Eagles news

Eagles sign former third-round edge rusher with NFL experience

The Eagles have signed veteran OLB Julian Okwara, who was a third-round pick back in 2020.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Eagles on Wednesday signed veteran edge rusher Julian Okwara.

Okwara, 26, was selected in the third round by the Lions out of Notre Dame in the 2020 NFL Draft and has experience over the past four seasons.

In 38 career games (four starts), Okwara has 9 sacks, 16 QB hits, 12 TFLs and 54 tackles. His best season came in 2021, when he had 5 sacks and an interception.

Last season, Okwara played in nine games and started one for the Lions. But they waived him in January to activate James Houston from IR. The Lions then signed Okwara to their practice squad once he cleared waivers. Okwara was not signed to a futures deal after the season, so he was a free agent and available in February.

Julian Okwara is the younger brother of Lions edge rusher Romeo Okwara, who has 25 sacks in his eight-year NFL career.

During the 2020 Draft, Julian Okwara garnered a ton of buzz. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein gave Okwara a second-round grade:

“The lanky edge rusher followed up an impressive 2018 with a slightly disappointing senior season that saw a drop in production and ended prematurely due to a broken leg. One look at his NFL brother (Romeo Okwara, Lions) should tell teams to project Julian as a bigger, stronger player with time. He has build-up speed up around the edge and carries an impressive closing burst to seal the deal, but he's in desperate need of a rush counter to keep tackles guessing. He hasn't shown a consistent ability to play the run, so his NFL success could generate a thumbs up or down based primarily on his ability to cause havoc as a rusher.”

In the NFL, Okwara hasn’t been able to take a huge step in his career but he has been a contributor on defense and occasionally on special teams.

The Eagles have some decisions to make at the edge rusher position this offseason. Haason Reddick has been granted permission to seek a trade even though he’s stated he wants to remain in Philly. Reddick wants a new contract and we’ll see if the Eagles give him one.

Aside from Reddick, Josh Sweat is also entering a contract year so it’s decision time with him. And veteran Brandon Graham is a pending free agent with a desire to return for a 15th and final NFL season. The Eagles will also need more out of first-round pick Nolan Smith in his second NFL season in 2024.

Subscribe to Eagle Eye anywhere you get your podcasts: 
Apple Podcasts | YouTube Music | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | RSSWatch on YouTube

Contact Us