David Onyemata, DT, University of Manitoba
Height: 6-4 Weight: 300 Round: 4 Pick: 120
WHO HE IS: Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Onyemata had never played football before he moved to Canada five years ago, although he had heard of the sport from classmates who spent time in the United States. Onyemata moved to Canada to go to college, and he started playing football there. Five years later, the massive lineman played in the East-West Shrine Game and impressed scouts, leading to him becoming the 12th player in the history of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport to be selected in the NFL draft.
WHAT HE CAN DO: Onyemata is raw, but he has the kind of natural athletic ability that’s hard to find. Onyemata posted 33 repetitions on the bench press — which would have been tops at the combine — ran a 5.06-second 40-yard dash and posted a 9-foot, 11-inch broad jump, all impressive numbers for a 300-pound man. A powerful player who played nose tackle and three-technique for Manitoba, Onyemata also played some defensive end in the East-West Shrine Game. A relative newbie to the game, Onyemata might take a year or two to develop, but the potential is there to develop into a big-time player.
COACH SPEAK: “This is huge national news in Canada. ... Locally, in our province, in our city, it’s gigantic.” — Brian Dobie, Manitoba head coach
GURU TALK: “As far as the level of competition, that’s obviously a concern. But he dominated that level of competition, played really well at the East-West Shrine Game that week in his first chance against stepped-up competition. The tools are there. He’s got the size, the speed. ... Give them credit, they used him in a lot of ways. He’s played both inside and outside.” — Todd McShay, ESPN
DID YOU KNOW? Onyemata’s performance at the Shrine Game convinced the University of Manitoba to hold its first-ever pro day. When Onyemata wasn’t invited to the combine and NFL rules prohibited him from attending a Big Ten pro day, Manitoba held one for him, and 17 scouts showed up to see Onyemata work out.