2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Levi Onwuzurike

  • Levi Onwuzurike, 6-3/290

  • Defensive Tackle

  • Washington

  • Levi Onwuzurike Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Polished defender
  • Athletic, quick interior defender
  • Quick at the point of attack
  • Good get-off; fast off the ball
  • Quick feet
  • Fires his gap quickly
  • Disruptive in the backfield
  • Quick at the point of attack
  • Good technique
  • Plays with good pad level
  • Can contribute some interior pass-rush
  • Quality run defender
  • Developed upper body strength
  • Strong to stack at the line
  • Hustles downfield
  • Good motor
  • Can contribute interior pass-rush

  • Weaknesses:
  • Needs to improve pass-rushing moves for the NFL
  • More disruptive than productive
  • Gets pressure in the pass rush but rarely finishes
  • Frame could be maxed out
  • Lost a year of development
  • Lack of length and weight make him a poor fit in a 3-4

  • Summary: Over the last decade, Washington has had a nice run of interior defensive line prospects for the NFL, including first-round picks Danny Shelton and Vita Vea. While Onwuzurike is not projected to end up as a top-20 pick like those two, he should carry the tradition on by being selected in the early rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Onwuzurike recorded 16 tackles and two sacks in 2017. He made a nice jump in 2018 as a sophomore, totaling 34 tackles with three sacks. Onwuzurike then notched 45 tackles and two sacks in 2019. That was his final season of college football because Onwuzurike decided to sit out the 2020 season.

    In the pass rush, Onwuzurike is more disruptive than productive. He is quick to fire his gap, using his excellent burst off the ball to get into offensive linemen faster than they expect. Onwuzurike uses that speed to push upfield and create some interior pressure. He can get tied up after his initial burst, however, and as a result, Onwuzurike never produced many sacks. He needs to improve his pass-rushing moves to shed those second-effort blocks and get home more often. If Onwuzurike maintains his current level of play or just has marginal improvement, he might be a 3-5 sack-per-year defender who is more of a contributor in the pass rush rather than a difference maker.

    Onwuzurike is a tough run defender who shows some developed strength to stack his blocker at the line of scrimmage. He plays with nice pad level and leverage to not get pushed backward while keeping gap integrity. With strong hands and some power in his upper body, he is able to fight off blockers and does a nice job of getting in on tackles outside of his gap. Onwuzurike has a good motor and gives a real effort to run to the ball downfield to get in on tackles.

    At the next level, Onwuzurike’s best fit would come as a three-technique in a 4-3 defense. He lacks length to play five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 and does not have the size of a 3-4 nose tackle. Onwuzurike is a polished defender who should be able to contribute quickly in his NFL career.

    Some, like NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, are projecting Onwuzurike to the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, while other projections have him going on the second day. If Onwuzurike is not taken in the first round, Onwuzurike looks very likelt to go on Friday night and should not make to the third day of the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Player Comparison: Maurice Hurst. Onwuzurike reminds me of Hurst. Both are fast penetrators who are more disruptive than productive. They also are slightly undersized, giving them the ability to create some pressure but not produce many sacks. Hurst (6-1, 291) would have been a second-day pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but medical concerns caused him to slide. Onwuzurike could go on the second day of the 2021 NFL Draft.


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