In 2016, the Saints drafted a defensive tackle by the name of David Onyemata in the fourth round. He has since been a large factor in the Saints currently #1 rush defense.
He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and lived there until he went to college at Manitoba in Canada. He first experienced gridiron football while at college and quickly became a very talented lineman, winning the J. P. Metras trophy as a down lineman in 2015, and earning the title of “Top Prospect” in Canada at the 2016 draft.
Onyemata is 6-foot-4, 300 pounds and 26 years old. He hasn’t necessarily been a star as far as stats go, but has not in any way been a disappointment since his signing. Over his career he has played 44 games (16 in both 2016 and 2017 and 12 so far this season) and recorded 84 total tackles, 1 pass defensed and 1 forced fumble. This season (2018) has been his best by far, especially with his career best game played Thursday, November 29. In that game alone he had three sacks, 7 total tackles and a forced fumble, making him one of the standout defensive players of the game. The rest of this season he has only 21 tackles and zero sacks.
Do not let his less-than-flashy stats lead you to think that he doesn’t play well. Stats aren’t everything, especially on the line. Line players are often “sleepers”, meaning that they do their job and do it well, but don’t get the stats that get them a lot of attention from fans. Onyemata has been a sleeper since he got signed. He has been doing his job well but he doesn’t get the recognition that, say, Cam Jordan or Sheldon Rankins does simply because he doesn’t produce the same eye-grabbing stats that his peers do. But after seeing his performance against Dallas, could this be a turning point? We may start to see him really shine and bring the Saints rush defense to an unimaginable level of tough. He has definitely solidified my interest in him, and I can’t wait to see what he does the rest of this year and his career.
Follow Ethan on Twitter: @emonj98