How Charles Omenihu fell to the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft remains a mystery.
The former Texas Longhorns edge rusher amassed mind-boggling numbers as a senior last season, totaling 45 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks en route to honors as a Big 12 First-Team selection, and more notably, as the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year.
The raw numbers alone, spoke to his high-level impact, but Omenihu’s fall in the draft was made more bewildering because of his tremendous frame and unique measurables, as noted by The Draft Network’s Joe Marino, who detailed why Omeinihu is already proving to be a draft steal for the Houston Texans:
“Further making his slide in the Draft even more perplexing is that Omenihu features a rare blend of size and athleticism — exactly the type of traits the NFL normally covets in defensive line prospects. Measuring 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds, Omeniu features a massive wingspan of 85.5” and 35” arms. Clocking a 4.92 40-yard dash, Omenihu logged an impressive 36.5” vertical jump, 115” broad jump and 4.36 short-shuttle.”
After being listed as inactive during the opening week of the season, Omenihu made his NFL debut in Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It’s safe to say his presence was felt, as Omenihu exploded off the left edge, utilizing his right arm to establish leverage while pushing Jacksonville’s right tackle backwards, which allowed Omenihu to display his 85.5-inch wingspan to record his first career strip-sack:
As previously noted by Burnt Orange Nation’s Anthony Rizzo, this effort marked the fifth-fasted strip-sack recorded this season at 2.7 seconds. When considered with his two tackles, the play helped lead to Omenihu grading out as the top rookie performer of Week 2 at 90.2, per Pro Football Focus.
The following week, as part of a 27-20 Texans win over the Los Angeles Chargers, Omenihu made his presence felt yet again.
Though the wasn’t overly apparent on the stat sheet, as he recorded just one tackle, Omenihu routinely applied pressure on Phillip Rivers, whether it be through utilizing stunts and club moves or simply relying upon his sheer size and quickness in the trenches:
As Marino wrote, “You just don’t see rookies — much less fifth rounders — doing this type of stuff immediately in their NFL careers.”
And that may be forcing some other NFL organizations to reassess why they all passed on Omenihu multiple times.