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UPDATED: Commanders sign DE Efe Obada from Buffalo

Another player who used to be in Carolina and Buffalo

Atlanta Falcons v Buffalo Bills Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images



The Commanthers have signed another former Carolina player; this one comes via Buffalo, where he played in 2021.

I wrote about Efe Obada in 2020 in an article about the International Player Pathway Program that gave us David Bada. Here’s what I wrote about Obada at that time.

Of course, Ron Rivera has experience with the IPP program from his time in Carolina, where he hosted another defensive end — that one from England — Efe Obada.

Tennessee Titans v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Obada’s story is one of relative success. He was initially added as the 11th player on the practice squad, making him ineligible for the regular roster in 2017, but he signed a futures contract at the end of the ‘17 season, and became the first player from the IPP program to make an NFL 53-man active roster and play in a regular season game. That happened in 2018, and last year, Obada signed a one-year contract with the Panthers, and then got a one-year extension from the team in January, meaning that he’ll be back for a 4th season in the Panther’s training camp whenever the COVID-19 restrictions are eased enough to allow that to happen.

With the Panthers, Obada made regular progress, seeing his snap counts rise from 30% of the defensive snaps in 10 games in 2018 to 39% of the defensive snaps in 16 games in 2020, though he never earned more than $750,000 in a season with Carolina.

Obada’s successful integration into the NFL continued when he signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2021 on a 1-year, $1.485m contract.

In Buffalo, Obada’s snap counts dropped a bit to 35% of the defensive snaps in 10 games. Obada had 5.5 sacks with Carolina in 2020 and 3.5 over 10 games with Buffalo last season.

During his 52 NFL games, Obada has averaged about 33% of the defensive snaps, and he has 9 sacks and 23 QB hits in 26 games over the past two seasons.

In an end-of-season all-22 film review of Obada’s play on the Buffalo Rumblings site, the article ended with this summary:

Obada is succeeding based on pure physical ability, which is borderline miraculous in the NFL. His lack of experience shows, and unless he can significantly close the talent gap with his peers, he might be hard pressed to break free of the “rotational player” label. There are some signs he’s been working a ton on his technique.

By no means would I be disappointed if the Buffalo Bills decided to be the team to see if they can get him to his ceiling. Personally I’m rooting for the man. He’s fun to watch and already effective with his limited opportunities. If he can have a breakthrough, I think he would be a nightmare for opposing offenses.

The Commanders need depth at the DE position, and Obada will be able to compete for a roster spot against a number of young players. The clear starters are Montez Sweat and Chase Young (assuming he’s healthy and ready to go). The first guy off the bench is likely to be James Smith-Williams, though, with the departures of Tim Settle and Matt Ioannidis, JSW is likely to see a lot more time lining up at interior DL positions.

Updated depth chart

The other backups are Casey Toohill, William Bradley-King, Shaka Toney, and Bunmi Rotimi. Obada, who has 1,145 NFL defensive career snaps, will likely be able to compete effectively for a roster spot.

There has been no word yet on Obada’s contract terms, but he is likely to be a budget signing (which, among other things, means that he probably won’t be counted in the compensatory pick formula).

The Englishman is not young; he is 30 years old, but he has experience with two NFL teams and is familiar with the Commanders coaching staff from his 4 seasons in Carolina (2017-2020).

Along with David Bada and Sammis Reyes, Obada is one of three international players on the Washington roster now. It should be fun to watch him battle for a spot on the 2022 Commanders defense.


What grade do you give to the Obada signing?

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  • 9%
    (105 votes)
  • 32%
    (368 votes)
  • 37%
    (424 votes)
  • 7%
    (86 votes)
  • 1%
    (18 votes)
  • 11%
    I don’t care enough about this guy to waste a grade on him
    (130 votes)
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