With Free Agency wrapping up, the focus for the Indianapolis Colts turns to the draft where GM Chris Ballard looks to hit another homerun with the 2019 class. Last draft season, Ballard drafted Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard who both ended up earning First Team All-Pro honors as rookies. On top of that, he also drafted a handful of contributors in Braden Smith, Tyquan Lewis, Kemoko Turay, Nyheim Hines, and Matthew Adams.
This new film room series will attempt to highlight certain prospects that may interest the Colts and go through their film to find their strengths and weaknesses. Today’s prospect is Texas defensive lineman Charles Omenihu. Omenihu is a player who has gradually risen throughout the process after a very good Senior Bowl and an impressive combine. The Colts had meetings with the pass rusher at both of those events.
We will look through the film and see what Omenihu could potentially bring to the Colts if they end up drafting him. Clips in this piece will be from five games that I watched, three of which were on coach’s film. The full list of games watched were USC (2017 and 2018), Oklahoma State (2018), Georgia (2018), and Oklahoma (2018).
6’5” 280 pounds with 36 inch arms
40 Time: 4.92 / 10-yard split: 1.71 / Vertical Jump: 36.5 inches / Broad Jump: 115 inches / 3-Cone: 7.48 seconds
115 total tackles, 30 tackles for a loss, 16.5 sacks, 1 pass deflection, and 4 forced fumbles
Knowing how to use your hands properly is huge for pass rushers. The top pass rushers in football, regardless if they are a speed rusher or power rusher, need go-to moves and set-ups in order to beat athletic offensive tackles. Omenihu always has a plan of attack and knows how to attack tackles. He understands how to knock offensive lineman off balance and how to adjust when his initial move is stopped.
The first clip here shows off his impressive under move. He starts by clubbing the tackle’s hands (something that he said he does quite often when I spoke with him last week) and then shooting up field. As the tackle attempts to readjust, he turns the corner while hooking his arm around the outside of the tackle’s waist to gain the outside. He is ultimately able to disengage from the block and the result is a sack and forced fumble on the play.
In this next clip, Omenihu again shows off his length and hand usage. He starts by using his long arm to extend the tackle away from his frame and get up field. This keeps the tackle’s arms outside of his chest plate and sets up the under move again. He swipes under the tackle’s arms which allows him to disengage and move towards the quarterback. The result is a sack on the play.
Last clip here again showcases his developed hands. In this clip, the tackle is Paul Adams, who is an NFL prospect himself. Omenihu swipes Adams’ hands away at the point of attack, and is able to separate immediately. Omenihu is really developed in this area and it is obvious the amount of film work he puts in before every game. He has his go-to moves, but he does a great job of switching it up every game depending on which players he is facing.
Burst and get-off are two of the most important areas to be dominant in for defensive ends. With great acceleration off of the line, Omenihu is able to burst through the line of scrimmage with ease and shoot up field. What makes it even more impressive is that he has the burst to go along with his 6’5” 280 pound frame.
When lined up inside, his burst is evident. He shoots the gap between the guard and tackle and gets penetration before the tackle can even react. By the time the right tackle is able to even engage him, he is already two steps into the backfield and pursuing the quarterback. The result of the play is an incomplete pass and a pressure for Omenihu.
Another clip where Omenihu is too quick off of the line for his blocker. He slants down to the gap between the guard and tackle and gets immediate penetration. Even for a player of his size, he is able to quickly race downhill and beat the running back and offensive lineman to the spot. Although he isn’t able to make this tackle, his ability to be disruptive early in the play is evident.
The previously-mentioned combination of strength and burst are on perfect display here. The right tackle attempts to reach block Omenihu on the interior and is too slow for his acceleration. The right tackle is too late getting to the spot and Omenihu makes him pay by knocking him to the ground. The combination of burst, length, and strength— which we will highlight in a second— makes him a nightmare for offensive lineman.
For a player who is not the bendiest, using his length and strength is vital for success on the edge. He possesses a strong punch that he uses to knock tackles off balance. He is able to get inside on tackles with that punch due to his exceptional arm length. Possessing an insane 85.5 inch wingspan and 36 inch arms, he has the rare ability to reach tackles before they can make contact with him.
This first clip shows off that stab move that he uses. Facing a left tackle who is a bit smaller, Omenihu knows that he has to use his strength to win this matchup. He initiates contact off of the line with a strong punch that knocks the tackle off balance. This initial punch gives him just enough space to shoot inside and get the pressure on the quarterback.
This next clip shows off his length in run defense. Here he is matched up with right tackle Chuma Edoga, one of the star players of the Senior Bowl. Omenihu punches initially which stands up Edoga and allows him to gain the outside edge. Once he gains the outside, Omenihu is able to stack the right tackle and effortlessly shed him using those long arms to make the stop in the run game.
Putting those two things together, length and strength, gets you an impressive play like this one. He makes contact with both of his arms on the tackle by extending them before the right tackle can react. After making contact, he uses his strength to drive the tackle off balance and discard him in the backfield. The result of the play is another sack for Omenihu.
The two biggest negatives in his game are his inconsistent pad level and lack of bend on the outside. Omenihu’s high pad level allows for blockers to get inside on him and drive him to the ground. His lack of bend severely limits his potential as a defensive end, as he gets run out of the play far too often. The pad level issue is something that can be worked on at the next level but the bend issue will likely stay with him throughout his entire career.
In this first clip, Omenihu fires off the line a bit too high and the guard is able to get a good punch on his chest plate. The result is him getting knocked over on the play and leaving a gap up the middle wide open. He needs to fire off low and get his hands up quicker to not have this problem in the pros.
Again, he comes off the line too high and passive here. The tackle notices this and swats his hands away and takes him to the ground. These reps simply cannot happen in the NFL especially for a player projected to go as high as he is.
The lack of bend issue is certainly real. His hands are great on this rush and he gets up field in a hurry. Once he gets around the tackle though, the quarterback is able to step up and get away from the rush. Now, he does do a great job of forcing the quarterback to step up, but if he could bend, these plays would be sacks. He can certainly survive in the NFL without being super bendy but it does limit his upside a bit.
Again, the bend is an issue. His hands and get-off allow him to get an effective rush and make the quarterback step up in the pocket, but he’s unable to turn the corner and get the sack. As a result, Sam Darnold steps up in the pocket and finds a receiver in the back of the end zone. Omenihu’s lack of bend likely limits his upside a bit in the NFL but he can dominate in other areas to make up for his deficiency here.
Charles Omenihu has been one of my favorite players for the Colts this draft process and they seem to like him a good bit as well. He profiles well for what Ballard likes as well (as I mentioned in my Build-A-Ballard piece for defensive ends). His length, get-off, and hand usage will cause nightmares for offensive lineman who attempt to block him in the NFL.
He may not be a perfect prospect but he does fit an immediate need for the Colts. His size profiles well as a 4-3 run defender for the team who can also kick inside on passing downs to rush from the interior. A pass rushing group of Tyquan Lewis, Charles Omenihu, Denico Autry, and Kemoko Turay on third downs would be frightening for opposing teams, as each player is very difficult to block one-on-one.
Overall, I think Omenihu would be an excellent addition for the Colts at either pick 26 or pick 34.
Author: Zach Hicks