It’s about to get real for the New Orleans Saints and the other 31 franchises across the NFL, as training camp is set to begin in less than 10 days. Rookie David Onyemata is one of the many players looking to make his mark in 2016.
The lack of news and anticipation will all come to a slight standstill when the Saints report to The Greenbrier on Wednesday, July 27 and start practicing on Thursday. What better way to keep building up to the start of training camp than to countdown to the top players you should watch over the course of the next month?
I gave you my No. 10 player recently, which was quarterback Garrett Grayson. Keep in mind that my criteria is based on competition, growth, impact, and overall expectations, and not necessarily the popularity. Today, we look at rookie defensive lineman David Onyemata.
The Saints traded into the 4th Round of the NFL Draft to take the University of Manitoba product, which left fans scratching their head. It’s no secret that the team has looked to the neighbors to the north for players, and generally it has worked out to their favor. However, the Saints had their eyes on Onyemata long before he was drafted, as defensive line coach Bill Johnson was actually at Onyemata’s Pro Day administering drills.
“I think it is remarkable in what he has done in far of learning the game of football in four year period and I think he’s got a glimmer of hope to continue this process and just see where it takes him,” said Johnson.
Onyemata has learned the fundamentals and leverages his power (which he has a lot of) and anticipation to win. He’s a project, and that’s what you should remember here. He’ll have a lot of guys around him for support, and can only learn and grow under proper tutelage. When you put all the measurements up for Onyemata, he’s like a Brodrick Bunkley with way more upside.
However, he looks to be a defensive end for Dennis Allen’s squad. That isn’t a bad thing, especially when you look at what Onyemata was able to do at the East-West Shrine Game from January.
Onyemata will have his work cut out for him having to battle for playing time behind incumbents Kasim Edebali and Obum Gwacham along with last year’s fifth-round, 148th overall pick Davis Tull. The versatility Onyemata possesses could help him in the long run, and once we get to preseason action he’ll be one of the players to keep a close watch on.