Skip to main content

NFL Draft Weekend

Presented by

A CLOSER LOOK: Defensive end Julian Okwara

Player: DE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame.

Pick: Round 3, 67 overall.

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 252.

Combine results: No Combine or Pro Day workout.

Stats: 45 games, 21 starts. 23 career tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks.

Bio: Younger brother of Detroit Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara. Four-year player at South Bend, became a full-time starter in 2018 and had his best season: 12.5 tackles for loss with 8 sacks in 13 games, with 12 starts.

On the way to another good season but sustained a season-ending broken leg in Game 9. At the time he had six tackles for loss and four sacks.

Born in London. Family moved to Nigeria, and again to Charlotte in 2008 when he was six years old. He played defensive end in high school and chose to play at Notre Dame after being highly recruited.

Defensive end offseason roster:

Returning: Trey Flowers, Austin Bryant, Romeo Okwara, Jonathan Wynn, Da’Shawn Hand, Frank Herron.

View photos of defensive end Julian Okwara.

Analyst's take: Booger McFarland, ESPN live draft coverage: "Explosive off the edge. He makes offensive tackles scared. He also has some versatility. This kid is a tremendous athlete."

Tim Twentyman's take: It's a family reunion in Detroit for the Okwara family. The younger brother joins current Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara to give the Lions some pass-rushing help on the edge. The younger Okwara lead the Irish with 12.5 tackles for loss and tied for the team lead with eight sacks among his 38 total tackles in 2018. A broken leg cut his 2019 season short, but he's a long, lanky and athletic pass rusher. 33 percent of his tackles were for loss. He's got a lot of upside and should be a rotational player on the edge for the Lions right away as a rookie.

Mike O'Hara's take: It shouldn't hurt to be with his brother, Romeo, in his first NFL training camp although playing at Notre Dame is the closest thing to a pro atmosphere because of the attention the school gets. Julian was getting mentioned as a potential first-round pick before he got hurt. It's an interesting pick for the Lions, and could be a good one because of Julian's ability and background.

Related Content