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Cardinals Get Edge Rusher BJ Ojulari In Second Round

After trade down, team adds high-character QB chaser

Edge rusher BJ Ojulari wearing No. 18 for LSU last season.
Edge rusher BJ Ojulari wearing No. 18 for LSU last season.

The Cardinals needed an edge rusher, and GM Monti Ossenfort is always looking for high-quality people to draft aside from football.

LSU's BJ Ojulari was the former, and the latter? It was tangibly represented by Ojulari's jersey No. 18 for the Tigers.

Since 2003, when QB Matt Mauck won the national title with LSU while wearing the number, it has been passed down year to year very specifically to players who, as the school said in a press release, "epitomizes what it means to be an LSU football player." In 2022, Ojulari got that honor, switching from No. 8.

"Getting 18 meant a lot to me," Ojulari said. "My legacy, coming to LSU as a Georgia boy, my legacy in the state of Louisiana and wearing that No. 18 is a testament to me and my character."

The character part was important for GM Monti Ossenfort, who himself noted Ojulari's acquisition of the No. 18 jersey.

"Talented football player, and an even better person," Ossenfort said.

Of course, the most important part of Ojulari will be what he can do on the field. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder had 5.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss last season at LSU and was a first-team All-SEC player both from the coaches' vote and from the Associated Press. Pro Football Focus listed him as second in the conference in pressures with 49.

His draft run-up was slowed by a hamstring issue, but he said he had a "great meeting" at the Scouting combine with the Cardinals.

"I think do a great job with my ability and athleticism to get the edge, bend the edge, create plays in the backfield and disrupt the quarterback," Ojulari said,.

It isn't a coincidence that Ojulari's Twitter background is a picture of Giants' Hall of Fame pass rusher Lawrence Taylor, although Ojulari may ultimately be used like coach Jonathan Gannon used former Cardinal Haason Reddick when Gannon was in Philadelphia.

Ojulari's older brother Azeez is a linebacker with the New York Giants, having been drafted in the second round in 2021. The Giants visit State Farm Stadium this season.

The Cardinals started the night with No. 33, the second pick in the second round. But they dealt it to Tennessee -- Ossenfort's former team -- so the Titans could take QB Will Levis. They also sent their No. 81 pick in the third round to the Titans.

In return, the Cardinals moved down to No. 41 in the second round, moved up to No. 72 getting back a third-round pick from the Titans, as well as getting a third-round pick in 2024 from the Titans.

Ossenfort, in less than 24 hours, added four extra picks in 2024 -- a Texans' first-round pick, a Texans' third-round pick, a Titans' third-round pick and an Eagles' fifth-round pick -- to the Cardinals' own picks.