Ojemudia selected by Denver Broncos in third round

Cornerback Michael Ojemudia is the third Hawkeye off the board.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa defensive back Michael Ojemudia runs back an interception during a football game between Iowa and Rutgers at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 30-0.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

The third Hawkeye is off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Cornerback Michael Ojemudia was selected by the Denver Broncos in the third round with the 77th overall pick on Friday.

He will join former Hawkeyes Noah Fant and Josey Jewell on Denver’s roster.

After losing Chris Harris in free agency, the Broncos made cornerback a priority in the draft. Ojemudia will link up with former Pro-Bowler A.J. Bouye in Denver when the season comes around.

Ojemudia burst onto the scene as a junior at Iowa, recording three interceptions and six pass break-ups in nine games. During his senior season in 2019, Ojemudia picked off three more passes and defended nine passes.

Ojemudia is the 12th defensive back to be taken in the NFL Draft in the Kirk Ferentz era. The Hawkeyes have had four defensive backs taken in the past five years: Desmond King (Los Angeles Chargers), Josh Jackson (Green Bay Packers), Amani Hooker (Tennessee Titans), and Ojemudia. Safety Geno Stone will likely make it five during Day 3 of the draft on Saturday.

Ojemudia will bring size and length to the Broncos. He also aims to bring toughness.

His play-style, which focuses on bringing grit to the field, fit in well at Iowa, where defensive coordinator Phil Parker brings the best out of his defensive backs. Now, he’ll look to take that to the next level.

“That’s how I was raised,” Ojemudia said. “I went through high school with that mentality, and I just wanted to continue that through college. At the next level, that’s not going to change. I’m going to try to bring the same gritty intensity to any team that drafts me.”

Ojemudia is the third Hawkeye to be selected in this year’s draft. Offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round at No. 13 overall. The Buffalo Bills picked defensive end A.J. Epenesa in the second round with the 54th overall pick.

That leaves two Hawkeyes on the board: Stone and quarterback Nate Stanley.