By Michael Stets
ALLEN PARK – The Lions added another piece to the secondary on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, selecting Penn State cornerback Amani Oruwariye with the No.146 pick in Round 5.
Oruwariye, started 13 games for the Nittany Lions in 2018, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors in his first season as a starter. He finished the season with 51 tackles,12 pass breakups and three interceptions. In his Junior season, despite not being a starter, he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors.
At six-foot-two with a 4.47 40-yd dash time, Oruwariye has both the size, speed and press-cover skills that head coach Patricia covets in his defensive scheme and will likely be vying for a starting spot opposite Darius Slay once training camp begins. The Lions fifth-round pick was very complimentary of Slay in his conference call with local media, saying Slay is “somebody I’m going to try and lean on, take advice from and groom my game after.” In addition to Slay, Oruwariye also mentioned Richard Sherman and Jalen Ramsey as other cornerbacks who he has studied and tried to emulate.
Oruwariye, who graduated with degrees in both broadcast journalism and telecommunications, is one of the biggest corners in this year’s draft. He explained how his size and skill translates onto the field.
“It just allows me to matchup with bigger receivers,” he said. “It allows me to use my body to my abilities and really dominate at the line of scrimmage and go up with receivers and make plays on the ball. There’s a lot of strengths that my size brings and I’m hoping to implement them into my game.”
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein praised his “recognition and reaction in zone coverage” in his pre-draft overview and said, “he can beat receivers up early when he gets his hands on them.” As for weaknesses, Zierlein said Oruwariye lacks fluid hips and feet to mirror routes” and only being a one-year starter counts against him.
Although he was projected by many to be drafted on Day 2, Oruwariye says he wasn’t disappointed, he was just waiting for the call he knew would come and was happy when it did.
“I was just patient. Like I said, I knew my time would come, my opportunity would come, so I’m not going to sit there and dwell on what didn’t happen and what should’ve happened. I’m just going to make the other 31 teams that didn’t draft me pay when my opportunity comes and just hold my standard. I’m going to work hard regardless of where I’m picked. It doesn’t matter what day, when, where, I’m going to work hard. That’s just how I am, that’s my standard.”