by Zachary Somma
Photo courtesy of The Herald Journal.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Charlotte, Edge Rusher, Eyabi Okie-Anoma
Name- Eyabi Okie-Anoma
Pos- Edge Rusher
HT/WT- 6’5” 244 lbs.
Home- Baltimore, Maryland
Eyabi Okie-Anoma may have the most interesting career path out of anybody in college football. A 5-star recruit coming out of the Baltimore area, Okie-Anoma began his CFB journey at the very top with Alabama, where he saw limited action. However, he was dismissed from the program for unknown reasons, forcing him to transfer elsewhere.
Okie-Anoma chose Houston as his next home, and sat out the 2019 season due to transfer rules. Problems arose again though, and he was dismissed from the Cougars’ program before taking a snap for them.
Without any FBS offers, Okie-Anoma returned to the field in 2021 with UT-Martin at the FCS level, where he had a solid, if unspectacular season. His performance was enough to get another top FBS program interested in seeing what he had to offer, and Okie-Anoma transferred to his 4th school in 5 years, joining Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines. While his role was limited throughout the year, he showed some of the promise that made him a top recruit out of HS, recording 24 pressures and 3 sacks in just over 200 pass rush snaps.
After confirming that he would be returning for his 6th season of CFB, the opportunity for Okie-Anoma to play a much more involved role for the highly touted Wolverines seemed to be on the horizon. However, he instead opted to follow Biff Poggi, an associate HC with Michigan who had recently been hired as the new HC of Charlotte, bringing him to 5 transfers in 6 seasons.
At 6‘5", 244 lbs., Okie-Anoma has the size and wingspan that are rare to see combined together. Athletically, he still has great long speed and can show off an impressive burst off the line of scrimmage. He has a powerful frame and good play strength that he uses both as a rusher and in run defense. He can be very physical and violent at the point of contact, and his length makes it very hard to escape his grasp when he’s in good position.
Despite the physical potential, that constant disruption off the field has clearly been detrimental to his development. It’s clear that Okie-Anoma has little to no pass rush plan on most plays, and usually relies solely on his athleticism to win as a rusher. His effort level is inconsistent from play to play.
While he has the potential to fall back in coverage, the instincts to do so are just not there. It also has to be noted that he has yet to show dominance while playing at the lower levels of CFB. While some of that can be blamed on the transfers and outside issues, it’s still not a good look for somebody with that much potential. At 24 years old at the conclusion of this season, how much development can truly happen at this point?
Overall, the developmental disruptions have left Okie-Anoma as a project at this point in his career. There are occasional flashes of the potential that he entered CFB with, but those moments are much too inconsistent to be very noteworthy. Still, the size and athletic profile are so desirable in an NFL edge rusher, that it would not be surprising if a team took a late round flier on Okie-Anoma, or at the very least brought him in for camp. There’s still a pathway for at least a marginal role as a standup edge rusher if he can demonstrate some late-stage development.
- Strong physical tools
- Physical play
- Character concerns
- Lack of a pass rush arsenal
Overall, Eyabi Okie-Anoma’s long and winding path through CFB makes him nearly impossible to project at the next level. Very little in his play truly stands out, but the combination of size, strength and speed make him a potentially interesting reclamation project if a team is willing to stick by him.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - Round 7/Priority FA