Canadian defensive lineman David Onyemata has re-signed with the New Orleans Saints.
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The 27-year-old Onyemata was drafted by New Orleans when the Saints traded up to select him in the fourth round, 120th overall during the 2016 NFL draft. He has played four seasons in New Orleans, recording 123 tackles, 74 solo tackles, 9.5 sacks, knocked down three passes and forced one fumble in 63 career games.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders own Onyemata’s CFL rights by selecting him in the fourth round, 35th overall of the 2016 CFL draft. He went late because of his high level of NFL interest.
Onyemata was the top-ranked prospect before the 2016 CFL draft after an excellent U Sports career at the University of Manitoba. Despite never having seen a football game in his native Nigeria before arriving in Winnipeg, Onyemata blossomed to win the 2015 J. P. Metras Trophy as the top down lineman in Canadian university football.
“The first time I heard about football was in high school. Some of my buddies in the same grade were from the United States. We talked about it, but I didn’t really know what it was. I watched a couple CFL games on TV when I got to Canada—that was the first football I ever saw being played,” Onyemata said in January 2016.
Onyemata wowed NFL scouts from half the league’s teams with a pro day performance that would have had him atop a number of measurable categories should he have participated in the NFL combine
It’s true that Onyemata had far less name recognition due to picking up the game late, suiting up in Canada and playing hundreds of fewer reps than an average NCAA player, but NFL personnel evaluators viewed it as a positive, especially the Saints who were awed by his athleticism.
Onyemata has earned $4.18 million so far in his NFL career and it seems like the best is yet to come.
Numbers on #Saints DT David Onyemata: three years, $27 million, source says. A decade ago, the native of Nigeria had never even heard of American football. Bet he's glad he found out.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 16, 2020