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Charles Omenihu explains the versatility he brings to the Chiefs’ pass rush

Kansas City’s newest defensive lineman is well aware of the different ways he can be used.

Washington Commanders v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Throughout his career, the Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has preferred his defensive ends to be big, long and versatile. So it’s easy to imagine him being fired up about the team’s recent signing of former San Francisco 49ers’ defensive end Charles Omenihu. The 25-year-old disruptor checks all of those boxes.

And he knows it, too — as he made clear when he met with reporters over a Zoom call.

“It’s just get-off — threatening guys with get-off,” Omenihu said of his play from the edge. “I wouldn’t say I’m the fastest guy off the edge, but I think my recognition of the snap — and my quickness off the ball — presents a threat.”

At 6’5” and 280 lbs., Omenihu came into the NFL as a heavy defensive end with great length. While he is still listed at that weight, his 2022 tape makes him look like a player who is 10-15 pounds lighter. That may have given him the extra step that shined in San Francisco.

Still, his physical size is a big part of what he brings to the game. At the 2019 Scouting Combine, his arm length was in the 98th percentile of all defensive linemen ever measured at the event.

“For me, it’s my length and my power,” Omenihu declared. “My hand usage is decent — [but] I think it could be better. I know I can get offensive linemen turned, translate that get-off to power and put guys into the quarterback’s lap. Once I get them to sit on the power, then I’m able to use my [hands] to win on the edge — or through them.”

As we see here, his hands created two huge plays for the 49ers last season. Both of them happened while Omenihu was rushing from the inside — something he was often asked to do on third down. There, his edge-rushing talent made him a nightmare for interior offensive linemen.

“Inside, I think it’s just my get off; I threaten guards pretty quickly,” he told reporters. “I think my hands inside are really good; my tape shows that I beat guards very quickly. Then my counters too... there are different variations of winning. So that’s how I see myself.”

It’s likely that the Chiefs see him much the same way — which is why his acquisition feels like a safe bet. At a minimum, Kansas City has found a disruptive player who can rush from any spot — and is clearly confident in his abilities.

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