Bobby Okereke of Stanford could be one of those sleeper prospects to keep an eye on. He’s a true student-athlete, having won the prestigious Watkins Award in 2014 as the nation’s top African-American high school player in terms of academic and athletic excellence. A contributor to the Cardinal since his first year on campus, Okereke finished his collegiate career with 227 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and an interception.

PROS: Super explosive linebacker who fits the mold of a pursuit WILL at the next level. Excels at knifing down into the line of scrimmage and shooting gaps. Does very well to time his attacks and knows how to play with patience to force the RB to declare. Has true sideline-sideline range when pursuing boundary plays and can beat ball-carriers to the corner, limiting second-level runs. Does have a quick eye for the game and good instincts, though he will trust himself too much and get fooled by misdirection. Takes on block with clearly understood technique and good effort. Long speed/burst profile proves valuable in coverage reps and as a blitzing LB.

CONS: Struggles mightily as a tackler. Regularly lunges into contact from quite a ways away; seems a bit stubby in the arms and cannot carry wrap through to the ground. High-waisted frame leads to laborious change of direction; will get exposed in space by hesitation moves/jukes. Despite willingness and explosiveness into contact, widely struggles to handle climbing offensive linemen. Can be far too passive waiting for them to arrive despite the fact that he clearly sees them coming; takes on contact without requisite hip bend and powerful hands to exchange power. Either ends up in the third level or in the first level, never maintaining leverage on second level; eats turf often.

Instinctive player who will over-pursue, especially when threatened to the boundary. Neglects his in-the-box responsibility and can allow big plays to shoot up the middle when displaced. As a coverage 'backer, change-of-direction questions remain: will struggle to get his hips flipped at times and allow separation, though there are some positive reps here.

PROS: Super explosive linebacker who fits the mold of a pursuit WILL at the next level. Excels at knifing down into the line of scrimmage and shooting gaps. Does very well to time his attacks and knows how to play with patience to force the RB to declare. Has true sideline-sideline range when pursuing boundary plays and can beat ball-carriers to the corner, limiting second-level runs. Does have a quick eye for the game and good instincts, though he will trust himself too much and get fooled by misdirection. Takes on block with clearly understood technique and good effort. Long speed/burst profile proves valuable in coverage reps and as a blitzing LB.

CONS: Struggles mightily as a tackler. Regularly lunges into contact from quite a ways away; seems a bit stubby in the arms and cannot carry wrap through to the ground. High-waisted frame leads to laborious change of direction; will get exposed in space by hesitation moves/jukes. Despite willingness and explosiveness into contact, widely struggles to handle climbing offensive linemen. Can be far too passive waiting for them to arrive despite the fact that he clearly sees them coming; takes on contact without requisite hip bend and powerful hands to exchange power. Either ends up in the third level or in the first level, never maintaining leverage on second level; eats turf often.

Okereke is reliable when it comes to pass coverage. He has above average capabilities for a linebacker to be able to lock onto running backs coming out of the backfield and can also cover tight ends. His zone coverage awareness below allows his defense to get to the quarterback for a coverage sack.

This is a great play from Okereke. He puts his back to a wall and makes his first step downhill allowing him to read the play without staying stagnant. He meets the running back in the hole and stuffs him for zero gain on a big fourth down play. If he gets a free run he can make plays.

Bobby Okereke can be good but he can also be pretty bad. After film study, I would say he is good only 35-40% of the time. One great example of this 35-40% is below. Okereke gets some steam behind him and takes on the lead blocker like a true middle linebacker. There was most likely a blitz called for #20 as he inches toward the line and displays no hesitation at the snap of the ball.

It could possibly have been good film study and preparation as well as Okereke doesn’t “show blitz” until the H-Back goes in motion and throttles down behind the guard which could have tipped off the play call. Okereke’s impact forces the fullback into the ball carrier and the other Stanford Cardinal defenders clean up the play after Bobby’s dirty work.

Yikes…to say the least. Okereke stands at 6’3 and weighs between 230 and 235 lbs. With his height, ideally, he would put on about ten pounds of muscle and play in the 240-245 lbs range. As you can see below, he doesn’t provide much of a challenge for the pulling guard.

This is simply not a good linebacker stance. His feet are way too wide, to begin with, and then there is almost a full second between the snap of the ball and his first movement. His lack of initial motion allows the offensive linemen to get the advantage before the play even develops. He is out of position before he even takes a step.

Okereke struggles with stopping and making stops in the box repeatedly. Earlier, he showed great instincts but it does not happen on a consistent basis at all. In the example below, he fails to dissect the play fast enough and the read option causes him to hesitate which allows the tight end to scrape off his down block and kick Okereke out. I want to see Okereke get skinny and fill the gap.

The Bengals are going through a lot of changes. There is a new coaching regime in place and more than likely we will witness quite a bit of roster turnover, including Vontaze Burfict. Okereke can provide some nice depth as a late-round selection.The Raiders need to add some athleticism to their defense. Okereke is a solid athlete and could step in and be a great special teams contributor for Gruden with some playing time sprinkled in.Okereke won’t replace Anthony Barr if he doesn’t re-sign with the Vikings but depth is needed in Minnesota regardless. Okereke has some value to NFL teams but it has to be the right scheme. The Vikings’ 4-3 should have a spot for Okereke.

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