On Saturday afternoon, Charles Omenihu became the first former Texas Longhorn to hear his name called during the 2019 NFL Draft, as the Houston Texans selected the versatile edge rusher in the fifth round with the 161st overall pick.
In being selected towards the tail end of the fifth round, Omenihu became the 10th defensive end prospect drafted.
The significant and surprising drop in the draft came in the aftermath of a career season from Omenihu, as the lengthy 6’5, 280-pound talent tallied 45 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks — the latter two totals finished as the second-best efforts in the Big 12. Omenihu was rewarded within the conference accordingly, earning a place among the All-Big 12 First-Team, and more notably, honors as the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Though his productivity at the Power 5 level was that of an already-polished prospect, Omenihu is still largely regarded as raw in regards to his overall skill set and true fit at the NFL level. That said, Omenihu boasts tremendous physical traits and a frame that with development, should allow him to blossom into a force in the trenches.
Omenihu’s impressive use of different hand-techniques as a pass rusher will stand out the most on film. Combined with his length, he uses his elite hand quickness and strength as major leverage against offensive tackles, which helps him shed more blocks and maintain his ground.
He’s improved tremendously in the run defense, too, but lining up against NFL offensive tackles is an entirely different beast. Given his versatility and how he was used in Todd Orlando’s 3-4 defense, it’s likely that Omenihu will be moved around as a rotational pass rusher at the beginning of his career. As he adds more strength to his frame, he’ll have the opportunity to develop into an every-down defensive end.
Given his incredible length standing at nearly 6’6 with an 84’ 3/4-inch wingspan, CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Chris Trapasso described Omenihu’s stature as, “impossibly, unfathomably long. He stands alone as half-man, half-pterodactyl.”
While Omenihu will likely endure a bit of a learning curve as he adjusts to the top-tier size, physicality, and skill level that NFL offensive tackles are equipped with, he has all the makings of a tremendously high-upside prospect as he further polishes his pass-rushing repertoire and finds a role that fits his skill set.
Put me anywhere on the line and ima ball !— Charles Omenihu (@charless_94) April 23, 2019
Sliding into a starting role is a feat that’s quite possibly a few years away for Omenihu, but the raw physical prowess he provides should allow him to see the field fairly early and often as Houston aims to advance his development.
The full scouting report on Charles Omenihu can be found here.