Going un-drafted is not the end of a football player’s career. Un-drafted players have even sometimes gone on to become NFL stars. Kurt Warner, Antonio Gates, Cameron Wake, and Wes Welker are just a few that fit that bill. We don’t know if any of the Ravens UFA’s will end up being stars like the above quartet, but a lot of them have good potential. Even so, they face an uphill battle to make the roster. So of the Ravens UFA’s, who has the best shot at making the 53 man squad?
Victor Ochi is a outside linebacker out of Stony Brook University. The school located on Long Island plays FCS football, also known as Division 1A. While the strength of the teams he played against wasn’t always the best, Ochi dominated the players matched up on him.
Ochi had 13 sacks a Senior, and a total of 16.5 tackles for loss. His 13 sacks moved him to first in the school’s history for sacks in a career with 32.5. He helped lead the Stony Brook defense to be ranked number one in fewest yards allowed in the nation. Ochi was named a Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the CAA Conference.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com writes that Ochi, "Plays standing up or with a hand down. Sets a nasty edge with a thunderous punch that jars lower end competition. Constricts running lanes and looks to dive down the line of scrimmage to make tackles. Active, heavy tackler."
Zierlein predicted that Ochi would be a fifth round pick. Mel Kiper Jr. had Ochi going as high as the third round. Ochi was able to prove that his dominance on the FCS level was real, as he turned in a stellar performance at the East-West Shrine Game. His draft stock soared form there.
Ochi, however, is a bit small for the position, and comes in the same class as two other OLB, in the form of Kamalei Correa, and Matt Judon. But challenges are nothing new for Ochi.
Ochi was born in the Bronx, New York to Nigerian immigrant parents, who, as Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun writes, "initially didn’t want Victor to play".
At 15 years old, Ochi’s parents gave in, and Ochi began to play football. His family moved from the Bronx, to Long Island, where he played his high school football. Ochi played at Valley Stream Central High School. He made 11 sacks as a Senior on his way to New York All-State honors.
Ochi had wanted to play college football at Rutgers, but the offer never arrived. Instead, Stony Brook, just over 40 miles away from Ochi's high school, was the lone school to offer Ochi a scholorship. Ochi was determined to make the schools that passed on him wish they hadn’t.
That was his motivation throughout his college career, and he’ll be sure to keep the same mentality now that he is in the NFL. Yet again teams passed on him, but the Ravens gave him a chance. Zrebiec writes, "The Ravens, who did not have a seventh-round pick, fully expected Ochi to get drafted. When he didn’t, Ravens coach John Harbaugh instructed defensive coaching assistant Drew Wilkins to do whatever it took to land Ochi."
The Ravens grabbed Ochi quickly after the draft, and were more than excited to have him in purple. In Baltimore, Ochi will have the perfect mentor, as the Ravens have one of the best undersized OLB in the NFL, Elvis Dumervil.
The Ravens may have gotten a steal in Ochi. But just because he was supposed to get drafted, doesn’t mean he is a shoe in to make the roster. The Ravens have pass rushers to boot this year, and Ochi will need to prove that he can contribute in order to make the roster. But Ochi is more than ready for the challenge, it’s all he’s ever known.
Ochi said, "Proving people wrong has been my whole life. I’m embracing this moment. I’ll be on this team for sure."