The Patriots traded up in the sixth round, moving up 13 spots to select Michigan guard Michael Onwenu. The first thing that stands out is size, Onwenu is listed at 6-foot-3, 344 pounds. He’s a road-grater as a run blocker, but has athletic limitations that limit his ceiling past the first level and in pass pro against stunting edge rushers if he over-commits against the tackle. With two years of starting for a Top Power-5 program, Onwenu makes for a solid potential backup guard a la Ted Karras.
The Patriots are hoping to resolve their backup interior line situation, with only 2019 4th rounder Hjalte Froholdt on the primary depth chart along with a few camp bodies. Onwenu is another late round flyer at the position to create competition for that spot. Depending on how many interior lineman the Patriots elect to keep on their roster, Onwenu could be on the outside looking in for a spot.
Onwenu’s advantage is he’s not going to get overpowered at the line in pass pro and can drive off some of the bigger defensive tackles. If he survives his first training camp and ends up making the roster, the Patriots can develop him as a potential backup guard who best profiles at the right guard spot if forced into action.
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