The pursuit of a 5-tech continues.
In this draft series’ first installment, we looked at Michigan’s Rashan Gary. For the next installment, defensive lineman Charles Omenihu of Texas will be put under the microscope.
Omenihu offers a variety of traits and capabilities that are sure to have caught the Seahawks’ attention and can be had on day two of the draft. While his current strengths lend themselves to certain aspects of the role more than others, he possesses the requisite traits that apply to the rest and could come to realize that potential in time.
Before continuing, here’s a rehash of what Carroll covets in his strong-side defensive ends, or “5-techniques”:
- Operate primarily from 5-technique (inside foot aligned across outside shoulder or foot of offensive tackle) in base defense, being able to rush the offensive tackle and set a hard edge against the run
- Reset the line of scrimmage from 4-technique and 6-technique, two-gapping while directly aligned across from offensive tackles and tight ends respectively
- Reduce to the 4i (inside shoulder of the tackle) and 3 (outside shoulder of the guard) techniques in passing situations as a rush defensive-tackle or run oriented end in “double-eagle” and “bear” fronts (occurring rarely in their base-under front)
- Widen to the 9-technique in a pinch and not be a complete disaster in space so as to avoid exploitation via offensive scheme
At a glance, Omenihu checks all of these boxes as Texas played him in every single one of those scenarios with frequency. Their base defensive front, the now ubiquitous and notorious “tite-font,” features two defensive ends aligned at 4i and a nose tackle at 0-technique. Now, the front isn’t that static; sometimes one end reduces further to the 3-technique, two-gaps over the tackle, or plays an outside shade on the tackle and is tasked with stuffing the run and getting pressure. Charles was oft tasked with playing this “big end” role. In more clear-cut passing situations, he would kick out to the edge, rushing tackles from wide to tight alignments.
Omenihu put a lot on tape suggesting he can flourish in the NFL at any of these spots — especially on the edge. He ranks not only as one of the more apropos prospects for the Seahawks’ purposes available in the second and thirds rounds, but as one of the more intriguing period.
At 6’5” and 280 pounds, Omenihu fits the ideal size for the 5-technique position. His Condor-ian wingspan (85″) and arms (36″) both placed in the 98th percentile among defensive lineman in this draft. He is incredibly explosive and quick-twitched for his size, jumping 36.5” in the vertical (91st percentile) and 115” in the broad (72nd percentile). A 7.48 second 3-cone bested just 41% of his class, but ranks above average among defensive tackles. This, coupled with a 78th percentile 20-yard-shuttle is indicative of his overall mobility.
In totality, Charles is a highly athletic and fluid player for his size. This combined with his strength afforded him mismatches everywhere he lined up. Let’s explore.
Omenihu’s pass rushing offers boundless hype, but his run defense is so staunch that we’ll start there.
For a primer on his enormous frame, strength, and quickness, watch him engulf the running back here aligned as a reduced left end:
He plays through and engages the guard, and is able to simultaneously shed and sling-shot himself around, coming underneath the play to tackle the runner in the backfield.
For such a tall player, Omenihu is able to play with excellent leverage and blocker control. He routinely comes out of his stance relatively low, head up, and with lightning quick hand placement into the opposition’s chest, putting to use his extreme length.
From left end again, he resets the line of scrimmage:
Using the aforementioned technique, Omenihu drives the right guard all the way into the running back’s aiming point, forcing a cutback into support.
Charles can also parlay his expert block-control into working down the line and making his own plays. Here he is aligned at left 4-technique:
After stacking up the right tackle, he reads the running back pressing the middle and squeezes the B-gap all the way until the back reaches the line of scrimmage. He gets off the block and meets him in the hole.
Omenihu didn’t just enforce crowd control at Texas; he was penetrative against the run. Here he scrapes over the tackle and shoots the B-gap for a TFL on the quarterback draw:
On zone-away runs, Omenihu routinely factored in by getting skinny and knifing gaps, bringing down running backs from behind.
In the run game, the opposition faced a conundrum when blocking Omenihu: you either try to win with hand placement at the expense of initial lateral positioning (wherein his reach and mobility takes advantage) or set your feet and risk never establishing leverage because you’ve already been bench-pressed off the line.
The deficiencies in Charles’ run defense are few. Although rare, there were stretches of being late to recognize down-blocks from tight ends. Additionally, an over-reliance on his snatch-rip could see him get off blocks a tad early at times, not allowing him to respond to cutbacks into the adjacent gap. When Charles centered patience and technique, most offenses had no answers for him in the Big 12.
