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TCU NFL Draft Preview: Sewo Olonilua

Is he a running back? A full back? Something else entirely? One lucky NFL team will have fun figuring that out.

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NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Christian Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I would have loved to see Sewo Olonilua play linebacker at TCU.

Sure, he’s a likely second-day pick at running back in the NFL Draft this week, but I will forever long for a time where the 6’3” bruiser with butterfly quick feet was lined up looking into the eyes of unsuspecting running backs and quarterbacks who couldn’t see what was coming.

Sewo seemingly made the right choice for himself though, as he graduates TCU with over 1,600 yards on the ground — at a 4.7 ypc clip — with 18 touchdowns on the ground and one more through the air. His best game came in the most memorable of bowl games. We was all but the last man standing for the Horned Frogs, carrying them to the Cheez-It Bowl title despite playing with a fourth string QB, by rushing for 194 yards and a score on 32 attempts. The memory of him carrying seemingly 11 Cal Bear defenders with him into the end zone is almost as lucid as the 737 interceptions thrown that night in the desert.

A true athletic marvel, Olonilua weighs in at 240 pounds but has somehow been clocked at a sub 4.6 40; and while his speed isn’t elite at the professional level, he’s quick enough and certainly excels in short-yardage situations. That, and the fact that he has exceptional feet, make him an intriguing prospect as someone who can play special teams, works as a fullback, and still carry the rock when you need a couple tough yards. He’s strong as hell — his 25 reps on the bench were the second most at the Combine — but some scouts have questioned his toughness, including one who told Bob McGinn of The Athletic “he leaves you scratching your head because he’s big and pretty and talented. He’s got talent. They couldn’t get it out of him, and TCU’s a tough-minded program. If they couldn’t for four years, now we’re going to get it out of him?”

But, those that have watched him play 52 games at TCU, including many when Darius Anderson was sidelined to injury, saw Sewo put the team on his back and carried them to victory. He’s certainly capable when his mind is right, and he seems to work as hard in the off-season as anybody.

Olonilua has been linked to the Cardinals, Raiders, Jaguars, Vikings, Ravens, and Panthers — who are coached by a man very familiar with Olonilua, former Baylor coach Matt Rhule. He also interviewed with his hometown Texans in Indy. Another intriguing fit is the Steelers, where he might remind fans of a modern version of Jerome Bettis. He is projected to go as high as the fourth round or as late as the seventh, but the good money is on him being off the board early on day three.

The NFL Draft begins Thursday evening at 7:00 pm with round one. Rounds two and three will take place Friday, and the final four rounds Saturday. All will take place virtually due to Coronavirus precautions. It will be simulcast on ESPN, ABC, and the NFL Network.