In the 2018 NFL Draft, there are two clear top pass rushers who teams will target before the steep drop off in early talent after them: NC State’s Bradley Chubb and Boston College’s Harold Landry. From there, however, teams will look to put mid Day 2 picks into the likes of Josh Sweat of FSU, Sam Hubbard of Ohio State and Marcus Davenport of UTSA, but some teams will opt to find value picks on Day 3.

One name that stands out to me as a potential player to do so: Central Michigan defensive end Joe Ostman. Ostman has been uber-productive over the past few seasons, having racked up 220 tackles, 45.5 TFLs and 26 sacks in his career. While there are legitimate concerns about his game that will cause him to slip outside of the draft’s top 100 picks, I think a team can get a pass rusher who can make an early impact looking at Ostman on Day 3.

Positives

Cornering Ability
The main way Ostman won at CMU was through winning off the snap against offensive linemen and being able to turn the corner and adjust his body to burst around the edge and get sacks. Ostman does a good job of making the most of his short arms and legs by timing his punch with when the offensive tackle gets his hands up to counter him initially. He also does a good job of getting upfield with quickness, making it harder for his blockers to recover and limit him from getting to the quarterback.

For having shorter arms, Ostman does a very good job of making sure that he has a well-built frame and packs a lot of pop in his initial punch, driving opponents back often off the snap. Ostman does not necessarily win with twitch off of the snap — I actually thought he was a tad below average in that regard — or with bend, which I thought was limited with his length and athleticism, but with a high motor and ability to adjust the upper half of his body.

Motor
One of the things that will have NFL teams interested in Ostman on Day 3 is his nonstop motor and how he plays at a mile a minute. Even if Ostman loses a rep initially and has to counter or change his plan of attack for the rep, he is always moving and keeping the offensive tackle busy. For that I think he will be able to carve out a role in the league (even as a special teamer) in some capacity.

Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline reported that Ostman ran a 4.75 at his Pro Day (he was not invited to the Combine) and he uses every hundredth of a second of that speed to make it hard for offensive linemen to deal with him and count him out of a rep.

Pass Rush Countering
One way Ostman makes up for his limited length and poor anchor against the run is with his variety of pass rush moves and counters. I saw Ostman show off a swim, club, inside, and power move on tape. He knows his weaknesses and seems to put a lot of time into his technique and ability to plan how to wear down an offensive lineman throughout a game by making him use his footwork and recover on every snap.

I think Ostman can be a draft pick despite some of the concerns with his game. He is ahead of the learning curve many defensive linemen face when entering the league in having to develop their pass rush moves so that they can play on a consistent basis.

Hand Usage
Ostman also has an ability to drive back linemen with his heavy hand usage and initial punch, as well as an ability to shed and discard blockers. He does a good job of getting his hands up first on his blockers and making sure that he places his hands on the lineman so that he can get past him and overpower him. I mentioned this previously, but Ostman also does a good job of using his hands while he turns the corner and keeping one hand on the tackle and another out to wrap around the quarterback.

Negatives

Length
Ostman measured in with 31″ arms at his Pro Day and he has an awkward build with short, stocky legs and a broad upper body. While this is not an end all, be all, it does limit his ability in run defense and getting off blocks on tape, and could put him into more of a reserve role at the next level. NDT Scouting’s Kyle Crabbs compared him to former Patriots defensive lineman Rob Ninkovich. The ways New England used Ninkovich, despite his physical limitations, are a lot of the same ways I would like to see a team use Ostman.

Anchor
Ostman struggles to stay upright against double teams and has issues with digging his feet in and holding up in the run game. With his shorter arms he can have issues with getting off of blocks in the run game. As a run defender, Ostman seems like he is a hit-and-miss player. He often does a good job of diagnosing the play and bursting into the backfield to stop plays for no gain, but on other plays can be driven off the play and away from the ball.

I think that where Ostman will end up making his money in the league is on third downs, where he can attack from a wider alignment and be in more 1-v-1 situations with rushers.

About The Author Riley Auman

Riley is a geographically challenged Astros, Suns and Bucs fan. He's a high school student and soccer player who's been following the draft closely since 2012.