Outside Pass Rush
Despite how well Omenihu’s traits apply to defending the run, his athleticism is perhaps most eye-popping and applicable to rushing the edge. For a strong and quick 280 pounds, it stands to reason that he should be able to make guards look silly, however it was tackles that he feasted on the most.
Wide from right end:
Charles rushes a straight line path toward the quarterback with an impressive get-off. The initial strike with his inside arm puts the left tackle on his heels. Omenihu sweeps through with a rip and forward lean to fold the tackle, maintaining his angle to the quarterback.
He also has extraordinary bend given his size and a plethora of moves to shorten the corner.
From right end, Charles squares up the left tackle. He drifts the engagement outside a bit to get his opponent leaning a tad before effortlessly transitioning to his rip and bending.
All of Omenihu’s traits work together to deliver a hit on the quarterback at a fairly shallow depth: the strength at contact to snatch the lineman and make him lose his base, the quickness to work to the tackle’s outside half, upper body contortion to reduce his pad surface and slip the block, and bend.
Omenihu can also seamlessly transition to his rip, feigning power with a jab-step:
Lateral movement at that size with this level of speed is rare.
The above traits were omnipresent in Omenihu’s approach to win outside on tackles. He was able to mix in heavy hand work to keep his pads clean as well, featuring a violent stab-chop (from right-end),
as well as the slightly clunky, but still functional club-rip:
It takes him deep upfield to corner here, but heed the flexibility to trace a path back toward the passer on a fish hook curve and not drift past the play.
Omenihu’s ability to explode and flexibility to bend on sharp angles showed itself from poor to stout competition alike. Some of his best games came rushing against Georgia and Oklahoma.
Used (sometimes frustratingly) less often were his counters. But he does have them stashed in his tool belt:
Once more from right end, Omenihu rushes upfield before a rapid transition to a counter-rip to the inside. His length, lateral movement, and speed get him to where he wants. Unfortunately, the running back comes to the rescue.
Interior Pass Rush
While Omenihu did rush tackles better than guards in college, very few of his interior reps came in obvious passing situations. Despite limited usage in this role, he does possess the traits to grow into a proficient interior pass rusher.
If there is one thing Charles lacks, it is overwhelming power in the first couple steps out of his stance. When attempting to power guards he could gain some depth in the backfield, but most of it looked like this:
The lack of drive after the initial knock-back is apparent.
Contrast that rep with this below example where he loops in from 3-technique to the center and is able to build up momentum:
When Texas stunted Charles like this, allowing more space to work with, he was able to convert to power more readily and not have his bull-rush stall as much. He has a knack for splitting the gap in many of these situations to register interior pressure.
Unfortunately, the excellent handwork that Omenihu displayed on the edge wasn’t often utilized on the interior to win one-on-one reps. This could be attributable to the fact that many of his interior snaps demanded him to read run first or rush from unfavorable heads-up angles.
With that qualifier, he still did put forth some of it. Here is an excellent rep from over the left guard, showing the promise to be effective there:
Omenihu uses his rare jab-step (which to no surprise is effective!), freezes the guard’s set just enough to open up the outside, and swipe-rips off of it to corner and get into the backfield. The quarterback gets flushed out of the pocket and has to throw the ball away, killing the play.
The following examples will show him rushing from interior alignments, but then expanding to the tackle. The traits used are foundational to him developing a skillset to turn tight corners on guards like he did above.
From right 4i, his suddenness off the snap is enough to corner off of a club-rip.
Being able to turn a short corner from such a tight alignment like this is conducive to getting “wins” on the interior.
Omenihu did not often use his counter to expand outside of the tackle when aligned at 4i or 4-technique. This could be because Texas mandated he rush the C-gap for containment purposes, but his footwork often gave him a two-way-go regardless. That said, he still certainly has one.
In this example Charles sets up wide, putting the left tackle in space.
He initiates a long-arm move and tosses the tackle just enough to open the inside. His strength and length are apparent here. This is a move that can be used to set up a counter after manipulating a guard’s set with footwork.
As it stands, Omenihu’s extraordinary combination of length, strength, flexibility, and speed make him an incredible prospect. Despite his larger frame, Charles looks to currently be more proficient as an edge rusher. Fortunately, all of the elements of his game that work outside certainly apply to the interior as well. The straight-line rush paths he often took off the edge can be adapted to the inside. The wide tilt-4i alignment that Michael Bennett often lined up in could help manufacture the necessary angles.
As he develops his power and refines his footwork, Omenihu can become an equally dangerous rusher inside as he is out and help the Seahawks build back its defensive line as a strength.
Listen to our newest episode of Tasteful Profanity right here!