A note to NFL defensive linemen: If Michael Onwenu catches on with the New England Patriots, you may be in for some unpleasant experiences.
The Patriots traded up to the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft to select the 6-foot-3, 344-pound offensive guard out of Michigan.
Onwenu improved a lot over his four years in Ann Arbor, earning All-Big Ten honors after his junior and senior seasons.
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According to his college offensive line coach, Onwenu also learned a devastating new skill. Here's Michigan o-line coach Ed Warinner with Phil Perry on the Next Podcast describing how Onwenu went from helping opponents up to ... "burping" them:
We had to get him out of the habit of helping people up that he'd knock down. Then he started liking the fact that, 'Hey, I'm knocking all these guys down, I'm leading the team.' ... Then we started getting him to when he knocked people down, he'd kind of fall on top of them and pin them. He transitioned into that pretty well.
When Mike falls on you, we have some pictures in our meeting room of Mike laying on top of people, and you could just see their facial expressions. We kind of have a name in our room: We call it 'burping' a guy. It's when you fall on a guy and you're that big, the air comes out of their lungs. It sounds like they just burped. So we'd be like, 'Mike, did you burp him?'
That doesn't sound pleasant.
Onwenu had plenty of opportunities to "burp" opponents while leading the Wolverines in knockdowns during his senior year. Warriner says that's a testament to the 22-year-old's exceptional lower-body strength.
"He can move people 1-on-1," Warriner said. "I have a saying in the o-line room: 'If you can move a man against his will, that's the toughest job in football.' ... That takes a grown-ass man, and Mike can do that."
Warriner also pointed out that Ownenu moved some impressive players in the talent-laden Big 10, recalling a game against Ohio State in which Onwenu stopped star defensive end Chase Young dead in his tracks.
"Chase Young tried to come inside and beat him 1-on-1, and he locked him out. It was over," Warriner said. "When Mike gets his hands on you and gets locked out, it's over."
Onwenu has an uphill climb to playing time in New England: Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason are the starting guards with Jermaine Eluemunor, Hjalte Froholdt and Najee Toran also on the depth chart.
If the Michigan product can "burp" opponents at the NFL level, though, we'd imagine he'll stick around. Check out more of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or watch on YouTube below: