In the span of one hour, both Notre Dame edge rushers are off the board in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Adetokunbo Ogundeji becomes the latest selection, going to the Atlanta Falcons at the 182nd overall pick. Ogundeji was the beneficiary of a productive senior season matched with a quality pro day and strong performance at the Senior Bowl. He’s an athletic, disciplined rusher who can pin his ears back and get after the quarterback.
Ogundeji is a bit of a raw talent considering 2020 was his first season as a starter at Notre Dame, but he flourished in his role and will join a young defense that needs help at every level. Ogundeji could find himself in a position to earn valuable playing time if he performs well in training camp. Ogundeji coming off the board marks the second consecutive year in which both Notre Dame edge rushers have found NFL homes via the Draft.
Ogundeji’s raw athleticism, willingness to take on new roles, and ability to make plays will make this a strong late-round pick for the Atlanta Falcons. In my opinion, Ogundeji’s best football is still ahead of him, so it’s now up to the Atlanta Falcons to tap into that potential. Due to his versatility, similar to Daelin Hayes, it’s not out of the question for him to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. However, he was a great edge rusher at Notre Dame and now he has his chance to do the same at the next level.