The New England Patriots dipped back into the Michigan Wolverine draft pool to select Michael Onwenu at offensive guard in Round 6.
On Friday, the New England Patriots selected Michigan outside linebacker Josh Uche to amp up their pass rush. On Saturday, they selected another former Wolverine in offensive guard Michael Onwenu to fortify their O-line.
New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ younger brother, Ben McDaniels, has been with the Michigan coaching staff under Jim Harbaugh since 2018. He was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2019, a role he’ll maintain this upcoming season as well.
Is it fair to wonder if the connection might be coming to good use for the elder brother McDaniels and New England head coach Bill Belichick in this draft?
Just a year after the Patriots selected defensive Chase Winovich out of Michigan in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, New England has now taken Uche in the second round and Onwenu in the sixth round, both out of Ann Arbor.
The Wolverines are of course one of the premier college football programs in American history. Even though Harbaugh has struggled against some of Michigan’s top competitors (namely, Ohio State) during his tenure, the maize and blue are certainly back to relevance under him — and the Patriots have become a beneficiary in the meantime.
Here’s ESPN’s pre-draft analysis profile on Onwenu:
"Onwenu is a massive guard with excellent length and big hands. He overwhelms defenders in the run game plus he anchors well and he’s tough to get around in pass pro. He’s not a great athlete so he fits best in a power scheme. Athletic interior pass-rushers will give him some problems. He primarily lined up at right guard, but he did start a game left guard in 2017."
He is indeed massive, checking in at 6’3 and 344 lbs. While Shaq Mason and Joe Thuney are established at the starting guard positions for the Patriots, New England was certainly looking to add depth behind them. Thuney is also set to play 2020 under the franchise tag, and as such has been subject to trade rumors this offseason.