On Thursday afternoon, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach spoke to reporters ahead of next week's NFL Draft. During the presser, Veach was asked about one of the Chiefs' newest free-agent signings, defensive lineman Charles Ominehu.
“With Charles, you know, having our roster set up where we’re losing some guys at the time— and you know we’ll see if some of these guys are still out there — like Frank [Clark] and Carlos [Dunlap] and Khalen [Saunders], we were a little bit depleted there on the defensive line,” admitted Veach. “I think Charles was a guy that made a lot of sense for us.”
The 25-year-old pass rusher spent all of 2022 with the San Francisco 49ers, where he tallied 4.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits and three tackles for a loss. At 6’5” and weighing in at 280 lbs., Omenihu possesses the requisite size and length that Chiefs' defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo likes in a defensive lineman.
Another thing we know about Spagnuolo is that he covets players that can kick inside and play defensive tackle on passing downs. Listening to Veach, it sounds like this is a trend the Chiefs are looking to expand upon in 2023.
“[Omenihu] can play a lot base end on early run downs, but I think the thing that really appealed to us was his inside pass rush ability,” explained Veach. “He’s long, he’s athletic, and again, we just feel like pairing him with Chris Jones inside on third downs is something that will be really beneficial for us.”
Below are the percentage of overall snaps that the Chiefs’ base defensive ends lined up at defensive tackle in 2022:
· Mike Danna: 36.4%
· Malik Herring: 17.4%
· George Karlaftis: 10.4%
· Frank Clark: 2.3%
· Carlos Dunlap: 1.4%
By inverse, Jones lined up as an edge rusher 39.12% of the time. Omenihu lined up at defensive tackle 134 out of 570 total snaps for a percentage of 23.5%.
I would expect Omenihu and Jones to line up next to one another on passing downs on the inside in 2023, which should make for a pretty formidable duo for opposing guards and centers to have to deal with.
How this will affect the Chiefs' draft plans next week is still up in the air.
The Chiefs are still in need of a few large space-eating bodies along the interior of their defensive line. The Chiefs only have five defensive tackles under contract in 2023, and zero in 2024.
Whether the presence of Omenihu prevents the Chiefs from spending a top draft pick on a defensive tackle will be something to monitor closely as the draft unfolds.