For what seems like the tenth year in a row, the New York Giants need to address their offensive line in the upcoming draft. And while finding starting linemen at the tackle and center positions should be a focus for the Giants over the coming months, they should also be looking at the future of their line as well. That could mean finding a successor to Kevin Zeitler at right guard.
We have already covered a couple Michigan offensive linemen, and we’re back to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take a look at right guard Michael Onwenu. Onwenu is an absolutely massive player with an intriguing frame and rare power who, in some ways, reminds of D.J. Fluker.
Could he be a guard of the future for the Giants?
Prospect: Michael Onwenu, RG, Michigan
Games Watched: vs. Ohio State ‘18, vs. Florida ‘19, vs. Iowa ‘19, vs. Penn State ‘19
Red Flags: None
Games Played: 39 (34 starts)
Height: 6023 (6-feet, 2 3/8 inches)
Weight: 362 pounds
Arm Length, Wingspan: 34 1⁄2 inches, 82 1/2”
Hand Size: 10 7/8”
Best: Size, Length, Power, Awareness
Projection: A starting right guard in a scheme that doesn’t demand much movement.
(Onwenu is RG no. 50)
Michael Onwenu is a wide-bodied, stoutly-built guard prospect from the University of Michigan. Onwenu has a naturally low center of gravity at 6-feet, 2 inches, but has rare thickness throughout his frame and rare arm length for his body type. Onwenu reacts to the snap well and shows good fluidity and short-area quickness for such a massive guard. He sits into his stance well in pass protection, showing a wide base, good ankle, kneee, and hip flexion to capitalize on his naturally low center of gravity. Onwenu has rare strength and power and even apparently light strikes with his punch can send defenders reeling. He moves well enough to mirror most interior rushers and is almost impossible to move in one-on-one situations. Onwenu is easily capable of generating movement at the point of attack and has experience in multiple blocking schemes in Michigan’s “pro style” offense. He also shows very good awareness after the snap to pick up stunts, twists, and blitzes, as well as help teammates with double teams if he is left without anyone to block.
Overall athleticism is a major liability for Onwenu and he struggles when asked (or forced) to run more than a couple yards. He struggles to get (or stay) in front of the play when asked to pull or release into space on screen passes. Onwenu’s lack of athleticism can show up in longer reps and he can struggle to keep up with more athletic rushers who can string together counter moves. He can also be prone to losing his balance if forced to navigate the trash along the line of scrimmage.
Overall Grade: 5.9 - A prospect with some above-average traits but also athletic and scheme limitations which need to be accounted for. A value on the third day. [Grading Scale]
Michael Onwenu projects as a reserve guard at the NFL level with starting potential in very specific circumstances. But while he has experience in a variety of blocking schemes, he does not have scheme versatility. Onwenu might be able to seize a starting job, but only if his future coach can scheme to take advantage of his rare size and power, while scheming away from his athletic limitations. Onwenu should only be asked to pull, play in space, or on the run as infrequently as possible. He will play faster than he will time thanks to good awareness and processing speed allowing him to get into position in a timely manner. In the right circumstances, Onwenu’s low center of gravity, lower-body fluidity, arm length, and rare power could make him an intriguing “anvil” to a more mobile blocker’s “hammer”.
As with all bigger players, teams will have to pay close attention to Onwenu’s weight, body composition, and conditioning.