WINNIPEG — On the biggest day of his football career, David Onyemata delivered.
The day after the end of the CFL Combine, the 300-pound lineman became the first player in Manitoba Bisons history to hold his own pro day on Monday. And in front of 17 NFL teams and one CFL team at the University of Manitoba, Onyemata was at his best.
The 23-year-old pressed 33 reps on the bench press and ran a 5.06 40-yard dash, numbers his head coach Brian Dobie said afterwards were in line with the best of the NFL Combine.
“Today was a great day for David Onyemata,” said Dobie. “All of his perseverance and training paid off when everything was on the line for him at his Pro Day in front of pro coaches and scouts.
“It was his day and he nailed it.”
Pro Agility Shuttle
The pro day was held at Investors Group Field and the Winnipeg Indoor Soccer Complex. There, Onyemata made an impression to the large contingent of NFL coaches and scouts with his numbers registered during the Pro Day.
On top of showing excellent mobility for a 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman, Onyemata also excelled during the weight room and on-field workouts. The Lagos, Nigeria native had a busy day at both facilities and received high marks from those in attendance.
“Onyemata put forth a very strong performance,” said CFL.ca’s Justin Dunk. “He moves around the field smoothly.”
The question, of course, is what does Monday’s pro day mean for Onyemata’s CFL Draft stock? Could spiking interest south of the border mean CFL teams stay away?
GMs have taken chances on NFL-bound players in the past and some times it’s paid off while others it hasn’t.
“After NFL evaluators were able to see Onyemata in person, his draft stock went up,” said Dunk. “It seems like there is a real possibility he could be a mid-round NFL pick and in turn that would cause him to slide down the CFL board.
“If he continues to develop, some scouts feel he could have a long NFL career and possibly never end up in the CFL as a result.”
Onyemata finished his fourth season at Manitoba in 2015 and was selected as the J.P. Metras Trophy winner, which is presented to the Outstanding Down Lineman of the Year in CIS Football. He was also named a CIS first-team All-Canadian at the defensive tackle position (the first time for him to earn this CIS recognition) as well as a Canada West All-Star Team selection.
At the end of the day, Onyemata he was happy with what he showed for Monday’s onlookers.
“I felt pretty good and I received some good feedback from teams,” commented Onyemata. “I wasn’t thinking numbers and I just wanted to do the best I could.
“I felt I did really good and was pumped throughout the day.”