Amani Oruwariye showed himself as a shutdown corner in 2021

Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Amani Oruwariye had a breakout season in 2021, and one stat further shows he can be (or already is) the shutdown corner the Detroit Lions need.

Draft finds from the Matt Patricia-Bob Quinn regime in Detroit are hard to find. But Amani Oruwariye, a fifth-round pick (146th overall) out of Penn State in 2019, now stands as one. He has started 29 games over the last two seasons, becoming a beacon of stability in the Lions’ secondary, and 2021 was a breakthrough for him.

In form with what was a secondary thinned by injuries, Oruwariye missed the final three games last season with a shoulder injury. But he still finished third in the league in interceptions with six, along with 11 pass breakups. As a team, the Lions had 11 interceptions and only one other cornerback (AJ Parker, with one) picked off a pass.

Oruwariye benefited from the tutelage of defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant as much as anyone in the Lions’ secondary last year. Tracy Walker’s re-emergence was rooted in simply being used more ideally, but he’s worth mentioning too.

A stat shows Amani Oruwariye was a shutdown corner in 2021

A tweet from CBS Sports shows Oruwariye fit the bill of a shutdown corner last season.

Among cornerbacks targeted at least 50 times last season, Oruwariye posted the third-best passer rating against (36.0).

As a team, via Pro Football Reference, Detroit allowed the third-worst passer rating in the NFL last year (101.0) and they were one of just five teams who allowed a rating over 100.0. And that was with Oruwariye playing almost every snap (98 percent snap rate) in the 14 games he played.

Oruwariye allowed a 61 percent completion rate in his coverage last year (via Pro Football Reference). The Lions as a team were in the bottom half of the league, with a 66 percent completion rate allowed.

It’s scary to imagine how bad the Lions’ secondary would have been last year without Oruwariye. More pieces should be added in the draft next week, but Detroit sure appears to have their No. 1 corner. Maybe a moniker is needed. How does “Amani Island” sound?

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