Seeking another feisty pass rusher to complement star defensive end Frank Clark, could the Seattle Seahawks turn to intriguing small-school prospect Oshane Ximines in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft?
A relative unknown heading into the 2018 season, Ximines has quickly shot up draft boards with an impressive senior campaign for Old Dominion, finishing his collegiate career with 11.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. For the third straight season, he received All-Conference USA distinction and also was named to the All-Conference USA Academic team.
Few players in this draft class have been better at harassing opposing quarterbacks, as Ximines concluded his career with 33.0 sacks, second-most among active FBS players. Equipped with adequate size (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) for his position, he’s capable of beating blocks with power as well as finesse. Thanks to four years of extensive snaps with the Monarchs, he’s developed a polished array of counter moves, including his signature arm-over move.
Showing he could thrive against the best teams in the nation, Ximines played at his best in big games, recording seven tackles and two sacks in an upset win over 13th ranked Virginia Tech. His first sack came after he slipped past the opposing tackle with a quick arm-over move and nailed Josh Jackson in the backfield.
Later in the same quarter, the Monarchs dialed up a stunt with Ximines shooting inside and the defensive tackle twisting behind him. After Jackson decided to tuck and run, he ran right into the star defender's arms for his second sack.
Aside from being a nightmare for quarterbacks, Ximines improved against the run during his final season with the Monarchs, improving his total tackle numbers from 44 to 58 in 2018. For the third straight season, he also forced three or more fumbles, showing a penchant for creating turnovers that should serve him well in the NFL.
It will be interesting to see how Ximines tests at the NFL Scouting Combine and/or his Pro Day. While he shows outstanding athleticism off the edge in spurts and made several nice tackles in pursuit last year, his jump off the snap has been inconsistent and sometimes he seems to lack burst out of his stance. Though he’s built well to play defensive end in the right scheme, he’s likely a bit too light to reduce inside as a pass rusher like he did at Old Dominion.
Ximines also has a tendency to lack discipline against the run, especially when serving as the conflict defender against read-option plays, and left a fair amount of tackles on the field last year. While he held up more effectively at the point of attack than previous seasons, he can still be overpowered in the trenches when defending against the run.
Where He Fits in Seattle
While auditioning at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ximines told ESPN reporter Nick Wagoner that he will be working the LEO defensive end spot for the South squad this week. Following the retirement of Cliff Avril, the Seahawks still need to find his long-term replacement at the LEO spot and the former Old Dominion star would fit the bill if the front office opts to use a first-round pick on him.
Though he’s still developing as an all-around defender and free agent options may seem more enticing, Ximines will enter April’s draft as one of the most accomplished pass rushers in this class and could create a dynamic one-two punch chasing down quarterbacks opposite of Clark.