This Division-III pass rusher being mentored by Vince Wilfork is on the Seahawks radar
Who is Joshua Onujiogo?
The Seattle Seahawks have top-50 draft picks that the franchise has lacked during most of Russell Wilson’s tenure as the starting quarterback. Now that the Seahawks are finally set with picks nine, 40, and 41 to begin the post-Wilson era starting with this Thursday’s first round, a new draft pick problem has emerged for Pete Carroll and John Schneider…
The team is lacking picks in rounds six and seven.
This may not be nearly as big of an issue as when the Seahawks don’t have picks in the first round or the top-20, but Pete and John have never been comfortable with having a long wait between round five and the undrafted free agent signing period. It’s because of this lack of picks (Seattle has one choice between 154 and the end of the draft at 262) that I’ve been pounding the table to expect the Seahawks to trade down.
Pete and John are not going to choose only one player over the last 120 picks of the 2022 NFL Draft.
When the Seahawks do find additional draft resources for late on day three, could they be targeting a 6’3 pass rusher out of Framingham State University? There’s little doubt at this point that Seattle will at least push to sign Joshua Onujiogu when pick 262 is submitted and teams begin signing the undrafted free agents.
Joshua Onujiogu measured at 6’3, 252 lbs at Holy Cross’s pro day… because even Holy Cross has a pro day apparently… and that’s also where he met with the Seahawks, Patriots, and Texans. Fittingly, two of those three teams once employed Vince Wilfork, the legendary nose tackle who is also close friends with Onujiogu’s father. Onujiogu told the Boston Herald that Wilfork has been a constant resource of guidance and encouragement throughout his career at Framingham State, where Onujiogu has won the MASCAC Defensive Player of the Year award in each of his last two seasons.
(The MASCAC canceled played in 2020 because of COVID.)
“I’m lucky my father is such good friends with him, and I’m able to give him a call if I have a question,” Onujiogu told the Boston Herald. “He told me what I had to do in order to get seen, and what (NFL teams) want to see.”
What teams saw at the Holy Cross pro day confirms the two Defensive Player of the Year awards and the 13.5 sacks posted by Onujiogu last season: 4.88 40-yard dash, 1.68 10-yard split, 121” broad jump, 6.93 three-cone, 4.14 short shuttle, 2.78 20-yard shuttle.
Those results don’t necessarily make Onujiogu a “freak” by Bruce Feldman’s standards, but they match up with your typical mid-round pick for an edge player coming out of a Power 5 school; his 10-yard split is faster than Arnold Ebiketie, his 40 is in line with popular late round target Jesse Luketa, also out of Penn State.
The two things holding Onujiogu back the most: He played at Framingham State and he’s 24.
But Dane Brugler sees NFL potential out of Onujiogu and here’s what he wrote about him in his The Beast draft guide:
SUMMARY: Joshua Onujiogu (oh-new-jah-WAY-go), who is one of six children, grew up playing football and was a multi-sport athlete at Wareham High (school record 15.49 in 110-meter hurdles). Playing at a small school (only 22 players on his varsity team), he went underrecruited, and Division III Framingham State was his only offer. He started as a true freshman and posted impressive backfield production each season, finishing his career with 67.0 tackles for loss in 47 games.
Onujiogu is undersized with questionable edge-setting strength, but he stays low and flexible in his pass rush with the burst to skim the corner. He stays active with his hands, either taking away his stab at the top of his rush or converting speed to power and barreling through blocks with his forward lean. Overall, Onujiogu has tweener traits and is inexperienced vs. high-level blocking, but he rushes with quick feet, hands and hips and displays the motor and upside worth bringing to an NFL camp.
We can expect Onujiogu to be in the NFL this summer, just like many other undrafted hopefuls. There are at least 500 prospective rookies who can say the same. What will keep him on an NFL team in September? Certainly it will take more than being friends with Vince Wilfork. But Onujiogu has already proven that he’s more than a Division-III prospect with a good connection to a borderline Hall of Famer.
He has the attention of many twitter scouts already…
And now also the attention of the Seattle Seahawks, a team that can’t lose focus on what they do at the end/after the draft just because they’re now major players at the beginning of a draft for once.
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