OL MICHAEL ONWENU – 2020 DRAFT, PICK 182
April 25, 2020
Q: A lot of Michigan Wolverines have wound up on the Patriots roster all of a sudden, as you become the third player in this draft that has some connection to the University of Michigan. What do you think it is about Michigan that makes players like yourself so attractive to the Patriots and Bill Belichick?
MO: I think it goes hand-in-hand with the school and the football. I mean, obviously we come from a good school, one of the best public schools, and have some of the best coaches that are out there. We're always being put in good positions to succeed on the field and off the field and we're pro-ready. As you could see in our last year's draft class, most of our guys are already contributing in the NFL.
Q: What is it about the way you've been coached on the offensive line that makes you such a potentially strong prospect in the NFL?
MO: Something that I went through, at least – I went through two offenses, so I've had a background of multiple schemes and plays that will be easier to transition to at the next step.
Q: I think you weighed in at 344 pounds at the Combine. What weight did you play at last season and do you plan on staying at that type of weight?
MO: Last season, I played around 368. I'm liking being lighter, so I'm anticipating I'm playing around – wherever the coaches ask me to be is where I'll be, in short words.
Q: Did you play any center? I know you made starts at both guard spots but have you done any snapping?
MO: I haven't played any center, but I've done snapping.
Q: The fact that you've played at Michigan, you've obviously gone against some major competition and complex defenses. In practice going against Don Brown's defenses and his complexities, do you think that has prepared you even more so for what you're going to see in the NFL?
MO: Yeah, I think it's set me up greatly. I mean, going from practice to game – and like you said, other defenses – it's like, Don Brown, he brings something different every week. So, it's keeping me specifically on my toes, just having me ready for everything.
Q: You have experience playing both guard spots. Did you have any conversations with the Patriots coaching staff during the pre-draft process about how they view you on the team getting ready for next season?
MO: During the pre-draft process, there wasn't really any talk of specifics. But you know, I would style myself in terms of playing any position that's needed, whether that's tackle, guard or center.
Q: Usually when we talk to new offensive players going to the Patriots, we ask about what it's going to be like playing with Tom Brady or blocking for Tom Brady. Obviously, that's not the case this offseason. But being a Michigan Man and the connection between Brady, the Patriots and Michigan, I'm wondering if you would watch Brady from afar and the Patriots from afar and if that added onto your feelings on draft day now that you're coming to New England?
MO: Yeah, definitely. He visited one of our games maybe two years ago. It's always been a nostalgic type of feeling even watching the Patriots, let alone seeing that he was an alumni and coming back.