Why the Slide?: Amani Oruwariye

Why the Slide?: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Five years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Three years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

During the 2018 college football season, Penn State cornerback Amani Oruwariye had a nice buzz in the scouting community. In a September Hot Press article, we surveyed team scouts on who impressed them during fall training camp, and Oruwariye was one of players mentioned. Oruwariye took that strong practice performance to the field, including making interceptions in back-to-back games to open the 2018 season. On the year, Oruwariye totaled three interceptions, broken up 12 passes, one forced fumble and 51 tackles. On top of his strong play, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Oruwariye has excellent size for the NFL. Thus, it was surprising that he slide all the way to the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

In speaking to team sources, playing-speed concerns were the reason that Oruwariye slipped in the 2019 NFL Draft. Teams were worried about his ability to run with NFL receivers and prevent separation.

The Detroit Lions ended Oruwariye’s fall, which was a good landing spot for him. Darius Slay is locked in as Detroit’s No. 1 corner, but the team could use more starting competition around him. Oruwariye could be a rotational backup who earns more playing time as he gains experience.

Oruwariye is a big, long, physical corner who fits well as a press-man or zone defender. He has good instincts and is adept at covering up receivers who come into his area. With his height, length and strength, he is skilled at defending big receivers and battling them on contested catches. Oruwariye has good ball skills and high points the ball well to make him a threat to pick off passes or knock them away. He times contact well to break up passes and is a polished defender.

The big issue that might keep Oruwariye from being a starting corner is a lack of speed. However, he could be a good backup and rotational corner who is used to match up against big receivers or rotate in when the Lions want to play zone or press man. I think Oruwariye could end up being a solid pro for Detroit and outperform his draft slot.

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