OK, so Rex Ryan wants his front seven players to juggle multiple assignments. One-trick ponies need not apply.
But the Bills also sacked a quarterback a franchise-low 21 times last season. Even Ryan knows he must add (multiple) Point A-to-Point B disruptors in the draft this season. At No. 19 overall, the Bills may have a shot at the likes of Noah Spence, Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd. But even beyond, into the mid-rounds, they should continue to stockpile.
The pass rush — miraculously — was arguably Buffalo's greatest weakness in 2015.
And one name that could be on the team's radar hails from a school that's never had a player drafted: Stony Brook's Victor Ochi. The 6-foot-1, 246-pounder dominated the Colonial Athletic Association with 33 tackles for loss his final two seasons, including 24 sacks. In 2015, he was named the CAA Co-Defensive Player of the Year --- his defense also allowed the fewest yards in the nation. He's explosive, violent and plays with a motor that knows no off switch so no wonder the Bills were at his pro day last month.
Ochi's competition wasn't great. Neither is his size.
But he wore down offensive linemen in college and is 100-percent confident he'll do the same in the NFL.
“I’m just relentless," Ochi said. "I’m in a lot better shape than a lot of guys. They can’t hold me for four quarters. And I use that to my advantage.”
Wild considering Ochi didn't even play football until his sophomore year of high school. His parents made him focus on education (even though Dad was a diehard New York Jets fan) because they told him that was the "guaranteed money." Not football. Thus, he was a late bloomer and Stony Brook was the only school to offer Ochi a full scholarship. From there, he torqued around the corner with abandon. Against 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-5 tackles, he rushes low to the ground, gains leverage.
Scouts say Ochi was the star of the East-West Shrine Game Week. He insists his effort, his violence never wavers for 60, 65, 70 plays because Ochi knows that, at some point, a lineman will crack.
“That’s my game," Ochi said. "It all comes from the way I train, honestly. I have a couple trainers — Malik Corbett and Durron Newman — they’ve really been training me since I played the game which is around my sophomore year to now. Their philosophy really pushes you to mentally and physically push your body. That’s where I get my confidence. That’s why I really feel nobody can handle me for four quarters.”
While he lacks height, maybe the most important measurement is Ochi's wingspan: 79 inches. Observers at Stony Brook's pro day said he wasn't necessarily fluid in coverage — that will be a major adjustment — but he did bench press 225 pounds 22 times and sent a message to one scout. At one point, Ochi hand-punched a blocking pad with so much blunt force that he knocked the Philadelphia Eagles scout holding the pad back several feet.
Afterward, Ochi smiled and said the scout had commented on his lack of size. So you can imagine what he's like in an actual game that matters.
There are moments into the fourth quarter when Ochi can sense a lineman breaking. The match-ups "get a lot easier" and he can "get a feel for what they're doing."
"They give up a lot of what they do pre-snap," Ochi said. "They get lazy with their stance. That comes off of watching film, too."
He's been trying to improve his drops. Certainly that'll be one of Ryan's concerns here. But Ochi is quick to say he's still working on his pass rush. Turning 1-on-1 match-ups into 12-round boxing bouts is his specialty. As Ochi deadpanned, "That's what is getting me to the NFL." Two names he brings up are Cameron Wake and James Harrison.
One was forced to play in the CFL; the other was undrafted out of Kent State and only 6 feet tall. Now, the duo has 146.5 combined sacks.
So many of the league's best pass rushers get overlooked.
“Different types of players with different types of tools," Ochi said. "All of a sudden, you become dominant. I’m never satisfied. I want to learn something from each and every one of them.”
Of course, Ochi appreciates every second of this process, this chance to get into a training camp. His parents make sure of that. When he was nine years old, Ochi was sent to Nigeria to live with his aunt, Priscilla Ogbaji, and he stayed there until he was 12. The experience sticks with Ochi to this day. It taught him to "earn everything" and any sense of entitlement he might've had vanished.
Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. He still has several family members in Nigeria.
"The opportunity to impact a lot of people around me," Ochi said, "that’s all motivating me."
It's now on teams to decide if Victor Ochi can decimate NFL offenses the way he did against the likes of Elon, Delaware, Towson and William & Mary.
A major, major "if."
Ochi isn't worried.
"Whenever the team needs me to make a play," he said, "I’ll step up."