Scout’s Spotlight: Jacob Onyechi

Graphic by Pat Pryor

Written By: Roy Countryman @PreacherBoyRoy @Blitzalytics

From Air Force Falcon to NFL Hopeful

I had March 11th circled on my calendar this year because while we were at the NFL Combine, and attending the SMWW Career Conference we got to meet a young and aspiring serviceman that is looking for a shot in the NFL. His name is Jacob Onyechi. He recently wrapped up his two-year service commitment and is looking for his chance to sign on with an NFL team during the offseason. He is not eligible to be selected in this year’s draft, but rather he is an available UFA at this time. So after meeting this young man, you can tell there is a calm and confident demeanor to the way he approaches anything that life throws at him, and now he is ready to do whatever he needs to get his shot. After getting back from the Combine, I decided to dive into some of his tape to get a feel for his skill set and if he has the necessary traits to play at the next level.

Onyechi is not completely off the NFL scouts radar, being that when he completed his time at the Air Force Academy back in 2017 and after he went undrafted he got two separate rookie minicamp invites from the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints. He couldn’t continue his work in the NFL though with his mandatory two-year service commitment standing at the forefront. We here at Blitzalytics wish to thank you, Jacob, for your commitment to sacrifice and keeping us free to do all the great things we love in the United States of America. Spaceman, as he is affectionately nicknamed, is very intelligent, majoring in mechanical engineering, and he has an athletic background beyond the gridiron garnering letters for three years in track and another in basketball while in high school.

We are here though to highlight his skill set on the gridiron though. I watched three of his tapes from 2016, and they were when Air Force played; Navy, San Jose State, and Army. Onyechi was utilized in a multitude of ways on the Air Force defense during his time on campus, mostly being deployed as a standup 3-4 OLB and as a Hybrid S/ Off the ball LB. He is a long-armed and athletic prospect who I believe would be best deployed as a SS, that is allowed to flow downhill in run defense. He has good hip fluidity and closing quickness to gobble up yardage in a hurry when he needs to bring down a ball carrier. He also displayed good bend as a pass rusher off the edge as well as a nice burst to finish the play when he was in distance. He lacks the lower body bulk to consistently play as a standup 3-4 OLB at the next level but as an off the ball LB or She could utilize his great instincts and hard-hitting prowess to be able to flow and fill plays in front of him. When he was utilized in his hybrid safety role he showed the necessary speed and agility to stick with outlet RBs and TEs downfield without leaving up too much separation. He is a disciplined run defender and will show requisite effort in backside pursuit. Onyechi played with a myriad of talented defenders on Air Force’s defense, and I believe the talent in the secondary, such as the highly skilled Weston Steelhammer kept him from being utilized more like a safety, but the coaching staff wanted to find a place to utilize his skills wherever they could. He is a hard-working young man who is willing to sacrifice whatever is needed to help his team, and any NFL team would be crazy not to give this man a look.

On March 11th, Onyechi, and a few other teammates of his who are in a similar position such as Weston Steelhammer (S), Jalen Robinette (WR), and Ryan Watson(LB) got a chance to perform in front of scouts on hand at the Air Force Pro Day in hopes that when their service commitments end at the end of May that there will be an opportunity for them to play meaningful snaps for an NFL franchise. When I got Onyechi’s results I was astounded at the athletic comparison that could be drawn with another big-bodied and athletic tone-setter that was selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Now I am not saying he should have been a first round pick but the characteristics are unmistakable and here they are...

Keanu Neal: S, Atlanta Falcons

Courtesy of USA Today Sports

NFL Combine Measurements

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 211lbs.

Arm Lenth: 32 ¾”

Hand Size: 10 ⅝”

40 Yd. Dash: 4.62s (Pro Day: 4.59s)

20 shuttle: 4.38s (Pro Day: 4.32s)

60 shuttle: 11.58s

Vertical Jump: 38.0”

Broad Jump: 132.0”

3 Cone: 7.09s

Jacob Onyechi: S, Air Force

Courtesy of Colorado Springs Gazette

2019 Air Force Pro Day Results

Height: 6’ 1 ⅞”

Weight: 213lbs.

Arm Length: 26 ½”

Hand Size: 9”

40 Yd. Dash: 4.65s/ 4.72s

20 shuttle: 4.32s

60 shuttle: 11.58s

Vertical Jump: 38.0”

Broad Jump: 128.0”

3 Cone: 6.96s

Once you look at those comparable athletic numbers in addition to reviewing his tape, I am thoroughly convinced that Onyechi is a rosterable prospect that needs to be on an NFL roster whenever he is eligible to sign. He may take some time to adjust to his new full-time position as a strong safety rather than the OLB position he played at Air Force, but with his dedication, intelligence, and work ethic the rewards could be immense!

NFL teams go sign this guy!!!

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