‘Relative Unknown’ Defender Called Lions’ ‘Best-Kept Secret’ for 2022

Amani Oruwariye

Getty Amani Oruwariye dives for a pass against the Bears in 2020.

The Detroit Lions could have a star in the making in the form of cornerback Amani Oruwariye, but few people outside of the city would know anything about that.

Despite being one of the most productive cornerbacks in the NFL last season in terms of interceptions, Oruwariye hasn’t been a player to get on many radars nationally. Much of that revolves around the usual struggles of the Lions, but also Oruwariye’s low name recognition with fans.

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As a result, many see Oruwariye as a major secret in the league, but a good one given his overall abilities on the field. Bleacher Report writer Gary Davenport recently looked at ranking best-kept secrets for every roster, and Oruwariye was his pick for the Lions.

As Davenport admitted, Detroit swung big by drafting cornerback Jeff Okudah a few years back, but ironically enough, he isn’t the main attraction for the team at the position at this point.

“Okudah may have been the big investment for the team in terms of draft capital, but it’s fourth-year veteran Amani Oruwariye who has been the team’s best player at the position of late,” Davenport wrote.

Even though that’s the case, Davenport reveals that in his opinion, Oruwariye isn’t getting the attention of others and is largely unknown as a player. That could be on the way toward shifting, however.

“For as well as Oruwariye played last year, he’s a relative unknown to many NFL fans. If he can put together another season anything like 2021, that’s going to change this year,” he said.

Oruwariye might be a major secret now, but that isn’t likely to last forever, especially if he finds a way to break out on the field once again after putting up a statistically solid 2021 season with 6 interceptions

At this point, Oruwariye continues to fly under-the-radar around the league, but that might be more than a bit unfair to the player given his talent.

How Oruwariye Can Become an NFL Household Name

As others have hinted, Oruwariye needs to step up and continue to break out on the field in order to get the kind of love he’s earned and deserved thus far in his young career. Perhaps the best way for Oruwariye to become a star would be for him to crack a Pro Bowl or become an All-Pro player at his position on the field. Doing that would mean that Oruwariye had the type of season which proved he can dominate statistically against his competition. Another way for this to happen would be for Oruwariye to start making big plays in bigger games. The Lions don’t often do enough winning to see themselves on prime time, but if Oruwariye could make the most out of the chances he does get in those games, it could go a long way toward helping him to establish his national brand on the field.

If Oruwariye keeps putting up the numbers, the Lions will be in good shape to get him over the hump and thought of as one of the top talents in the league at his position. Those days might easily be coming soon for a solid young talent.

Oruwariye’s Career Stats & Highlights

It hasn’t been a lack of production on the field keeping Oruwariye as an unknown to the fans. During the 2019 season as he started into the league, Oruwariye didn’t do much statistically for the team early on as he battled a knee injury most of the early part of the year, and as a result, his stats weren’t that robust as a rookie. Oruwariye finished 2019 with 2 interceptions and 19 tackles for the Lions, but has been a player who has delivered before given his work in college. During the 2020 season on the field, he has 53 tackles, 1 interception and 7 passes defended, meaning he was easily able to eclipse his statistical work from last season, setting him on a good trajectory for the future.

While playing for Penn State, Oruwariye put up 108 tackles and 8 interceptions while scoring 1 touchdown. Last year, he showed up big for the Lions with tons of big plays. In total, Oruwariye had 57 tackles, 11 passes defended and 6 interceptions. Here’s a look at some of his highlights:

So far in Detroit, he’s shown an ability to step up and stick in coverage which is great news for the Lions. The fact that the numbers show him as one of the best players at his position in the league is a major plus for the team’s future on a needy defense.

Oruwariye may be a secret, but he’s Detroit’s secret at the moment. Lions fans already understand how good he is, but it might not be long before the entire league gets let in on the information.

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