Former Texas football DE Charles Omenihu tabbed as breakout player

Charles Omenihu Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Charles Omenihu Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

With mini camp underway around the NFL, there are some former Texas football players that are getting ready for what’s to come during the 2022 season just a few months away. That includes the former star Texas defensive end and new San Francisco 49er Charles Omenihu.

Last fall, Omenihu was traded from the Houston Texans to the 49ers. He got to play in nine games, getting a little more than 120 defensive snaps in the process. Although, that was only around 25 percent of the defensive snaps that Omenihu could’ve taken with the 49ers last season, so his playing time was pretty limited.

That did change a good bit in the first playoff game for the 49ers where Omenihu was on the field for more than 50 percent of possible defensive snaps in pass-rushing situations. In the process, he racked up a team-high six quarterback pressures, four quarterback hits, 1.5 sacks, and one forced fumble against the Dallas Cowboys.

There seems to be a common school of thought this year that Omenihu will see an uptick in both his number of defensive snaps and his production with the 49ers. A recent piece from CBS Sports named Omenihu as a breakout player to watch in the NFL this coming season.

This CBS Sports list of NFL breakout players to watch this year included five names, which certainly makes this a season to watch for Omenihu.

Former Texas football DE Charles Omenihu mentioned by CBS as a breakout NFL player in 2022

Here’s more on what this CBS Sports piece had to say about the inclusion of Omenihu on this list of breakout players in 2022.

"The impossibly long Omenihu started Year 3 strong with 16 pressures in his 105 pass-rushing snaps in Houston. That productivity perked the ears of 49ers GM John Lynch, who traded for Omenihu before the trade deadline.What’s weird was that after being on the field for close to 40 snaps per game with the Texans, the 49ers newly acquired, unique pass rusher never played more than 20 snaps in a single contest for the rest of the regular season. That changed in the first playoff win, when he erupted for six pressures on 27 pass-rush opportunities across 35 total snaps against the Cowboys. Sure, it was just one contest, a rather big one at that, but Omenihu made a statement to his new coaching staff — he should’ve been playing more from the jump in his new locale."

The writing is on the wall that this could be a special campaign for Omenihu. The former fifth-round pick of the Texans in the 2019 NFL Draft has shown flashes in the last few seasons of becoming a real impact pass rusher. But nothing was able to stick for him on a consistent basis in his few years playing for the Texans.

This shot he’ll have in a significant role along the defensive front with the 49ers this season could be just the opportunity he’s looking for. Omenihu clearly made a big impact for the 49ers in the Wild Card win over the Cowboys. Scale that production anywhere close to an entire regular season and Omenihu will clearly be a breakout player in the NFC in 2022.

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Omenihu just finished up his third season in the NFL. In those three seasons, he’s registered more than 35 quarterback pressures, 25 QB hits, seven sacks, eight tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.