Impressive defender opted out in 2020 after all-conference honors in lone year as full-time starter Mike Spofford
Packers.com consulted more than a dozen mock drafts from reputable national outlets and compiled a list of players most frequently mocked as draft selections in the bottom third of the first round (picks 20-32).
Between now and draft day, when the Packers are slated to select at No. 29 overall, those players will be profiled with thumbnail sketches in a new series entitled "Draft Digest."
Today's player is ...
Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington
Height/Weight: 6-3, 290
Key stats: Posted seven sacks among 16 tackles for loss over three seasons as an interior lineman, improving his overall tackle total each year.
College honors: Named first-team All-Pac-12 Conference in 2019.
Background: A former high school teammate of Cardinals QB Kyler Murray, Onwuzurike was a rotational player and spot starter for two years at Washington before breaking into the Huskies' starting lineup full-time in 2019. His all-conference season was expected to lead to even greater accolades in 2020, but he opted out due to COVID-19 to focus on preparing for the draft. He did accept an invite to the Senior Bowl in January and reportedly performed well, but he's entering the NFL as just a one-year college starter without a whole lot of eye-popping production. That said, he's a top prospect in an otherwise thin class of defensive linemen. He's viewed as both a 4-3 tackle or 3-4 end, and his pro day numbers - 40 times in the 4.8s at nearly 300 pounds and 29 reps on the bench press - re-started talk of possible first-round status he wasn't able to solidify because he didn't play last season. He may end up being a Day 2 pick in the end, but there just aren't a lot of interior defensive linemen generating much buzz in this draft.
Potential fit with Packers: Green Bay surprisingly didn't draft any defensive linemen a year ago and hasn't chosen one earlier than the fifth round in any of the past three drafts. That makes the position a potential target for a significant draft investment, and Onwuzurike is one of the few options being discussed as a potential high pick in this class. Another player on the level of Kenny Clark, whom the Packers chose with the No. 26 overall pick five years ago, would change the Packers' dynamic up front considerably. Dean Lowry is a solid veteran starter, Tyler Lancaster is back for a fourth season, and 2019 fifth-round pick Kingsley Keke will look to take on a larger role after tallying four sacks in his second year. But several street free-agent pickups in recent seasons haven't produced much in the way of tangible results, and the Packers could use a top prospect in the pipeline to give new defensive coordinator Joe Barry better depth and more flexibility up front.
View all the Draft Digest profiles here.
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