RD6 #3/#182: G Michael Onwenu, Michigan

RoDaddy

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jun 19, 2002
2,496
Albany area, NY
Quick Summary (SB Nation)

Best: Size, Length, Power, Awareness

Worst: Athleticism

Projection: A starting right guard in a scheme that doesn’t demand much movement.

One comment is that he's so athletically limited that he struggles when asked to run more than a couple of yards.

If he sticks, a likely backup so hope he can play some center to provide some Ted-Karras-like flexibility
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
36,373
Quick Summary (SB Nation)

Best: Size, Length, Power, Awareness

Worst: Athleticism

Projection: A starting right guard in a scheme that doesn’t demand much movement.

One comment is that he's so athletically limited that he struggles when asked to run more than a couple of yards.

If he sticks, a likely backup so hope he can play some center to provide some Ted-Karras-like flexibility
Maybe he can join some jumbo formations by the goal line
 

Saints Rest

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Quick Summary (SB Nation)

Best: Size, Length, Power, Awareness

Worst: Athleticism

Projection: A starting right guard in a scheme that doesn’t demand much movement.

One comment is that he's so athletically limited that he struggles when asked to run more than a couple of yards.

If he sticks, a likely backup so hope he can play some center to provide some Ted-Karras-like flexibility
Seems odd, considering how much emphasis the Pats seem to put on all their O-Linemen being able to get out in space, be it on screens or sweeps. I know that Bedard is not the be-all and end-all of analysts, but he kept harping on the huge downgrade from Andrews to Karras in terms of getting to the second level.
 

ramfan

lurker
Jul 19, 2005
39
Seems odd, considering how much emphasis the Pats seem to put on all their O-Linemen being able to get out in space, be it on screens or sweeps. I know that Bedard is not the be-all and end-all of analysts, but he kept harping on the huge downgrade from Andrews to Karras in terms of getting to the second level.
I just read he played DL as a freshman at Michigan
 

Zososoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 30, 2009
6,236
South of North
He’s a massive guy but I think those reviews are a bit unfair. He moves well for his size even if that’s clearly an area for improvement. His pass blocking also improved a ton this season. He’s a project for sure but any guy moving onto the pros has the potential to reshape their body and improve conditioning with no school anymore either.
 

Joe D Reid

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
3,468
Alameda, CA
The mgoblog guys (amateur scouts, but focused and committed ones) started off skeptical as well, but landed on “this guy will put you on roller skates and then murder you”. They never expressed concerns about the second level, more about pass pro (especially last year).
 

mwonow

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 4, 2005
5,743
Pats haven't been able to pick up 3rd/4th and 1 in what seems like forever. Having one guy who will definitely move the pile backwards would be huge in those situations
 

SMU_Sox

loves his fluffykins
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
6,682
Dallas
There were quite a few guards I liked this year. Onwenu was my day 3 binkie. Like @Joe D Reid source points out Onwenu was one of the 5-6 guards in this class who are nasty and powerful. Onwenu is always busy looking for work.

I cant recall a guy who had a better anchor than Onwenu. In the handful of games I watched I’m not sure a single bull rush moved him. That’s going to translate to the NFL. For a big guy who is relatively new at the position he has more technical savvy than guys who have played OL for years (not that he doesn’t have his work to clean up on but who doesn’t?). But there’s a reason he went in the 6th round. He’s not athletic and might have trouble with speed. Sometimes as a puller a LB can avoid his block and he has trouble readjusting while moving. Faster pass rushers gave him trouble especially when he couldn’t land his punch.

I don’t know if he even makes the roster but if they want to go for power up front or at least groom a power guy who can serve as a backup and possible starter that’s him.
 

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
18,122
One thing to note is he already lost about 25 pounds (he played at 368, hit the combine at 344) so I would guess his off-season work has been focused on improving some of his 2nd level issues in college
 

SMU_Sox

loves his fluffykins
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
6,682
Dallas
Onwenu got reps at TE and at RT. As a run blocker looked fantastic. Using him early as a 6th OL makes a ton of sense given his ability to road grade. Impressive start for a 6th rounder with our OL starters already in place.
 

