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Saints 2018 Year in Review: David Onyemata

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Defensive tackle David Onyemata has developed into a steady contributor after only playing three seasons of American football.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Drafted from a Canadian college, playing Canadian rules football, who didn’t play a single snap until he was in college, David Onyemata has been developing nicely since his surprising selection in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.

Onyemata saw his snap counts increase this season, resulting in a total of 616 defensive snaps.

The Numbers

  • Approximate Value: 3
  • Pro Football Focus rank: 24 out of 112
  • Overall Grade: 81.1
  • Pass Rushing Grade: 75.7
  • Run Defense Grade: 76.5
  • Coverage Grade: 60.2
  • Total Defensive Snaps: 616

Onyemata split time at the 3-technique defensive tackle spot along with fellow 2016 draftee Sheldon Rankins. The two helped the Saints defense be at the top of the league in run defense, and he also had a career high in sacks, with 4.5. He also contributed 35 tackles, four tackles for a loss, and six quarterback hits.

His best game of the year came in the Week 13 loss against the Dallas Cowboys. He registered 3 of his 4.5 sacks this game, and reeked havoc on Dak Prescott for most of the game.

While he still has room to improve, his quick development is encouraging, especially when considering this is only his third year playing American football.

Unfortunately Onyemata will most likely miss some games this season, as he was cited for possession of marijuana in the off-season and will face a probable suspension. But with Rankins recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, Onyemata should be able to help secure the line until Rankins returns.