Roman Tomashoff | September 18th, 2019
The University of Washington has had a number of great defensive linemen over the last few seasons make it to the NFL. Danny Shelton, Elijah Qualls, Vita Vea, and Greg Gaines have all been drafted out of Washington over the last five seasons. All those guys seem to fit the mold of huge, very athletic players who can plug up holes and at times get after the passer from the inside. The Huskies also have two more of those coming in Tuli Letuligasenoa and Sam Taimani, but we’ll save that for another time.
Levi Onwuzurike is a very different player from the typical mold Husky defensive lineman. Measuring in at 6’3, 293 pounds, Levi doesn’t look like Vea or Shelton if you stood him next to those guys. But what he makes up for in typical run-stuffing size, he makes up for with insanely quick feet, and a set of pass-rush moves that’s becoming more and more refined as he gets more time on the field.
Watch his bullrush here, he’s able to collapse the pocket, and while he isn’t able to finish off the play with a sack, Chase Garbers stepped up and outside linebacker Myles Rice was able to finish the play for a minimal gain. Onwuzurike consistently draws double teams, which opens up lanes for his teammates, and when he doesn’t draw a second blocker, he’s usually able to wreak havoc.
Levi should test very well at the NFL Combine (outside of the 40-yard dash, according to some who have been at spring/summer practices) which should cause a team who wants some extra pass rush help on the inside to be forced to consider taking him with at least a mid-second-round pick. And with a productive season, we could see him move into the end of the first round because while I’ve gushed over his pass rush moves, he’s a very effective run stopper as well, so he isn’t just a situational piece.
Now, you’re not going to agree with this, and that’s fine, you’re not supposed to. The current NFL player that Onwuzurike most reminds me of is Aaron Donald. Why? Because first of all, they’re very similarly built, Onwuzurike is a few inches taller and 10 pounds heavier, but he’s not your typical 300+ pounder. Second, Levi fits best in a 3-4 scheme, because he can be used both at defensive tackle, or as a heavier defensive end who still has the athleticism and pass rush arsenal to win against tackles too while assisting in the run game from either spot.
If he keeps playing like this every week and continues to impress Onwuzurike can make a name for himself in draft analyst’s notebooks for sure.Questions and comments?
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images