SeoulSoxFan

I Want to Hit the World with Rocket Punch
Dope
Jun 27, 2006
20,651
A Scud Away from Hell
I couldn't believe that they were sticking Onwenu at RT. He must have made huge strides the last couple of weeks in camp.

He didn't look particularly unathletic at all out there. Is this just a matter of getting coached up?
 

SMU_Sox

loves his fluffykins
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
6,682
Dallas
I couldn't believe that they were sticking Onwenu at RT. He must have made huge strides the last couple of weeks in camp.

He didn't look particularly unathletic at all out there. Is this just a matter of getting coached up?
I think him dropping weight made a huge difference. He was playing at like 375 at Michigan. No that's not a typo. He has dropped to somewhere in the 340s. He has a bit of dancing bear to him.
 

SeoulSoxFan

I Want to Hit the World with Rocket Punch
Dope
Jun 27, 2006
20,651
A Scud Away from Hell
I think him dropping weight made a huge difference. He was playing at like 375 at Michigan. No that's not a typo. He has dropped to somewhere in the 340s. He has a bit of dancing bear to him.
If Onwenu can keep this up at RT, this OL will be in great shape with Wynn at LT and perhaps the best interior 3 in the game with Andrews, Thuney, and Mason.

BB keeping 10 OL provides great depth too.
 

Over Guapo Grande

panty merchant
SoSH Member
Nov 29, 2005
2,016
Worcester
If Onwenu can keep this up at RT, this OL will be in great shape with Wynn at LT and perhaps the best interior 3 in the game with Andrews, Thuney, and Mason.

BB keeping 10 OL provides great depth too.
Not only does it provide great depth on the OL, it also allows them to stretch the game day roster as long as 8+ of them are active.
 

Shelterdog

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 19, 2002
12,268
New York City
Shocking that a highly recruited player can play well at a big program like Michigan and be a multi year starter, slide to the sixth, and then start playing in the NFL exactly like you’d think a highly rated recruit who started for year at Michigan would play
 

SeoulSoxFan

I Want to Hit the World with Rocket Punch
Dope
Jun 27, 2006
20,651
A Scud Away from Hell

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
10,246
He had the one missed block on the final play in Seattle, but otherwise he's been absolutely top-shelf. For a rookie, and a 6th round pick? Incredible.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
36,373
SMU got me interested in this guy and he's been a blast to watch. If this performance is sustainable, the Pats' OL is in great shape going forward:

LT: Wynn (24)
LG: Thuney (27)
C: Andrews (28)
RG: Mason (27)
RT: Eluemenor (25)

Depth:

OG: Onwenu (22), Froholdt (24)
OT: Herron (24), Cajuste (24), Cunningham (25)

Opted Out:

OT: Cannon (32)

You have to think that Thuney is almost surely gone this offseason, which will provide a nice 2022 comp pick. Cannon/Eluemenor battle it out for RT next summer and Onwenu takes over Thuney's spot. Then, you hope that Froholdt continues to develop, Cajuste actually gets healthy for once, and Herron continues to develop into swing tackle.
 

RedOctober3829

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
47,071
deep inside Guido territory
SMU got me interested in this guy and he's been a blast to watch. If this performance is sustainable, the Pats' OL is in great shape going forward:

LT: Wynn (24)
LG: Thuney (27)
C: Andrews (28)
RG: Mason (27)
RT: Eluemenor (25)

Depth:

OG: Onwenu (22), Froholdt (24)
OT: Herron (24), Cajuste (24), Cunningham (25)

Opted Out:

OT: Cannon (32)

You have to think that Thuney is almost surely gone this offseason, which will provide a nice 2022 comp pick. Cannon/Eluemenor battle it out for RT next summer and Onwenu takes over Thuney's spot. Then, you hope that Froholdt continues to develop, Cajuste actually gets healthy for once, and Herron continues to develop into swing tackle.
I would also entertain the thought of re-signing Thuney to a long-term deal and trading Shaq Mason. Going forward, I'd like to see an interior of Thuney-Andrews-Onwenu. That would be the best interior OL in the league if Onwenu keeps up this type of play.
 

