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NFL Draft Prospects 2019: Cornerback - Amani Oruwariye, Penn State

ANALYST
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36   //    08 Apr 2019, 17:30 IST

Amani Oruwariye (21)
Amani Oruwariye (21)

This former three-star recruit from Tampa made a rather small impact in his first two years with the Nittany Lions (two PBUs and one INT), but showed his potential in 2017, when he earned second-team All-Big 10 honors with four interceptions and seven pass deflections. Last season he improved to first-team all-conference thanks to another three picks and 11 broken-up passes.

At 6’2”, 205 pounds, Oruwariye is a very long corner with 4.47 speed. In zone coverage, he plays with his eyes on the quarterback and show tremendous route recognition. He has shown the ability to go up and contest catches as well as the natural ball-skills to come down with them himself. That way he made the game-sealing interception in overtime when his Nittany Lions were nearly upset by Appalachian State in week one of 2018. For such a lanky corner, Oruwariye can break on the ball out of his pedal very well to take away curl and comeback routes, even though I’d like to see some more consistency in that area. He is at his best against three-step drops, when he can click and close just like that.

When matched up in man, he shows comfort in his pedal and doesn’t get jumpy when he sees that initial break. While he didn’t do it that much in college, Oruwariye has the tools to get into the frame of receivers and disrupt routes. The former Penn State star does an outstanding job not panicking when the ball is in the air, either turning his head around to locate it and putting himself into position to catch it himself or playing through the hands of the receiver, where he has the length to make it tough at the point of the catch.

Oruwariye usually shows a lot of urgency in run support, going through one shoulder of the blocker and forcing plays back inside or filling up as the force defender. You see him sniff out plenty of sweep plays and cut down ball-carriers at the line of scrimmage. He also blitzed off the edge a whole lot for his defense.

With that being said, Oruwariye has some trouble rolling his hips to drive on inside-breaking routes and makes that area accessible way too easily. His press coverage definitely still needs some work when it comes to timing and placement of punches. Him breaking on the ball in off-man is still somewhat of a work in progress, as he flashes tremendous ability in that area, but will also get out of position and take some extra steps when he needs to protect against the deep ball. However, Oruwariye also will give up his deep third responsibility occasionally. It’s like he just launches head-first into every single tackle and doesn’t even know that he has arms.

Oruwariye had an excellent all-around Senior Bowl week against some of the top receivers in the country. He has the versatility to mix up man and zone, fitting several defensive schemes. He has put together impressive ball production and made plenty of splash plays over this last two years which should reap rewards at the draft. The lack of success in press-coverage considering his body type is a little frustrating, but there is a lot to work with.

Grade: Late first/Early second

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