In a thin defensive tackle class, there are only about 2-3 guys who are worth valuable draft capital. Levi Onwuzurike is one of those guys. He plans an aggressive, downhill, penetrating style of football and has great pass rush upside from the interior line position. Levi is a bit of an undersized guy at the position but so is Aaron Donald so that’s not an excuse and actually plays to his advantage. He opted out in 2020 and this seems to be a case where that opt out helped his stock.
Position: 3T Defensive Tackle
Weight: 290 lbs
2018 Stats: 12 games played/16 SOLO/34 TOTAL/6.5 TFL/3 Sacks
2019 Stats: 11 games played/20 SOLO/45 TOTAL/6 TFL/2 Sacks
1.Onwuzurike plays with incredible leverage. In both the passing and rushing game, Levi commands double team blocks because if left on an island, he will undoubtedly beat his block. He’s an undersized defensive tackle and that works to his advantage here. Because he is so good at getting proper leverage, he is hard to get a hold of when tackles are knocked off balance.
2.In the undersized frame of Onwuzurike, he packs the punch of a giant. His leg drive pushes his powerful frame through tackles stances and regularly forces them backwards. His strength also helps with his leverage rushes as he’s able to hit the right spots on a tackle to for him off balance.
3.Levi’s athleticism is way above average for an interior defensive lineman. His bend is great and he is able to dip most offensive lineman and his small size actually gets more valuable as he moves to the NFL because the size of lineman he faces gets bigger. Huge upside in all faces of the game because of his athleticism.
1.Levi’s lack of production on the box score is a little concerning. He has all the upside in the world but has shown that he lacks the ability to finish sacks and TFL’s. He is one of those guys that sets up his teammates beautifully but you’d certainly like to see him finish more plays.
2.He’s got a thin pass rush arsenal and should expand his skillset at the next level. He is a great penetrator in the trenches but has mostly won off of pure strength and athleticism. That won’t always work for him in the NFL. He’ll need to work on polishing moves like his rip, pull, and swim to at least give himself a little variety in his pass rush approach.
His athleticism is intriguing and that coupled with his play strength will make any defensive coordinator drool. He can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme and will thrive in both. His upside of getting after the pass plus his polish in run defense will get him picked early and with proper coaching he can be a beast in the league.
Round Projection: Second Round
Pro Comparison: Sheldon Richardson