SMU_Sox

loves his fluffykins
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
6,682
Dallas
It's cool when things work out for players you like and equally disappointing when players you thought had something don't work out. Onwenu for me so far is more than I ever thought he would be and I really liked him. He's an interesting case study.

I wish I had more conviction with his grade. I did OL close to last because I was still reading different books on OL technique. What is the proper foot, arm, hand, leg, hip, back, etc. positions for a cutoff block, a reach block, a drive block, combo blocks, etc. Having never played football learning the intricacies of each position requires a lot of study. When I was watching Onwenu I was confused why he was considered a later day 3 guy. I was watching his technique and ability his last year and thinking "OK Limberakis, what the fuck am I missing here because *checks books* he's doing almost everything right... this must be because I am not a seasoned evaluator. There has to be something I am missing. Is it just because he's huge/too-big? But even for a big guy he's playing nimbly in zone and gets to the second level - his size only showed up when he missed a few LBs during gap pulls. OK, so his lack of quickness does show up from time to time and there are not any guys who really play at his weight, so let's be conservative, note his power, success, and technique and give him a lower but still draftable grade." In the end I didn't let my OL grades go above or below guard-rails I made for myself based on 6-7 talent evaluators who are prominent and respected in the draft community. That's why I gave him a 5.99 which is roughly a 6th round grade even though I liked him a lot more than his grade would indicate. These past 4-5 months I've read somewhere around 8 more football books including two just on OL. I would recommend: Complete Offensive Line by OL Coach Rick Trickett. Rick Trickett and Dante are friends. Rick is highly respected in New England. The other one is a book that has video clips you can then access online for examples: Building The Block by 2 time pro-bowler Le'Charles Bentley who now runs an OL academy.

In retrospect knowing what I do now about techniques and responsibilities I would have give him somewhere in the range of 6.5 to 6.99 with the caveat that he needed to play at a lower weight*. That's a roughly 4th round to 5th round grade if you want to try and translate it (so I would have bumped him up a round or two). His performance and technique were very solid and his power was outstanding. But even with that in mind... I wouldn't have guessed he could play RT - I figured he was either going to be an addition to their goal line or jumbo packages and/or a guard. I still want to see him challenged by a faster pass rusher.

*It was impossible to know that a trimmed down Onwenu was going to move like a guy who weighs 30 pounds lighter than he is now. I mean look how fluid he is vs his Michigan tape - he can get to the second level on outside zone plays even quicker, make cutoff blocks to LBs easier, it's really phenomenal stuff vs him whiffing sometimes on LBs when he pulled back in 2019. He has much better body control when he is in space now even though it was adequate with Michigan (keep in mind though that was against college players). This reminds me of what Bentley says in his book about body composition (one of the five pillars of offensive linemen). Basically you want to focus on your ability to execute and that additional size can impact your mobility without increasing your strength so instead of trying to be a certain weight play at the weight where you are most effective at your job. If that is 290 pounds vs 300 then play at 290. If you played at 375 like Onwenu did but you would be even more effective because of mobility gains at 340-350 then by all means play at 340-350. If the NFL knew that Onwenu would be this kind of athlete at 340 and he could stay and keep in shape at that weight obviously he would not have gone in the 6th round. But there was really no way to know that.

One last note. Lance Zierlein had a theory he talked with Dane Bruglar that for guys in the back of the draft one of the things to do is to take a gamble on someone with an elite trait. Now I am not saying Lance is right or wrong on this philosophy (because there are other types of players you take gambles on like people who profile as elite STers) but for Onwenu he certainly had an elite trait: power.
 

