4 Detroit Lions who did not live up to expectations in 2022
2. CB Amani Oruwariye
In 2021, Oruwariye was (like Harris) a bright spot on an otherwise dismal Lions’ defense. He finished third in the league with six interceptions, and looked like a shutdown corner to build a secondary around.
But Oruwarye struggled a lot early this season, as Pro Football Focus’ lowest-graded qualifying cornerback at one point. Then he was benched in Week 5. He played every snap in Week 7 and Week 8 coming out of the bye, because there were no other options. Once there were other options available (Jerry Jacobs), Oruwariye only played when it was absolutely necessary and he was one of few fully healthy bodies in the cornerback room. When he did play in the second half of the season, opposing quarterbacks regularly had a bullseye on him.
The Lions did not give Oruwariye a contract extension last offseason, as he moved toward the final year of his rookie contract. That now looks like a great decision, and great might not be quite strong enough a word. He’s now a free agent, and it would be a huge upset if he’s back.
Whatever Oruwariye’s issues were, mental, physical, etc., he was nowhere near the player he was in 2021 this year. The Lions’ overall struggles as a pass defense further highlight how bad he was, given he only played a notable amount when there was no one else to go to.