UCLA's Owamagbe Odighizuwa continues to climb NFL draft charts

UCLA's Owamagbe Odighizuwa continues to climb NFL draft charts
UCLA defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa participates in a drill during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22. (Joe Robbins / Getty Images)

UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa was relatively unknown to NFL scouts when the 2014 season ended.

Things have changed considerably a little more than two months later.

"There have been a lot more teams contacting me or calling the UCLA coaches," Odighizuwa said.

Odighizuwa has been through a growth process, which started with his play in the Senior Bowl. At the NFL combine, he opened more eyes. He has been projected as a late first-round pick.

"Teams have gotten a chance to see him work in space," UCLA Coach Jim Mora said.

What Odighizuwa needed to show scouts was better pass rushing abilities. He had six sacks last season. He was able to work out as a linebacker Tuesday.

"Playing end in a 3-4 [defense], you're not going to get sack numbers," Odighizuwa said. "But I'm confident I can be an outside pass rusher, like [former UCLA linebacker] Anthony Barr."

Odighizuwa's strength has been impressive during workouts.

"People are seeing the type of player he is and are really appreciating him," Mora said.

That, Odighizuwa said, has been an ongoing process.

"They see they can throw me into drill and I can execute how they want it done," Odighizuwa said. "I've shown how smooth I am. I've showing quickness and explosiveness. I was able to show that at the combine, and it created a good buzz."

How good?

"Interest from teams picked up tremendously after the combine," Odighizuwa said.

Follow Chris Foster on Twitter @cfosterlatimes