Dick Pole Upside

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2003
4,456
39.932N, -85.848W
I wish I had marked down the play, but last night there was a run where he completely annihilated a Chiefs LB. It’s one thing to put a LB on his back, but quite another to emasculate a guy on a play by de-cleating him. He’s powerful and VIOLENT. Flashes of a healthy Mankins. Off to a really good start.
 

bunchabums

lurker
Jul 16, 2005
290
Los Angeles
I've never seen
I wish I had marked down the play, but last night there was a run where he completely annihilated a Chiefs LB. It’s one thing to put a LB on his back, but quite another to emasculate a guy on a play by de-cleating him. He’s powerful and VIOLENT. Flashes of a healthy Mankins. Off to a really good start.
I saw that. Someone has to have the clip. I couldn't find it. Was violent... in a good way.
 

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
22,227
it's a shame his worst play had so much win expectancy riding on it, but better now than January, yeah?
 

SMU_Sox

loves his fluffykins
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
6,682
Dallas


Brandon Thorn: OL expert on Onwenu. Some of the highlights have been posted already on different threads but he captured them all in one video.

Short thread: I went back and studied all of Michael Onwenu's 195 snaps so far and came away very impressed, especially considering he's a 6th round rookie.

Listed at 6-3/350, Onwenu's best traits are very good play strength, square power, and heavy handiness. He doesn't have quick feet but he does have good feet and they are what allow him to showcase his power and strength as often as he has so far. Shows good body control too.

I went ahead and made a quick tape of my favorite trait of Onwenu; heavy handiness. You can see how often he makes the heads of defenders snap back on contact + how they visibly bounce off of him. It's one of the more fun things to uncover watching OL film.

All of this said, he's OG3 on the team + NE has had a cake schedule relative to the DLs they've faced. We'll know a lot more about Owenu & the whole OL in about 5 weeks. For right now I see him as a good starter & having 3 quality starters at G is a luxury most teams don't have.

Re quick feet vs good feet: I would add to what Brandon said about his footwork is that his body works as a coordinated unit. You don't see wasted movement. You don't see his top half getting away from his bottom half and having a case of the lunges or being off balance. The timing of his feet and hand placement is excellent. He is good at getting to the right angle of the defender in time to deliver a powerful punch.
 

Saints Rest

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member


Brandon Thorn: OL expert on Onwenu. Some of the highlights have been posted already on different threads but he captured them all in one video.

Short thread: I went back and studied all of Michael Onwenu's 195 snaps so far and came away very impressed, especially considering he's a 6th round rookie.

Listed at 6-3/350, Onwenu's best traits are very good play strength, square power, and heavy handiness. He doesn't have quick feet but he does have good feet and they are what allow him to showcase his power and strength as often as he has so far. Shows good body control too.

I went ahead and made a quick tape of my favorite trait of Onwenu; heavy handiness. You can see how often he makes the heads of defenders snap back on contact + how they visibly bounce off of him. It's one of the more fun things to uncover watching OL film.

All of this said, he's OG3 on the team + NE has had a cake schedule relative to the DLs they've faced. We'll know a lot more about Owenu & the whole OL in about 5 weeks. For right now I see him as a good starter & having 3 quality starters at G is a luxury most teams don't have.

Re quick feet vs good feet: I would add to what Brandon said about his footwork is that his body works as a coordinated unit. You don't see wasted movement. You don't see his top half getting away from his bottom half and having a case of the lunges or being off balance. The timing of his feet and hand placement is excellent. He is good at getting to the right angle of the defender in time to deliver a powerful punch.
Watching those clips, it’s amazing to me how well he finishes blocks. There was the (successful) goal line play in Seattle where he drove his man into the back of the end zone. There were a couple plays against KC, one against #49 I think who didn’t stand a chance.
 

SeoulSoxFan

I Want to Hit the World with Rocket Punch
Dope
Jun 27, 2006
20,651
A Scud Away from Hell
Watching those clips, it’s amazing to me how well he finishes blocks. There was the (successful) goal line play in Seattle where he drove his man into the back of the end zone. There were a couple plays against KC, one against #49 I think who didn’t stand a chance.
I can't speak on any of the technical stuff but it seems he finishes each block really, really well. Like, he gets an extra dollop of whip cream with each pancake.