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New England Patriots’ Draft Pick Michael Onwenu Breakdown

The New England Patriots drafted Michael Onwenu in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL draft. Michael Onwenu played at the University of Michigan from and had 13 starts at right guard. Onwenu got named third-team all-conference player in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The Michigan Wolverines picked up Onwenu from the Detroit Cass Tech High School as a top-10 offensive line prospect nationally. Onwenu played on both the offensive and defensive lines in nine games in his freshman year before he had nine starts on the offensive line during his next season. The New England Patriots picked Onwenu because of his “size, strength, good balance,” and “strong hands”.

Strengths

  • Great bulk from his chest to toes
  • Matches the NFL size with NFL strength
  • Upper-body strength allows his to knock people to the ground
  • Able to hold his ground and stalemate against power
  • Good recovery balance for the size he is
  • Has heavy hands with the ability to redirect edge rushes
  • Good overall physicality and behavior
  • Wastes the time of power rushers who want to run through him

Weaknesses

  • Can be a little slow getting out of his stance
  • Has athletic limitations that must be accounted for with scheme
  • Lacks the desired level of range as a run blocker
  • Does not always play as wide as he is built when he is attempting to make blocks
  • Needs better post-strike footwork to finish blocks
  • High hands prevent his optimal leverage at the point of attack
  • Gets over-extended when his patience fails him
  • Will have trouble against quality rush counters and twisting fronts

Onwenu’s overview from his 2020 NFL Combine is that he is a powerful and wide lineman with natural play strength. Onwenu possesses the size and strength to be successful in the NFL. Onwenu’s below-average athletic ability somewhat offsets him though. If Onwenu can get better hand placement and better footwork, then he can take a step forward as a drive blocker with the ability to move defenders around.


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