Saints Player Rankings: David Onyemata barely sneaks in at #25
Sneaking into the Top 25 Saints of 2020 is defensive tackle David Onyemata. Onyemata played in and started 15 regular-season games in 2019 and is slated to start alongside Sheldon Rankins on the interior defensive line in 2020.
Entering his fifth season in New Orleans at the age of twenty-seven after having been drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Saints, the Lagos, Nigeria native made his way to New Orleans via the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.
2018 was Onyemata’s best season with the Saints, garnering attention in the 2019 off-season as the most underrated defensive lineman in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. PFF had a final grade of 81.2 for the emerging star, up 10 points from 2017, and 24 points from his debut season with the Saints.
However, 2019 would start with a one-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy and he was never able to make an impact of the prior season.
Starting in place of recently retired Nick Fairley, Onyemata would go on to record three sacks, three tackles-for-loss, and twenty-two solo tackles earning a PFF final grade of 55.5, the lowest of his career.
Although 2019 did not live up to the expectations set from a stand-out 2018 season, it was enough to land a three-year, $27 million contract extension in March of 2020.
Onyemata’s most impressive stat from last season was eleven quarterback pressures. In many cases, only a half-step could have turned a QB pressure into a sack. Onyemata will be looking forward to potentially a career-making 2020 campaign.
Whispers of mutual interest between Jadevon Clowney and the Saints, along with top-talent Cam Jordan and Sheldon Rankins already in place, have many considering the Saints defensive line as one of the deepest and most talented in 2020.
If Onyemata is able to produce a season reminiscent of 2018, it just might be enough to land him in his first Pro Bowl, or better yet, Super Bowl.
Average rank among 12 writers: 22.3
Number of times missing the top 25: 3