We at SideLion Report will be previewing a number of draft prospects who could be Detroit Lions come late April. This week, we look at PSU’s Amani Oruwariye.
Over the past six years, the Detroit Lions have been inconsistent when it comes to selecting talented impact players with their second round picks.
They absolutely nailed that pick in 2013, as two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay has been a main stay of the Detroit defense, while 2018 draft pick Kerryon Johnson showed flashes of great potential this season, rushing for 100 yards in a game multiple times.
But it appears that they have had more hits than misses in that spot in recent years. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy now has two super bowl rings, but was misused and unable to find his footing in Detroit. 2014 draft pick Ameer Abdullah was cut earlier this season, and 2017 draft pick Teez Tabor may follow him out the door this season if he continues to struggle.
Heading into this year’s draft, it’s clear that the Lions need to hit on this year’s second round pick, and could afford to use on a big-bodied, skillful cornerback who can learn from Slay while pushing Nevin Lawson at the No.2 corner spot.
That pick could very well be Penn State’s Amani Oruwariye. As with corners like LSU’s Greedy Williams getting all the attention pre-draft, Oruwariye has gone under-the-radar a bit when it comes to projections.
Oruwariye made an impact in the Big Ten, recording 106 total tackles and eight interceptions in 72 games with the Nittany Lions, including 50 of those tackles and three of those interceptions coming in the 2018-19 season.
Oruwariye has been solid, but not spectacular, as he had a good-not-great performance at the Senior Bowl and has speed issues that have scouts curious about how he can keep up with receivers in the league.
Despite those speed issues, Oruwariye has good skills at the high point of the pass, as he defended 12 passes this season. He also presents NFL size, as at 6-foot-1 with 32-inch arms, he’s plenty big enough to compete with bigger NFL receivers.
As Justin Rogers described in his recent piece for the Detroit News, the former Nittany Lion appears to be a great fit in head coach Matt Patricia’s defensive gameplan, being a big, physical corner who can establish contact at the line of scrimmage while possessing decent ball skills.
While the Lions should use their first round pick to pick a player with high upside, Oruwariye with fit great into Detroit’s defensive scheme, and will most likely be available on Day 2. Drafting Oruwariye would provide competition for Lawson, which in turn can help both players improve and help bolster the young Lions secondary as a whole.
Even though speed seemed to be an issue with scouts, Oruwariye’s seemed to be fast enough in these highlights, as he possesses decent ball skills and knows how to control his body when contesting with bigger receivers.
While it’s likely the Detroit Lions will draft an edge rusher or tight end with their first round pick, spending their next pick on Oruwariye could be a solid investment who can compete to start from Day 1 come August.