Top 25 Saints of 2020: No. 12, David Onyemata

David Onyemata cashed in on a nice contract after several good seasons with the Saints, and his importance to defensive success in 2020 is an understatement.
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Sean Payton isn't calling this year training camp, saying it's anything but it for the New Orleans Saints. It sounds like he's put down a firm message to his team, and is expecting a standard of excellence going into this new season. While this seems like a normal thing to have, the reality is that the Saints are one the teams best-equipped to make a deep postseason run. However, they have to put in the work first, and they have a shortened timeframe to do so. We keep looking at the top players of 2020, and recap our countdown up to this point.

The Countdown

Oct 6, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata (93) rushes against Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive guard Alex Cappa (65) during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit:

No. 12 - David Onyemata

The Saints finished with the league's fourth-ranked run defense, and David Onyemata had a huge hand in that success. After starting the year suspended for an offseason incident, Onyemata went on to play and start in all 15 regular season games. He didn't great out so hot from Pro Football Focus, finishing with a 55.3 overall grade and ranking 101st out of 119 interior defenders. 

Last season was a big dip from 2018's production when he was the 22nd overall interior defender (79.7 grade), but he proved to be a nice tandem opposite of Malcom Brown in helping the Saints have a fourth-ranked rushing defense. Onyemata finished with 32 total tackles (22 solo, 10 assisted) in 2019, notching 3 sacks and a pass defense. For a player who didn't play football up until college in Canada, it has been an interesting run for him. He had 33 total quarterback pressures, 22 hurries, and 7 hits.

Onyemata's Outlook in 2020

The Saints kept Onyemata from any potential free agency suitors, giving him a 3-year, $27 million contract with $18 million guaranteed. He'll continue to start for the Saints, and everyone wants to see more of his 2018 self. The bottom line is that New Orleans invested in Onyemata and are hoping to get a huge return from it. As he continues to play more, the better he should get for the Saints.