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Finding the next Justin Smith - Alex Okafor?

By now you should realize that we need to be looking for an eventual replacement for possibly our most important defensive player, Justin Smith. In doing so, we also need to improve our pass rush. Ideally, we could meet both needs with one player.

However, outside of top prospects like Sheldon Richardson, Star Lotulellie, Sharrif Floyd, and Sheldon Richardson.... there aren't many options. Most prospects after those guys either don't quite fit our defensive scheme or aren't athletic enough to be effective pass rushers.

So we will probably have to develop somebody. My choice is a guy we haven't talked about much:

Alex Okafor, DE Texas




Now before you start throwing fruit, hear me out. The guy has similar measurables as Justin Smith (when he was a rookie):

Alex Okafor: 6'5" 264 lbs

Justin Smith: 6'4" 267 lbs

On top of that, Okafor played DT his sophmore year. So he has experience playing inside. Indeed, he has very good hand technique (required to be effective inside). He has played strong side DE for most of his time at Texas, so he is used to lining up on the inside shade of a TE. He has the frame to add bulk, he just needs time to develop more strength and power.


How would he fit in our defense?


As a rookie, he would be a role player and could come in for Ahmad Brooks in our even fronts. Brooks usually plays the strong-side pass rusher in our nickle package. This is very much out of position for him. He is a pure LB. However, this is exactly the position that Okafor plays at Texas. On passing downs, our even front would look like this (with Dorsey rotating inside):


Okafor McDonald J. Smith A. Smith


As he adds bulk he would move over to J. Smith's spot in odd fronts. We play sort of a hybrid defense in that our 3-4 alignment often has single gap responsibilities by the down lineman. This would play to Okafor's strengths.

So what do you guys think? He could be available at 61.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TTs4tJbtvg
[ Edited by blm7754 on Apr 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM ]
Chike Okeafor
  • cools
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 1,329
Im a big fan, he's also used to coming off the left side,

I doubt he drops to 61 though, two guys from the Longhorns(Vaccaro) with our first two picks?, could happen

maybe three, Love the speedster WR Goodwin too
Originally posted by cools:
Im a big fan, he's also used to coming off the left side,

I doubt he drops to 61 though, two guys from the Longhorns(Vaccaro) with our first two picks?, could happen

maybe three, Love the speedster WR Goodwin too

Yeah, he's more of a mid 1st rounder. I'd like to see us trade back from 31 to the Jets (39) or Bills (41) and pick him there. We could then go FS or TE at 34.
Definitely an option as an understudy to Justin, but would likely have to be drafted with #31 or #34. I personally like Devin Taylor (at 6'7", played most of the season at around 275-280, and excels at interior rushing more so than off the edge), but either would be solid long-term replacements for JS.
Originally posted by GhostofFredDean74:
Definitely an option as an understudy to Justin, but would likely have to be drafted with #31 or #34. I personally like Devin Taylor (at 6'7", played most of the season at around 275-280, and excels at interior rushing more so than off the edge), but either would be solid long-term replacements for JS.

Interesting, I didn't know about Devin Taylor. I wonder with such a long frame, how stout he would be against the run.

I think Okafor would be worth the high draft pick because not only could he develop into a long-term replacement for JS, but he would immediately help our pass rush in our nickle package with the 4-man front.
Originally posted by DaDivaRecieva15:
Chike Okeafor

Still love that dude. Plus he played for Purdue, which I'm a huge fan of.
Is Okafor a good alternative to addressing the DE position if Datone Jones doesn't slip to 31?
he's actually my surprise pick in the 1st or 2nd
Originally posted by LieutKaffee:
Is Okafor a good alternative to addressing the DE position if Datone Jones doesn't slip to 31?

Datone Jones is one of the very few, NFL ready 3-4 DEs in the draft. That's why he is a popular pick on 49er mocks.


Okafor is a much better pass rusher than Jones and possesses much of the fundamental technique needed to play inside (5 technique). But he isn't quite big enough to hold up inside against the run. At 264 lbs, he needs another 15-20 lbs to be able to play every-down in our defense. At 6'5", he has the frame to do that.

So he'd be a developmental prospect for us and our defense, but could justify a high draft pick because of his immediate ability to help our nickle pass rush.
Justin doesn't need replacing. Rather than selecting his replacement this year, the smarter route would be to trade out that selection into a higher pick in 2014.
Originally posted by Paul_Hofer:
Justin doesn't need replacing. Rather than selecting his replacement this year, the smarter route would be to trade out that selection into a higher pick in 2014.

He's only got 1 more year on contract, and retirement is on his radar.

"I'm not going to retire after this year," Smith said. "I would like to come back and try to get here (theSuper Bowl) again. I realize my career is definitely winding down. I'm not saying I'm going to play another eight years or something like that. I want to play at a high level."
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000133210/article/justin-smith-says-triceps-50-percent-torn-he-wont-retire

We need to develop a replacement now. It will take at least a year or two before ANY rookie is capable of performing at Justin's level.
Originally posted by blm7754:
Originally posted by GhostofFredDean74:
Definitely an option as an understudy to Justin, but would likely have to be drafted with #31 or #34. I personally like Devin Taylor (at 6'7", played most of the season at around 275-280, and excels at interior rushing more so than off the edge), but either would be solid long-term replacements for JS.

Interesting, I didn't know about Devin Taylor. I wonder with such a long frame, how stout he would be against the run.

I think Okafor would be worth the high draft pick because not only could he develop into a long-term replacement for JS, but he would immediately help our pass rush in our nickle package with the 4-man front.

Taylor is actually pretty stout against the run, and was probably better in that area than he was rushing the passer. He's pretty quick too (one of the top performers among d-lineman at the combine in the 3-cone drill and short shuttle) which accounts for his strong inside rush ability....then you factor in his nearly 87" wingspan and with a little training/coaching he could be a monster at batting balls down.
Originally posted by blm7754:
Originally posted by Paul_Hofer:
Justin doesn't need replacing. Rather than selecting his replacement this year, the smarter route would be to trade out that selection into a higher pick in 2014.

He's only got 1 more year on contract, and retirement is on his radar.

"I'm not going to retire after this year," Smith said. "I would like to come back and try to get here (theSuper Bowl) again. I realize my career is definitely winding down. I'm not saying I'm going to play another eight years or something like that. I want to play at a high level."
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000133210/article/justin-smith-says-triceps-50-percent-torn-he-wont-retire

We need to develop a replacement now. It will take at least a year or two before ANY rookie is capable of performing at Justin's level.
I think you're suffering the Webzone Super Bowl Retinal Burn. It involves believing that having a replacement for Justin in 2013 will make up for his injury in 2012.
Originally posted by Paul_Hofer:
Originally posted by blm7754:
Originally posted by Paul_Hofer:
Justin doesn't need replacing. Rather than selecting his replacement this year, the smarter route would be to trade out that selection into a higher pick in 2014.

He's only got 1 more year on contract, and retirement is on his radar.

"I'm not going to retire after this year," Smith said. "I would like to come back and try to get here (theSuper Bowl) again. I realize my career is definitely winding down. I'm not saying I'm going to play another eight years or something like that. I want to play at a high level."
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000133210/article/justin-smith-says-triceps-50-percent-torn-he-wont-retire

We need to develop a replacement now. It will take at least a year or two before ANY rookie is capable of performing at Justin's level.
I think you're suffering the Webzone Super Bowl Retinal Burn. It involves believing that having a replacement for Justin in 2013 will make up for his injury in 2012.

Possible

But despite that, the facts are that he is a key player that isn't under contract after 2013. A smart GM would draft a replacement now.