Victor Ochi’s dream of making an NFL regular-season roster has been put on hold.
Ochi, a Valley Stream native and Stony Brook alum, was waived by Baltimore on Saturday as part of the team’s final roster cutdown from 75 players to 53, the Ravens announced.
Ochi was hoping to become the second Stony Brook player to make an NFL regular-season roster. Will Tye was the first, making his debut with the Giants last season. Like Ochi, Tye was a preseason roster cut.
“I gave my all on the field every time, and at least I can walk off and say I gave 100 percent,” Ochi told the Baltimore Sun after Thursday night’s game. “If I was to second-guess myself, I’d be miserable. At least I could say I gave 110 percent and I’m proud of myself. I feel I’m so much better as a player than I was. I’m starting to understand the game more. I can’t complain. I feel like my window is still open. I could get so much better.”
It’s the latest chapter in a winding road for Ochi, who has always had to fight to get noticed. Only one school — Stony Brook — offered him a scholarship, and despite becoming the Seawolves’ all-time leader in sacks (32 1⁄2) and tackles for loss (49), he went undrafted in April.
Ochi signed with the Ravens right after the draft ended. He turned heads during camp with his relentless motor, and although coaches were excited about Ochi’s potential and loved his work ethic, they acknowledged that he had a ways to go in terms of becoming a complete player.
Ochi faced an uphill battle to make the team from a numbers standpoint, too. On top of being undrafted, Ochi found himself on a Ravens team that already was very deep at outside linebacker with Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Za’Darius Smith and fifth-round rookie Matt Judon. As a result, he didn’t see much playing time in the preseason, often entering games for the first time in the mid-to-late portion of the fourth quarter.
“If success came that easy, then everybody would be successful,” he told Newsday during training camp in August. “I know what it takes, I know the work that I’ve got to put in. I know I’ve got to work a little bit more harder, and that’s always been my approach to everything.”
Ochi finished the preseason with five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. He came up big in the final two games, when he got both of his sacks — including a strip-sack of Saints backup quarterback Garrett Grayson on Thursday night in extended playing time.
Being cut doesn’t necessarily mean that Ochi’s dream is over. He still could be claimed on waivers by another team. That process began Saturday and ends at noon Sunday. If he’s not claimed, the Ravens could place him on their practice squad.
Niners cut LI’s Cajuste
Devon Cajuste, who was born in Syosset and grew up in Seaford and West Hempstead before graduating from Holy Cross High School, was cut by the San Francisco 49ers.
Cajuste was an undrafted free agent after catching 90 passes for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns in four seasons at Stanford.
He had one catch for 40 yards in the preseason.