After experiencing an unimaginable childhood of being trafficked at the age of 10. To getting to the NFL by joining a program to help ensure a professional playing career in the league. And after many ups and downs, earning a sack was well worth the journey for Carolina Panthers defensive end Efe Obada.
Week Three of the NFL was a monumental moment for Obada as he filled the stat sheet in his debut against the Cincinnati Bengals with a sack and an interception. Obada nearly got to the quarterback again when he strip sack Andy Dalton in the second quarter. However, replay highlighted that Dalton’s arm was moving forward.
Obada defeated countless odds and the fruits of his labor is at hand. And in the words of the 6-6, 255-pound Nigerian who was awarded as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week Three, that occasion was just the beginning.
“This is just the beginning,” said Obada after the Panthers’ contest against the Bengals, according to the Riot Report. “I’m filled with adrenaline right now and I’m happy, but you know this is just the beginning. I have to be consistent, I have to keep going; winning this game isn’t the goal for us – winning this game isn’t the goal for me.
“So just keep going.”
The NFL International Player Pathway program was instituted last year for selected foreign-born players to earn a shot in establishing a NFL career after being on a club’s practice squad for a season. Succeeding one year, the participates have to earn their keep to make a roster.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie offensive tackle Jordan Mailata was one of the five selected talents to be a part of the program this season, but his raw skill set created an opportunity this year. The Eagles drafted him in the seventh-round in this year’s NFL Draft and made their opening day roster.
Nevertheless, Obada is the first player from the IPP program to earn a spot on the active roster after spending a season on a team’s practice squad. Obada is clearly a surprise talent and his teammates bear witness to it.
“I like everything about him; he’s built very well with a lot of power and a lot of speed; I think the most important thing is he works on his craft every single day,” Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers. “That’s just what happens when you’re a good person and you work hard and you get your work in.”
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney mirrors Peppers’ impression.
“Ron’s (Rivera, Panthers head coach) been pounding him since training camp; Ron has seen something in Efe since Day One and his work ethic is incredible; he’s got length and pass rush skillset,” stated Hurney. “Ron has been talking about him for a long time and for a guy to come in at this stage and make the plays he did with really the little amount of football he has – think of the upside he’s got.”
The Panthers will host the New York Giants in Week Five. The Giants’ offensive line is struggling to protect quarterback Eli Manning as he was sacked 15 times this year – the fourth highest in the league.
As the Panthers continue to develop chemistry at the defensive front, Obada is a special piece that can made the team dangerous later in the season.
Will Obada get his hands on Manning in Week Five? The opportunity will be there, and like everything else, Obada will take it.
“Opportunity knocked on his (Obada) door, and he opened it smiling,” echoed Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
Can Quinton Dunbar Hold Off Drew Brees History Making Moment For One More Week?
Quinton Dunbar/Google Images
Washington Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar is have an excellent season as he is leading his team in solo tackles with 15 (fourth in total stops with 16). Dunbar has been solid in coverage also. According to Pro Football Focus, Dunbar is graded higher than teammate Pro Bowler Josh Norman through three weeks.
Dunbar’s ranking has him tied for seventh among all cornerbacks in the NFL with a 78.4 grade, which exceeds Norman (63.1) and teammate Fabian Moreau (64.1). Dunbar has one interception along with three pass breakups.
New Orleans Saints future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees needs 201 passing yards to surpass Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre (71,838) and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning (71,940) for most in NFL history.
Can Quinton help hold off the party for Brees for one more week this Monday night?
He is capable in doing so.
-Minnesota Vikings Adam Thielen had eight receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown in Week Four against the Los Angeles Rams. Thielen joined Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss (2007) and Isaac bruce (2004) as the only players with 100-plus receiving yards in each of their respective team’s first four contests since 1970.
The Pro Bowl receiver aims for three in a row on road with 100-plus yards and a score.